Fine Arts

Arts Overview

The Universal American School (UAS) prides itself on a very strong and successful arts program.  From music to visual and performing arts, the students are guided and supported as they discover and develop their artistic talents.  With highly qualified and dedicated artists and musicians as teachers, the students are able to develop and hone their skills, which allows them express themselves as confident and competent artists.


From the elementary program through the high school IB Music program, music at Universal American School is designed to develop and support each student's individual talents. Students in all grades are encouraged to develop their own individual skills and interests in music as well as expand their broad base of expertise and musical knowledge.  The curriculum focuses on performing, composing and listening skills.

 Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department has a complete program, starting in Elementary and progressing through to IB Visual Arts in the high school. Art students develop the following understandings in the four strands of visual art:

  • Creative processes
  • Elements and principles of art and design
  • Reflection and appreciation
  • Visual art in society


“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”~ Oscar Wilde ~

 Drama is recognized as a subject that benefits the overall learning and development of children. There are three main strands to the effective use of drama: a means to build children’s confidence and develop their social skills; a teaching approach for exploring cross-curricular subjects and issues, and an aid in developing children’s performance and self-presentation skills. These strands often overlap or interact and provide a useful foundation for future success.

For the Individual Department Pages


In Kindergarten through grade 5, elementary students are exposed to a diversity of genres and cultures through singing, dancing, playing instruments, listening and composing music. In the PYP music classroom, learnings are both active and reflective as students engage with music in meaningful ways. Many performances and lessons are explicitly tied to learnings in current Units of inquiry and students use music to make connections to their feelings, values and beliefs.

In the middle school, music is part of the arts rotation where all students study music for a semester.  The courses in high school run for a semester in Grade 9 and are chosen as an elective. In Grade 10, the course runs for the entire year and prepares students for IB Music.

The Grade 6 – 10 the Music program is essentially practical and creative. The curriculum looks at developing performance, composing and listening skills. Historical and theoretical aspects of the subject are important and take a supporting role. They are studied at the point of need and in a practical framework. Music technology and world music also play an integral part in the Music program.

The IB Diploma Music course focuses on composing, performing with related listening and theoretical work in history and world music.  All IB Music students perform in public on several occasions.  Students also complete a piece of independent research where they investigate and link two genres of music of their own choice.


There is an opportunity for children in grades 6-10 to choose to study Choir. There are no auditions, but the child needs to be able to concentrate, give his or her best, and make a commitment. The choir gives several performances per year. The repertoire ranges from jazz, musicals, and R&B to classical genres. 


UAS fosters and nourishes a variety of musical instrument proficiencies.  Students in grades 6 can start with Beginner Band, where they learn an instrument and participate in an ensemble experience.  They then can move to the Intermediate Ensemble (7-9), which is open to students who have played an instrument for at least one year. 

Visual Arts

The elementary art program is grounded in the belief that the intrinsic values of art education are essential to the productive and creative development of every child. The elementary art program exposes students to several methods of creative expression, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and printmaking. Student understandings of art appreciation, history and expression are conveyed through meaningful connections to the Units of Inquiry in homeroom classes.

In the middle school, Visual Art is part of the arts rotation in Grade 6 - 8 where all students study art for a semester. In high school, the courses in Grade 9 run for a semester and are chosen as an elective. In Grade 10, the course runs for the entire year and prepares our students for IB Visual Art.

In the middle school and high school, students keep a journal of their course work, as well as personal reflections. This form of an artist’s diary eventually becomes the IB Investigation Workbook at the senior levels. This documentation of the process they are involved in, has taken on a central role in all the courses, and at the IB level it has become an essential part of the assessment grade.

 Our aim, in all our endeavors with our students, is to instill a sense of confidence in skills that have been methodically developed in each individual; to gain an appreciation for art forms that have evolved with the ascent of man; to learn to observe and record accurately; to be open to possibilities that present themselves through experimentation; to be willing to take risks; to develop an intellectual curiosity in researching artists, art movements, schools, philosophies, exhibitions, as well as putting art into it’s social, cultural, and historical context.


Theatre is a dynamic and thriving part of school life here at UAS.  The Multipurpose Hall has a full-scale theatre that seats 546 people and each year there are many performances and events that showcase the work of our passionate and gifted students.  In Secondary School, alongside the DP theatre programs, students are given the opportunity to explore the world of theatre through various production roles, both on and off the stage.

 The UAS Secondary School Theatre Program follows the same outline as the Visual Arts Department, where students in Grades 6 - 8 spend a semester exploring the art form. Then, in Grade 9 students choose the course as part of an elective process. In Grade 10, students work for a full year in preparation for IB Theatre. Students study all aspects of acting, scenic design, technical theatre, history, aesthetics and criticism during their UAS career. Multiple productions in our performance space allow students to apply their classroom learning in a real world environment.


Arts Photo Gallery

  • Universal American School
  • P.O. Box 79133, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • +971 4 232 5222
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