Performing Arts

The Art Department consists of three separate disciplines of artistic and personal expression: Visual Arts, Drama, and Music. These distinct disciplines introduce students to the basic vocabulary of the art forms and illustrate the constant dialogue between the arts and our society. Each member of the department strives to teach fundamental skills while also stressing the theories and concepts that accompany these skills.

All students must complete twenty full credits within the department by the end of their sophomore year. This requirement may be met by taking two full years of a given field of study or by sampling a variety of disciplines within the departmental electives.

Independent Study

Students have the opportunity to explore English, History, Mathematics, Science, Language, or Arts topics of interest under the supervision of a member of the appropriate department. After designing a project with a faculty member, the student presents a formal proposal to the Department Heads for approval. (An Independent Study may not duplicate the content of another course already being offered by the department because of schedule conflicts.) The student works in his or her own time and meets with the specified department member during one scheduled period per week for discussions and planning. Application forms are available from the Upper School Director. Proposals must have been submitted by the regular course selection dates.

Performing Art: Acting - Intermediate

Intermediate Acting continues the actor’s process through warm-up exercises, rehearsal techniques and games, improvisation and scene work. Students learn to discover their inner resources and use them to inform their acting work. Students’ work will focus on actions and objectives, sense memory, subtext, and character analysis and creation. Individual and group exercises culminate in scene work from comic and dramatic plays.

Prerequisite: Foundations of Theatre or permission of instructor

Performing Art: Acting - Scene Study

Scene Study continues to support the actor’s process through warm-up exercises, rehearsal techniques and games; but the focus is on applying techniques to scene work from scripted plays. Students explore different characters while collaborating closely with other students as actors (Term I). After further training in scene work and directing, students can choose to direct scenes (Term II). They also continue to analyze dramatic scenes from the multiple perspectives. Authors studied include: Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Miller, Moliere, and John Patrick Shanley.

Two Term Class.
Prerequisite: Intermediate Acting

Performing Art: Acting and Technical Theater - Foundations of Theater

This introductory course is an overview of the major components of theater including acting, technical theater, public speaking, and script analysis. Students will begin the year working on developing the Actor’s Process through warm-up exercises, rehearsal techniques and games, improvisation and scene work. Students will learn about specific script analysis tools and the design and production aspects of theatre. Practical hands-on stagecraft is taught in the various theatres and theatre-related spaces such as the scene shop and control booth. The aim of the course is to prepare students to implement and perform in a public production at the end of the spring term.

This course meets for two terms and is a prerequisite for students entering the Upper School Theater Program.

Performing Art: Advanced Theater - Acting

Advanced Theater is a one-term, process-to-production course designed to prepare students for two public performances at Beaver. The course begins by focusing on script analysis, character development and then students engage in the rehearsal process to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Theater: Tech Class. Acting roles are open to seniors who have completed all prerequisites. Students entering this class should be highly motivated and interested in an intense and exciting experience that requires a great deal of commitment. Recent productions were: Subway Circus, Trifles and Stop Kiss.

Prerequisites: Scene Study or permission of the instructor.

Performing Art: Advanced Theater - Tech

Advanced Theater is a one-term, process-to-production course designed to prepare students for 2 public performances at Beaver. The course begins by focusing on script analysis and design, and then students work as theatre technicians and designers to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Theater: Acting Class. Technical theater roles encompass areas such as stage management, set, light and sound design and running crews. Students entering this class should be highly motivated and interested in an intense and exciting experience that requires a great deal of commitment. Recent productions were: The Heidi Chronicles and Almost, Maine.

Prerequisites: Technical Theatre: Stagecraft and Theatrical Design and Production or permission from the instructor.

Performing Art: Choral - A Cappella

A Capella builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Circa and the Men’s Ensemble by strengthening students’ ensemble singing, vocal technique, and music literacy while introducing a cappella vocal arranging and improvisation. Students will begin the term by working on developing vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading sheet music and exploring diverse repertoire. Throughout the course, they will learn how to work independently in smaller quartets and will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals. The aim of the course is to prepare students to arrange and rehearse a cappella vocal music independently and to perform in public concerts throughout the term.

Can be take for one or two terms.
Prerequisite: Men’s Ensemble or Circa or permission from the instructor.

Performing Art: Choral - Circa - Women's Vocal Ensemble

Circa introduces female singers to the fundamentals of ensemble singing, including vocal technique, music literacy, and concert review. Students will begin the term working on vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading sheet music, vocal improvisation and exploring diverse repertoire written for women’s voices. They will also learn to critique by writing a review of one public concert. Students will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals such as leading vocal warm-ups or serving as section leaders. The aim of the course is to prepare students to perform in a public concert at the end of the term and develop a collaborative spirit within the ensemble.

No prerequisite.

