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Fine & Performing Arts Department

University High School offers a well-rounded arts curriculum with many options in both the fine arts (painting, photography, bookbinding, etc.) and the performing arts (music, theatre, etc.).

To graduate from University High School, students must earn four credits (one credit is earned each semester) in art.

Marimba

2020-21 Fine & Performing Arts Course Descriptions

Art Classes

Introduction to Art

This course is an introductory studio course that develops skills, principles, and techniques in drawing, as well as other two-dimensional mediums. Students will develop an understanding of the principles and elements of design, basic vocabulary for describing visual aspects of their work,  a general understanding of the role art has played throughout history, and influences on visual arts and culture. Demonstrations, slide lectures, and group and individual critiques will be the primary tools utilized during class time to allow students to fully develop their technical understanding of 2-D and 3-D space. This course will also introduce students to color theory and allow them to experiment with a variety of mediums.

Introduction to Photography

This class is an introduction to the fundamentals and principles of photography.  Throughout the semester, students will gain a comprehensive knowledge of digital photography and develop a strong understanding of how to create imagery using composition and aesthetics. The primary content of the class will offer students the opportunity to elevate the quality of their imagery and appreciation of photography as an art form through the investigation of color, texture, composition, and lighting. With the addition of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, the students will learn to expand and explore their photography to create digital images.

Animation

In this class, we will explore different types of animation, starting with flip books and then moving toward stop motion. Using animation as a storytelling medium, we will experiment with a variety of visual approaches such as moldable clay, paper, toys, and digital cameras. This class is for anyone that has taken Intro to Art or Intro to Photography.

Form & Figure

This is a studio art course that offers students an in-depth opportunity to develop 2-D and drawing skills, explore personal expression, and research possibilities in a variety of techniques and media, all while studying the human form. The main focus of this class will be learning the basics proportions of the human form and figure, as there will be additional emphasis on portraiture. Students will work with line, shape, proportion, volume, shading and composition. They will further develop their skills and techniques in drawing from observation and explore a variety approaches and mediums throughout the semester.

Stained Glass

In this semester-long course, students will receive an introduction to the basic techniques of stained glass making, leaded and copper foil methods, as well as three-dimensional construction techniques. Students will practice drafting patterns, cutting glass, painting and staining, etching, grinding, and soldering the glass together. In addition to primarily focusing on stained glass, students will also receive instruction on glass blowing, hot glass shaping, fusing, and slumping techniques. This course will also study the history, iconography and significance contained in stained glass windows. Students will gain a new skill through the creation of their own works of glass art.

Installation Art

Utilizing interests and abilities in a variety of subjects and media, students will study and create conceptually based environments and/or site specific artworks that provide the viewer with a sensory, intellectual, emotional, and/or interactive experience. This class is not media-specific; students will work with materials appropriate to their concepts and projects, which includes utilizing a variety of installation approaches and materials including 2-D and 3-D design and practice, video and audio editing, and found objects. Installation art is a pervasive, varied, global practice for art-making that acts as a gathering place for expression in all media addressing all subjects in a wide range of styles by broad groupings of artists.

Sculpture

This course is an investigation of techniques and analysis of sculpture. Students will gain a working knowledge of the principles and elements of design as they apply to three-dimensional design such as form, balance, volume/space, proportion, texture, movement, and composition. Through a variety of projects, students will be able to experiment with several 3-D mediums such as metal, paper, wood, reed, stone, textiles, wire, and clay.  Students will learn how to manipulate these materials and use sculpting tools safely. In addition, students will analyze and examine other works of sculpture through reading, discussion, and critique of geometric, abstract, and organic forms.

Bookbinding I

Students will gain a working knowledge of the anatomy, form, construction, bindings, and craftsmanship of a book. They will be also be introduced to the extended world of Book Arts such as papermaking, sculptural techniques, and some printmaking. This will allow students to experiment with mixed media and a variety of different mediums as well as help and investigate the principles, techniques, and concepts in historical and modern bookbinding. 

Bookbinding II

This course is an investigation of the principles, techniques, and concepts in historical and modern bookbinding.  Students will be acquainted with some techniques learned in Bookbinding I, as well as new and more complex ones. They will also learn about the conceptual aspects of shape, texture, movement, and composition. This will allow them to experiment with mixed media and a variety of different mediums as well.

Textiles I

This course introduces students to the variety of materials and processes involved in hand-produced textiles. Throughout the semester, students will explore the methods in which textiles are constructed, make their own fabrics, and also learn the basics of how to sew. We will begin with the original fiber, spin it into yarn, weave it, knit it, crochet it, etc. There will also be a component of the course that is dedicated to learning how to use a sewing machine as well as how to hand sew fabric. There also will be a significant portion of the class dedicated to the experimentation of surface design on textiles using natural and synthetic dyes.

Textiles II & III

This course will continue to build upon many of the techniques students learned during Textiles I. Students will be encouraged to further develop and hone skills such as spinning yarn, dyeing with natural materials, weaving, and knitting, as well as embroidering and sewing. Various new dyeing processes will be introduced as well as approaches to manipulating fiber and fabric. 

Advanced Photography – Alternative Processes

This class is an investigation into alternative styles and techniques of photography. Over the course of the semester, students will explore and experiment with a variety of ways to print imagery in the darkroom. A large portion of the class will focus on cyanotype photography (a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print) but we will also experiment with other printing techniques such as sepia toning and inkjet printing. 

