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 Arts: 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.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Foundations of Theatre or permission of instructor

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Performing Arts: Acting - Advanced Theater

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 and character development and then students engage in the rehearsal process to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Design & 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 include Trifles, Stop Kiss, The Heidi Chronicles, Distracted, The Shape of Things, and Durango.

 

One Term Course

Prerequisites: Acting: Scene Study or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 12

Performing Arts: Acting - Foundations of Theater

In this introductory course, 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 theaters and theater-related spaces such as the scene shop and control booth. This course meets with the Foundations of Design/Tech Theater class, and it is meant to give students an overview of the major components of theater including acting, technical theater, public speaking, and script analysis. The aim of the course is to prepare students to implement and perform in the Ten-Minute Playfest which is a public production at the end of the spring term.

 

Two Term Course

This course is a prerequisite for students entering the Upper School Theater Program.

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10

Performing Arts: 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. In Term I, students explore different characters while collaborating closely with other students as actors. After further training in scene work and directing, students can also choose to both direct scenes and act during Term 2. They also continue to analyze dramatic scenes from multiple perspectives. Authors studied include: Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde, and John Patrick Shanley.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Intermediate Acting  or permission of instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Performing Arts: Acting - The Drama Workshop

This one-term spring workshop is designed for the actor developing his/her craft. This course is for both the dedicated drama student and students that wish to explore drama for the first time. It will focus on exploring each student’s areas of interest and curiosity. Projects may include scene study with an emphasis on contemporary theater, college monologue preparation, directing, musical theater scenes, stand-up comedy, devised work and other forms of performance art.

 

One Term Course

No Prerequisite required.

Open to Grade Levels: 12

Performing Arts: Choral - A Cappella Foundations

A Cappella Foundations will introduce students to the fundamentals of a cappella singing, including vocal technique, music literacy, and artistic expression. Students will begin the term working on developing their voices through warm-up exercises, vocal improvisation, and music reading. They will also cultivate a working knowledge of fundamental music theory. Throughout the course, students will learn how to listen for tuning and ensemble blend during rehearsal. The aim of the course is to develop confident musicians and prepare for a public concert at the end of the term.

One Term Course

Prerequisite: No prerequisite

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Performing Arts: Choral - B-Side A Cappella

B-Side A Cappella builds on and further develops the skills from A Cappella Foundations while introducing A Cappella vocal arranging and improvisation. Students will begin the course by developing vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading music, and exploring diverse repertoire. Throughout the course, they will learn how to work independently in smaller groups 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 two terms. This course is a two-term commitment and can be taken more than once.

Two Term Course. Can be taken for 1 Term only if in conjunction with A Cappella Foundations.

Prerequisite: Any Upper School choral ensemble or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12.

Performing Arts: Choral - Select Singers (Honors)

Select Singers is an all-year course for experienced singers to advance techniques in ensemble singing and develop independent music and leadership skills. The course will focus on advancing students’ knowledge of music theory, sight reading, and healthy vocal technique. Students should be highly motivated and committed to learning music at an accelerated pace and be prepared to sing for public concerts in smaller ensembles. Select Singers will prepare a program of repertoire for concerts at the end of each term. This course can be taken more than once.

Three Term Course

Prerequisite: Audition

Open to Grade levels: 10,11,12

Performing Arts: Costume & Fashion Design Studio

Students will develop a basic understanding of the principles of costume design and costume technology through the use of imagery, fabric, texture, shape, color and line to support and inform the theatrical storytelling process. Through a series of projects and mainstage shows students will explore how character and story can be revealed through clothing. Students will also explore the skills and techniques needed to then create the designs that best support their ideas. These techniques may include sewing, draping, pattern making, tailoring, dyeing, distressing, painting, and craft. This course can be taken more than once.

Three Term Course

No Prerequisite required

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10,11,12

Performing Arts: Dance - Choreography Foundations

This course will provide an in-depth study of movement and choreographic tools through the lens of dance as it appears in pop culture (film, live music performance, commercial hip hop, etc). Coursework will offer students the opportunity to develop a greater sense of body awareness, self-confidence, and self-discipline by learning how to express emotion and a point of view through movement. Students interested in composition work will have the opportunity to apply the elements of choreography introduced in class and discover their individual voice as part of their creative process. Coursework will culminate in a final presentation which may include original compositions by the students.

Three Term Course

No Prerequisite required.