Performing Art: Choral - Men’s Vocal Ensemble

Beaver’s Men’s Ensemble introduces male singers to the fundamentals of ensemble singing, including vocal technique, music literacy, and concert review. Students will begin the term working on developing vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading sheet music, vocal improvisation, and singing diverse repertoire written for men’s voices. They will also learn to critique by writing a review of one public concert. Students will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals such as leading vocal warm-ups or serving as a section leader. The aim of the course is to prepare students to perform in a public concert at the end of the term and to develop a collaborative spirit within the ensemble.

No Prerequisite.

Performing Art: Choral - Select Singers (Honors)

Select Singers is an all-year course for experienced singers to develop advanced techniques in ensemble singing and develop independent music and leadership skills to prepare them for involvement in music after Beaver. Select Singers will explore the world of singing beyond Beaver’s walls by attending and critiquing rehearsals at other institutions, collaborating in a concert with another school or university in Boston and taking various workshops in ensemble singing and vocal technique. Students should be highly motivated and committed to learning advanced musicianship skills and music theory and be prepared to sing for public concerts in smaller ensembles and quartets. Select Singers will prepare a program of repertoire for Beaver concerts at the end of each term.
This course meets during G block during all 3 terms.

Prerequisite: Audition

Performing Art: Cuban Jazz Ensemble & Trip to Cuba

This is an Advanced Jazz Elective open to Juniors and Seniors in the Instrumental Music Program. Students will be selected through an audition process held at the end of the spring term of 2016. For the duration of this class, students will specialize in and learn a variety of Afro-Cuban Jazz Standards. They will explore Cuban culture and history to gain a greater understanding of the evolution of Cuban music and its relationship and impact on North American jazz. The course will culminate with an 8-day long trip to Havana, Cuba which will take place during spring break in March 2017. Once in Cuba, students will attend “Escuela Nacional de Arte” a prestigious music school in Havana, where they will take a series of music, drum and dance workshops lead by world-class musicians. In addition to honing their music skills, students will make cross-cultural and historical connections through civic engagement work with a focus on making a positive impact on the communities they will visit. Auditions are open for the following instruments: Bass, Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Strings, Brass and Woodwinds. This ensemble performs in two formal concerts and at a couple of additional school forums.

Two Term Class
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II and audition

Performing Art: Instrumental - Beaver Ensemble

The Beaver Ensemble is a two term course open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). This performing arts course strives to build a strong foundation for the student musician. Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills on acoustic instruments and making cultural connections with the music. Musicianship skills developed will include sight-reading, instrumental technique, improvisation, ear-training, ensemble skills, intonation and theory. The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Each student is required to audition for placement in this ensemble and should be capable of playing their instrument with at least one year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are strongly recommended and available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Performing Art: Instrumental - Ikonoclastic: All Female Ensemble

Ikonoclastic is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). This performing arts course strives to build a strong foundation for the student musician. Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills. The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Students should be capable of playing on their instrument with at least one year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are strongly recommended and available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

This class meets all three terms.
Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.

Performing Art: Instrumental - Jazz Workshop

This course offers the advanced ensemble student an in-depth study of jazz performance. While playing a range of jazz repertoire, students will apply theory and learn strategies for interpreting and soloing over standard jazz chord changes. They will develop skills with swing phrasing, articulation, sight reading, and idiomatic ensemble traditions. Rhythm section instrumentalist (piano, guitar, bass and drums) will learn how to independently develop a range of instrument-specific parts for standard jazz repertoire. Students will build jazz vocabulary and develop their own voice as improvisers. Students will showcase their work in mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are strongly recommended and available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Class
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II or placement audition.

Performing Art: Instrumental Ensemble II

The Instrumental Ensemble II course builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Beaver Ensemble. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills.The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are strongly recommended and available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Class
Prerequisite: Beaver Ensemble or placement audition.

Performing Art: Instrumental Ensemble III

The Instrumental Ensemble III course builds on the skills developed in Instrumental Ensemble II. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills.The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are strongly recommended and available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Class
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II or placement audition.

Performing Art: Technical Theater - Stagecraft

Stagecraft 1 is a course designed for students interested in Technical Theater and/or Theater Design. Students will explore the fundamentals of carpentry, scenic painting, props, lighting, and sound with a focus on how theater artists use these tools for creative problem solving. Students will also study basic design tools and learn about how to use these tools to communicate with audience members. The successful student would gain an understanding of shop and theater safe working practices, basic construction skills, knowledge of lighting and sound instrumentation and rigging, as well as how communication, planning and collaboration are central to the health of a theater production. This class meets all three terms.

Prerequisite: Foundations of Theater or permission of instructor.

Performing Art: The Actors' Showcase

This workshop is designed for the advanced actor developing his/her craft. It will focus on audition material for college and theatre opportunities beyond Beaver. The course will give students an opportunity to prepare audition monologues, scene work and explore plays. This course is for both the dedicated and independent drama student and students that wish to explore drama for the first time. This course will culminate in a showcase in the Black Box at the end of the term.

No Prerequisites.