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Arts Courses

Credits required: 3

Creative problem solving and new avenues of self-expression are at the core of Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Fine & Performing Arts (FPA) program. We offer a full range of learning in theater, music, and the visual arts, including digital media, which benefit the entry-level student as well as the advanced artist or performer seeking a higher-level experience. We strive to teach students the skills and thought processes that ensure a deeper understanding of both their immediate and global cultural environments. The faculty members in the FPA Department offer in-depth studies of current practices within their respective disciplines. The department encourages personal growth and the pursuit of both individual and collaborative excellence. Therefore, the process is equally as important as the final product. To help achieve this end, courses are tiered allowing students to build both their confidence and their skill level. All of the instructors in the department are working professionals, actively engaged in their art. We believe students are better prepared for the challenges of the 21st century by understanding and engaging in the complex and diverse human expression inherent in these disciplines. Note: A materials fee may be charged for these courses.

Three credits in the Fine & Performing Arts are required. Three trimester electives or one yearlong class can meet this requirement. It is recommended that students work to meet their Fine & Performing Arts requirement early in their time at WMA to allow flexibility for AP courses and special interest electives in Grades 11 and 12. Computer graphics and web design courses do not meet the Fine & Performing Arts requirement.

Fine Arts


STUDIO ART

Credits: 1

Level: Introductory, prerequisite to all other courses in the visual arts

Overview: Students in this course gain an understanding of the fundamentals of drawing, design, and three dimensions through studio practice. The course addresses aesthetics, criticism and art history. Students will be assessed on sketchbook assignments, major projects and class participation. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: none

DRAWING

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course is especially designed to improve drawing skills as well as the ability to visually represent an idea. Throughout the course, students will use a variety of drawing materials ranging from pencils to watercolors and collage materials. Using various means of representation, abstract and realistic, students will develop a personal style that they will use to interpret their life in a visual way. Assignments will include practicing drawing skills on their own and researching imagery that will be used in class projects. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

PAINTING

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: Students explore the use of paints and color for self-expression and to gain an understanding and appreciation for paint as a medium personally and historically. They will learn basic color theory by doing simple painting studies and progressing to more complex/abstract paintings. Art history, as well as various techniques of painting, is also discussed. Students are assessed on effort, creativity and the productive use of time to fully explore the medium, as well as the quality of the work produced. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

PAINTING 2

Credit: 1

Level: Advanced

Overview: To further explore the use of paint, students build on knowledge and experience of color mixing to create paintings with much deeper and personal meaning – to understand art is a form of self-expression. The focus is on the review of color theory and development of a unique style. The course encourages students to develop self-expression and appreciation of paint as a personal and historic medium. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art and Painting

SCULPTURE

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: Through studio practice and research students are exposed to a variety of approaches and considerations in order to arrive at a completed piece of work. By direct experience students learn to problem solve material and aesthetic concerns, understand and apply 3-dimensional concepts in a variety of challenges, resulting in a portfolio of work. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

CERAMICS

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course is an introduction to ceramic construction and glaze techniques. Students will explore various visual problems and ways to solve them with a creative solution. Projects will begin with a brief history, followed by individual research that develops into the creation of the project. Research of images and historical ceramic pieces will serve as visual and functional inspiration for projects. Projects are assessed for originality of approach and solution to a visual problem. Work will be collectively viewed, discussed and graded using a rubric. Weekly participation grades will reflect a student’s effort, productivity, conduct, attitude and clean up habits. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

CERAMICS 2

Credit: 1

Level: Advanced

Overview: This is the second course in the ceramic series. After students learn the basics of constructing and glazing in Ceramics, they are ready to start exploring the possibilities clay has to offer. Projects will consist of unique assembling and glazing techniques, exploring conceptual solutions to visual problems. Students will research outside of class to gain inspiration, which they will use for their class projects. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art, Ceramics

PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: Students learn the fundamentals of traditional darkroom photography through work with the SLR camera and in the darkroom, gaining experience in how an image is formed and printed. Students will also develop awareness of composition, subject matter, and lighting. Black & White Photography by Henry Horenstein is the text. Daily effort, projects, and a willingness to explore the medium are important to success in this course. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: 1

Level: Advanced

Overview: Students will build upon existing knowledge, continue to develop skill in the darkroom, and increase technical understanding with various cameras while striving to deepen creativity. While working in the darkroom to demonstrate basics and refine printing, students will also apply their knowledge of composition, subject matter, and lighting. Students will produce a portfolio of work. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art, Photography

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course will help students to understand and apply the creative processes involved in creating imagery for web or print while considering the visual impact of the Internet on our lives. Through various projects students will learn Adobe Photoshop basics to manipulate and manage files in computer labs. Each student will produce a digital portfolio that combines photography with design basics. Weekly preparation and participation are important.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

CREATIVE MEDIA AND VIDEO

Credit: 1

Level: Introductory

Overview: This course exposes students to the fundamentals of video programming for both extra- and intra-media use. Teachers will take students through technical, aesthetic and ethical considerations with a view to video production. Students will learn to create programming, such as news, arts and social commentary, through various approaches to digital media. The importance of understanding point of view is critical to a more thorough comprehension of our media saturated lives. Moreover, with information and ideas being increasingly spread by channels such a YouTube, students should have a foundation in this important visual language. Rather than being recipients, why don't you create and communicate your ideas?

