Music education begins at the outset of each child's school career at Pembroke Hill. Musikgarten, a curriculum combining music with elements of movement and visual art, is introduced in the early childhood school.
In the lower school, a curriculum that is based on the music education methods of Carl Orff and Zoltan Kodaly secures accuracy in singing and essential elements of music, while developing each child's ability to improvise and compose. Students learn to play recorders and a wide range of classroom melody and rhythm instruments. Fifth graders may elect to participate in an extracurricular chorus, which performs in venues both on and off campus. Participating in the band becomes an option for students beginning in the fifth grade.
Middle school music classes offer students opportunities to explore elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, historical style and cultural context in sixth grade general music and in a combined seventh and eighth grade chorus. They can also continue on in band.
In the upper school, advanced studies in choral literature are offered through participation in the Concert Choir, the Chorale, the Madrigal Singers and Top Of The Hill, the vocal jazz ensemble. Additionally, required entry level courses and elective classes in music history and music theory further enhance the students' understanding of the architecture of music and its historical significance. In 2020-21, 20 percent of the upper school students sang in one of the school choirs. The vibrant instrumental music program continues in the upper school. The Pep Band performs at school functions such as athletic contests.
The Arts Focus program was created for those students who will advance their talents beyond secondary education or who show substantial talent and dedication to a particular arts area. Students electing an arts focus track may choose vocal or instrumental music as an area of study.
The theatre program at Pembroke Hill School offers a multi-level approach to developing each student's ability to express himself/herself in a concise, creative and artistic manner.
Beginning in the lower school, a partnership with the Coterie Theatre of Kansas City offers an extracurricular drama program for grades three though five in which students explore improvisation, movement and playwriting.
The middle school play is an extracurricular opportunity for students to participate in all aspects of theatre production. The performances vary from year to year from two one-act play to full length productions. This is open to all grade levels and is performed in the fall semester.
A choice in program direction in the upper school presents students with a required course in the Theatre Arts or a theatre focus track. The Arts Focus program was created for those students who may wish to advance their interests beyond secondary education or who show an increased dedication to theatre. Theatre-focus students will elect advanced courses covering acting theory, technical design, period styles and auditioning. These advanced courses also offer unique experiences through a partnership with the Coterie Theatre, including introductions to playwriting, character development and culminating with an exclusive general audition for Theatre-focus students with executive members of the Coterie’s artistic staff. The entire theatre program is aligned with national standards in theatre and speech education.
More than 70 upper school students are involved in theatre productions including on and off the stage.
The speech program at Pembroke Hill School offers a multi-level approach to developing each student's ability to express himself/herself in a concise, creative and artistic manner.
In middle school, students take a required speech course that provides formal training in speech writing. Students may elect to participate in the National Forensic League in the upper school.
The upper school speech and debate program has grown tremendously over the last few years. Currently, more than 80 upper school students participate in this program, which as been in the top 50 NSDA programs for the last five years. The upper school chapter of the National Forensics League is a co-curricular program. Student compete in area, state and national level competitions.