The Arts

Music, Drama, Visual Arts & Film

Engagement in the Arts promotes a sense of identity and makes a unique contribution to the development of each student. At ISA, we believe that studying the Arts provides students with the opportunity to develop a critical and intensely personal view of themselves in relation to the world. Our programmes allow our students – from Kindergarten to grade 12 – to discover their own creative abilities and to gain an appreciation for their own talents and those within the global art community.


In both our Lower and Upper schools, students begin to learn about the origins of music and to build a greater appreciation and understanding of different sounds and melodies from around the world. With visitors from places such as Ghana, the United States, Brazil and the Netherlands, ISA students are able to experience an authentic connection to music, making it more relevant and alive.

As a standard part of their curriculum, Pre-School – Grade 5 students engage in singing, rhythmic and instrumental activities in music classes with a specialist teacher. In addition to their regular music class, Lower School students in older grades can join the Lower School Choir or the Lower School Percussion Group to experience more structured training and to have the opportunity to perform for their classmates and the school community. Vocal and instrumental lessons for Lower School students are offered as well after school through our ISA Music Academy.

Middle Years Programme students take music classes in grades 6 and 8 as a component of the Middle Years Design, Arts and Communication programme at ISA. Music is also offered as an elective in grades 9 and 10. Additionally, Upper School students can further pursue their interest in music through various extracurricular activities including local, regional and international Choir and Ensemble competitions and individual voice and instrumental lessons through the ISA Music Academy.

For Diploma students, the ISA music programme provides a foundation for further study at university level or for a career path in music. It is offered at Standard or Higher Level and students should already be practising performers/ and or composers and have acquired considerable general musical background knowledge.

Drama & Theatre Studies

The ISA Lower and Upper School Drama programmes are designed to allow for self-exploration and self-development for all of our students.

The Lower School curriculum allows students to  learn about dramatic expression through a variety of techniques (role play, mime, story-telling, acting and cooperative games) and cross-disciplinary activities, such making masks in Art class for their own drama productions. Students are encouraged to share their own cultural heritage and stories in drama sessions and to be active in the various stages of a production – from writing to set creation to performing. A specialist drama teacher works with grades 2-5, while homeroom teachers in the younger grade levels incorporate dramatic play and movement activities into their programme.

Middle Years Programme students take drama courses in grades 6 and 8 and have the opportunity to take drama as an elective in grades 9 and 10. Students train with international theatre experts and both the Middle School (Grade 6 -8) and the High School (grade 9-12) are active in the production and performance of plays and musicals.

ISA Theatre Arts is a two-year programme that allows our Diploma Students to explore the essential role that Theatre plays in Contemporary society. It is offered at Standard and Higher Level and is divided into four parts: Theatre in the Making, Theatre in the Performance, Theatre in the World and the Individual Project.

Visual Arts

Amsterdam has a deep appreciation of art and has the highest museum density in the world – with over 60 throughout the city.  The ISA Art programme takes advantage of this by integrating historical and contemporary art from the region and beyond to inspiring our students to find the creative talents within themselves.

ISA Lower School students explore the visual arts with a specialist teacher using a variety of media and processes, including painting, collage-making, drawing and mask making. It is a sensory experience, allowing our youngest students to touch and feel the materials used to make art pieces  and to gain a better appreciation in general of the work that goes into making art.

Our Upper School students in Grades 7 and 8 take a more theoretical approach to art through studies of art and colour  theory and in-depth investigations of various artist and styles. They create group and individual theme-based projects (i.e. use of spirals or traditional Aboriginal painting methods) and produce a final art piece from their course. Students in grade 9 and 10 can choose to do an Art Course as an elective.

Diploma students can pursue their interests in the Visual Arts through ISA’s two-year Visual Arts Diploma programme. Students learn to develop analytical skills and problem solving skills while working towards technical proficiency and building their confidence as an artist. The programme, offered at Standard and Higher Level,  is designed for students who want to go on to study visual arts in higher education as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through visual arts.


This programme is for Diploma students and aims to develop students’ skills so that they become adept in both interpreting and making film texts. This course explores film history, theory and socio-economic background to develop student’s critical abilities, enabling them to appreciate the multiplicity of cultural and historical perspectives in film.