Prerequisites: none

FASHION: DESIGN STUDIO

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course will focus on the global understanding of fashion and its cultural and aesthetic implications. Students will consider how fashion changes over time, comparing fashion trends on a global scale and investigating the social and historical aspects that directly influence these trends. The controlling forces of global economics, politics, social hierarchy, and how these forces dictate what people wear, are major thematic components of the course. Students will also examine the history and progress of fashion, and the differences between cultures, particularly Western ideas in comparison to Asian, African and Middle East aesthetics. Students will consider the global aspects of clothing design, fabric design, production and the economics of the fashion industry. In order to create a portfolio of clothing designs, students will learn to draw the human figure, focusing on proportion and anatomy. Various reading assignments will be assigned, as well as a comparative classroom presentation. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art. Drawing is recommended.

FASHION: PRODUCTION STUDIO

Credit: 1

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course will give students a foundation in garment construction, sewing techniques, fabric and fiber qualities, and the use of a sewing machine. Students will have the opportunity to prepare and produce sewn garments from their own designs. The course will culminate in a fashion show.

Prerequisite: Fashion: Design Studio

architectural design

Level: Intermediate

Overview: This trimester course is an introduction to the visual constructs of buildings and structures. Architecture is a globally contextual concept that spans residential, public, religious and commercial settings, cultural styles, economic status, and time periods. Using the visual lens of architecture, students will begin to take a look at the world and their surroundings in a new and tangible way. In this course, students will research architectural elements, brainstorm and sketch their own ideas, and create projects such as elevation drawings, blueprint drawings, 3-D perspective drawings, mixed media paintings, 3-D models, digital renderings and 3-D printed models. Innovation and technology will be emphasized, and students will use the 3-D printer by the end of the course. As architectural elements interact with our environment, it is important that our future, global citizens understand how they can artistically interact with the world. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Studio Art required. Drawing recommended.

AP STUDIO - 2D DESIGN

Credit: 3

Level: Advanced Placement

Overview: Through the completion of a range of assignments, students develop individual themes and approaches to a variety of two-dimensional media. With a focus on the elements and principles of art and design, students also develop objectivity, personal critiques and an understanding of the historical and global impact on the arts. The course utilizes the text Living with Art by Mark Getlein. The course will prepare advanced art students for the AP exam and the creation of a portfolio for application to study art in college. The AP exam in May is mandatory. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission

AP STUDIO - 3D DESIGN

Credit: 3

Level: Advanced Placement

Overview: This course offers an in depth exploration of the many aspects of 3D Design. From plaster casts to recyclable materials, we learn how to use materials in order to make our vision clear and accessible. Problem solving is a critical part of this course. Students are expected to experiment and follow through with ideas. Research on designers and sculptors shared through student presentation and response informs and inspires the class. The work culminates in a group exhibit in the gallery, as well as participating in the AP Studio 3D Design exam in May, which is mandatory. Materials fee charged.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

Performing Arts


ACADEMY REPERTORY COMPANY (ARC)

Credit: 1

Level: Beginner to advanced. Students work at varying levels appropriate to their experience

Overview: Conservatory training in the art of acting and all facets of the production of live theatre. This course offers an intense investigation of theatre history, production, style, techniques and methods of acting and design, which include global perspectives. The goal is to enable students to become more adept in all areas of theatrical production through a process of collaboration and individual creative input. Assessments will include independent script reading and analysis essays, ancillary readings and independent projects, and at least one public performance per trimester. Students are allowed to repeat this course.

music performance and inquiry

Credit: 1 (Levels 1 and 2 available)

Level: Introductory to Advanced

Overview: This trimester course is open to all students including those who are not in performing ensembles. The course allows students the opportunity for self-directed or group study, depending on interest and ability. Students write songs, create beats, and practice voice, piano, guitar, drums, violin, saxophone, flute, percussion, or any other wind, string, or percussion instrument of their choosing. Teacher guidance is given when needed and students are assessed on their progress daily.

Prerequisite: none - Students may continue with Music Performance and Inquiry 2 after completing Level 1.

WORLD MUSIC APPRECIATION

Credit: 1

Level: Introductory

Overview: This course introduces students to traditional and contemporary global music from China, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Africa, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Poland, Bulgaria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and the United States among others with an emphasis on hands-on experience whenever possible. Students are required to write responses to readings from the text that includes biographies of individual musicians as well as context for music from around the world. The course involves extensive listening to CDs as well as viewing of videos of musical, operatic and folk performances.