Open to Grade Levels 9,10,11,12

Performing Arts: Instrumental - Ikonoclastic

Ikonoclastic is an ensemble for students who identify as female or non-binary and 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 and to expand skills for returning students.. 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 their instrument independently with at least one full year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Students who are new to Beaver will be contacted by a faculty member prior to the beginning of the school year to ensure proper ensemble placement. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10,11,12

Performing Arts: Instrumental Ensemble I

Instrumental Ensemble 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 their instrument independently with at least one full year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Students who are new to Beaver will be contacted by a faculty member prior to the beginning of the school year to ensure proper ensemble placement. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10,11,12

Performing Arts: Instrumental Ensemble II

The Instrumental Ensemble II course builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Instrumental Ensemble I. 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 available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble I, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10,11,12

Performing Arts: Instrumental Music - Afro-Caribbean Ensemble

This course offers the advanced instrumentalist an opportunity to specialize in and learn a variety of Afro-Caribbean standards. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). They will explore Caribbean culture and history to gain a greater understanding of the evolution of their music. Musicianship skills developed will include sight-reading, technique, improvisation, ear-training, ensemble skills, intonation and theory. Styles covered will include Calypso, Reggae, Bomba, Merengue and Son. The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year as well as some additional school forums. In addition to honing their music skills, students will make cross-cultural and historical connections. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are 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, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Performing Arts: Instrumental Music - Chroma

Chroma is an ensemble that offers the advanced instrumentalist an in-depth study of large ensemble works across a wide range of repertoire. 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 intermediate and advanced repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes custom arrangements, taking components from the classical music tradition as well as contemporary styles such as pop and jazz as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, and rehearsal/performance skills.The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.

Open to Grade Levels: 11,12

Performing Arts: Instrumental Music - Jazz Combo

This course offers the advanced instrumentalist an in-depth study of jazz performance. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). 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. The ensemble will showcase their work in mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.

Open to Grade Levels: 11,12

Performing Arts: Songwriting

This course is designed for intermediate to advanced music students to explore the practice of songwriting. We will study the elements of song (lyrics, melody, form, harmony, rhythm, timbre, etc) through analysis of existing music and workshop-format music theory classes. Students will learn to derive rhythms from lyrics, construct common chord progressions, write harmonies, and write a melodic line. Over the course of the term, students will implement their knowledge into composing their own original song.

One Term Course

Prerequisite: Working knowledge of either piano or guitar

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Advanced Design & Tech

Advanced Design & Tech 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 include The Shape of Things and Durango.

One Term Course

Prerequisites: Design & Tech Studio or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 12

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Design & Tech Studio

Design & Tech Studio is a course for students interested in Technical Theater and/or Theatrical Design. Students will have the opportunity to design their own experience through a combination of projects and workshops, allowing them to learn and utilize design and production tools as well as carpentry, scenic painting, props, lighting, and sound. Students will explore how theater artists use these tools for creative problem solving and 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 course can be taken more than once.

 

Three Term Course

No Prerequisites

Open to Grade Levels: 10,11,12

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Foundations of Design/Tech Theater

In this introductory course, students will begin the year using design projects and games, practical activities and scene work to develop storytelling skills. Students will learn about the design and production aspects of theatre and specific script analysis tools. Practical hands-on stagecraft is taught in the various theaters and theater-related spaces such as the scene shop and control booth. This course meets with the Foundations of Theater class, and it is meant to give students an overview of the major components of theater including acting, technical theater, public speaking, and script analysis. The aim of the course is to prepare students to implement and perform in the Ten-Minute Playfest which is a public production at the end of the spring term.

Two Term Course

This course is a prerequisite for students entering the Upper School Theater Program.

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Mainstage Design Independent Study

Mainstage Design Independent Study is a course for students with experience in Theatrical Design who are ready to design or assistant design on a mainstage production at Beaver. Students will learn about and utilize design, rendering tools, and communication strategies while gaining an assistant designer or designer resume credit. The successful student would practice skills and strategies related to communication, planning, and collaboration, as well as exercise creative thinking and problem solving methods essential to producing a theatrical design. Students taking this course must also take the Technical Theater Afternoon Activity in the same term. This course can be taken more than once.

 

One Term Course

Prerequisite Tech Theater – Design & Tech Studio and permission of instructor.

Performing Arts: The Actors' Showcase

This workshop is designed for the enthusiastic 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 as well as explore dramatic structure and topical themes through contemporary scene work. 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.

 

One Term Course

No Prerequisites.

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12