Prerequisite: none

ACADEMY SINGERS

Credit: 1 (full year)

Level: Introductory to Intermediate choral

Overview: This yearlong course is for all students who wish to share their passion for music in a community setting with music selected from various pop music sources, including rock, jazz, musical theater, television and movies. The goals of this course are to develop the ability to be part of an ensemble setting; to learn about vocal skills and harmonization; and to gain confidence in performing in front of others. The course meets once per week for the full academic year.

Prerequisite: none

MOSAIC HARMONY

Credit: 3

Level: Advanced choral

Overview: This course features rehearsal-based class style with periodic discussion and viewing of relevant documentaries. Students will strengthen vocal and ensemble abilities; increase understanding of the challenges of performing music from different traditions; acquire greater understanding of similarities and differences between traditions; and consider how the performance of global music has the ability to foster greater communication within the worldwide community. This is a yearlong course with repertoire pulled from three distinct global music traditions, regions to be selected at the start of each school year.

Prerequisite: audition

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Credit: 3

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Overview: This class will explore a jazz repertoire including the various styles of jazz swing, jazz-rock, Latin jazz, and original compositions by the director and student. Students gain practical listening experience by staying in tune with the group in scale warm-ups, rehearsals, and concerts and thus becoming a team player. The goals of the course are to increase the students’ knowledge and ability in the performance of jazz music; to increase each individual’s understanding of his or her instrument and how it relates to others in a large band setting; to help perpetuate the concept of a rehearsal jazz band – a dying art form; and to prepare a concert exciting to both the musicians and the audience. The ensemble will perform public and private functions during the year.

Prerequisite: minimum of 2 - 3 years of study on an instrument with the following individual skills:

  • Horn players: proper fingerings of notes
  • Guitar & bass players: names of the strings and fret board
  • Pianists & guitarists: basic knowledge of chord symbols
  • Drummers: ability to play rock, swing and Latin beats

CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

Credits: 3

Level: Advanced

Overview: This yearlong class enables students to improve technical abilities on solo instruments, and facilitates play in chamber and advanced ensemble groups. The emphasis is on advanced solo and ensemble technique as well as audition repertoire through participation in auditions and public performances. The course aims to broaden each student’s solo and ensemble repertoire through performances.

Prerequisites: audition or departmental permission

AP MUSIC THEORY (online only)

Credit: 3 (online)

Level: Advanced Placement

Overview: This course is designed to give the student an understanding of music theory, sight-reading, and aural skills that is equivalent to that of a first-year college music student. It is also designed with the explicit purpose of preparing the student for the AP® Exam in Music Theory. The course content and presentation will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the College Board in the Music Theory Course Description. The course will cover: the fundamentals of traditional melodic and harmonic composition through the early twentieth century; multiple techniques for melodic, harmonic, and formal analysis; an introduction to two- and four-voice counterpoint; an introduction to jazz, blues, and non-Western techniques; and the basics of orchestration. In addition, students will be trained to sight-read melodies in major and minor keys, with limited chromatic alteration. They will also perform listening exercises for the purposes of memorizing and notating specific intervals, scales, chords, rhythms, melodies, and progressions. The AP Music Theory exam in May is required.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in playing major and minor scales, reading basic tonal melodies, and using proper technique on one or more musical instruments (vocal, orchestral, band). Strongly Recommended: At least one semester of practice writing traditional music notation with proper technique. At least one semester of keyboard instruction, including scales and triad formation. This course has fees.

Additional Requirements

Arts Enrichment

We believe that participating in the arts, as an observer, is a valuable and enriching experience and one that differs meaningfully from strictly being an active participant. To encourage this artistic interchange, we support our Arts Enrichment Program by making the following obligations a graduation requirement:

  • Each upper school student must complete two (2) Arts Enrichment credits each trimester, for a total of six (6) credits per year. These credits may be earned either on or off campus at designated offerings.
  • Students will receive one (1) Arts Enrichment credit for each on-campus Arts Enrichment opportunity attended and two (2) credits for each school-organized off-campus Arts Enrichment opportunity. If a student attends an off-campus cultural Fine and Performing Arts event (concert, museum, dance, etc.) with his/her family the student may earn one (1) credit for that activity by writing a one page paper describing what the event was, when the event occurred, where the event occurred, who participated, and a review of the event.
  • Students who do not fulfill the Arts Enrichment requirement in a given trimester will be assigned to an additional, and specific, Arts Enrichment opportunity the following trimester. If the student fails to meet this make-up obligation, they will receive four hours of campus work detail for each unfulfilled credit.
  • This is an ungraded requirement which does not count as a course.
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