Graphic Design

This class is designed to introduce students to a range of approaches in digital design using the Creative Cloud. Using photography, type, color, illustrations, and other imagery, students will learn to communicate themes in dynamic and engaging ways.  Specific projects will aim at developing students’ understanding of how to utilize the software as well as push them to think about how to best visually communicate themes and concepts in their work. 

Portfolio

This course is a precursor to the senior year AP Drawing, Photography, or 3-D portfolio. It allows students to gain additional one-on-one attention with an instructor and develop their skills beyond the introductory and advanced courses offered. Throughout the semester, students will be exploring the Breadth portion of the final AP portfolio. Journaling will be a major component of the class as well. Goals for the semester are for students to develop an understanding and experiment with a variety of materials, techniques, and concepts. Students will also regularly discuss and critique artwork with peers and their instructor.

AP Studio Art: Drawing

For this AP course, students will create a portfolio of work that demonstrates inquiry through art and design and development of materials, processes, and ideas over the course of a year. For the AP Drawing course, students are expected to submit a portfolio of 15 digital images of works of art and process documentation that demonstrates sustained investigation through practice, experimentation, and revision. 

The drawing portfolio is designated for work that focuses on the use of mark-making, line, surface space, light and shade, and composition. Students can work with any materials, processes, and ideas. Drawing, painting, printmaking, and mixed media work are among the possibilities for submission. There will also be a heavy emphasis on interpretation, analysis, and conceptual development of both the artists’ work as well as the work of their peers. Students should be prepared to regularly discuss artwork as a class as well as develop narratives and concepts in their own art.

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design

For this AP course, students will create a portfolio of work that demonstrate inquiry through art and design and development of materials, processes, and ideas over the course of a year. For the AP 2-D course, students are expected to submit a portfolio of 15 digital images of works of art and process documentation that demonstrates sustained investigation through practice, experimentation and revision. 

This portfolio is designated for work that focuses on the use of two-dimensional elements and principles of art and design. Students should consider how materials, processes, and ideas can be used to make work that exists on a flat surface. Students may work with any materials, processes, and ideas. Graphic design, digital imaging, photography, collage, fabric design, weaving, fashion design, fashion illustration, painting, and printmaking are among the possibilities for submission. There will also be a heavy emphasis on interpretation, analysis, and conceptual development of both the artists’ work as well as the work of their peers. Students should be prepared to regularly discuss artwork as a class as well as develop narratives and concepts in their own art.

AP Studio Art: 3-D Design

For this AP course, students will create a portfolio of work that demonstrates inquiry through art and design and development of materials, processes, and ideas over the course of a year. For the AP 3-D Art and Design portfolio, students are expected to submit a portfolio of 10 digital images of works of art and process documentation that demonstrates sustained investigation through practice, experimentation and revision.

This portfolio is designated for work that focuses on the use of three-dimensional elements and principles of art and design. Students should consider how materials, processes and ideas can be used to make work that involves space and form. Students can work with any materials, processes, and ideas. Figurative or nonfigurative sculpture, architectural models, metal work, ceramics, glasswork, installation, performance, assemblage, and 3-D fabric/fiber arts are among the possibilities for submission. There will also be a heavy emphasis on interpretation, analysis, and conceptual development of both the artists’ work as well as work of their peers. Students should be prepared to regularly discuss artwork as a class as well as develop narratives and concepts in their own art.

Music Classes

Choir

This course is designed for students in any grade who desire to participate in a vocal music ensemble. There is no prerequisite, although the ability to read music is strongly encouraged. Students will study music theory, learn vocal techniques and basic musicianship, sing in different languages, and study the cultural and historical context of the music. Performances will include traditional choir music as well as small groups (duets, trios, quartets). There are also accompanying opportunities in choir for students who play guitar and piano. Students interested in this accompanying opportunity should obtain teacher approval and register for choir.

String Orchestra

This course is designed for students in any grade who desire to participate in an instrumental music ensemble. Students must be able to play an orchestral string instrument and be able to read music. A variety of music styles will be studied and performed including string orchestra, chamber music, solo, and symphony orchestra literature through collaboration with the Wind Ensemble class. Students at all skill levels will improve their music theory, music history, and performance skills through a differentiated curriculum.

Wind Ensemble

This course is designed for students in any grade who desire to participate in an instrumental music ensemble. Students must be able to play a woodwind or brass instrument and be able to read music. A variety of music styles will be studied and performed, including traditional concert band music, jazz improvisation, chamber music, and symphony orchestra literature through collaboration with the String Orchestra and Percussion class. Students at all skill levels will improve their music theory, music history, and performance skills through a differentiated curriculum.

 

Advanced Musicianship (Wind Ensemble)

Advanced Musicianship is a semi-independent study and runs concurrently with Wind Ensemble. This course is designed specifically for students with a high level of musical knowledge, experience, and ambition. Students must be able to play a woodwind or brass instrument at an advanced level and also exhibit a high level of motivation. In addition to performance with the wind ensemble, students will study important solo literature and research famous composers and performers who were influential in the development or expansion of their instrument. Private lessons are strongly encouraged. Two years of prior high school wind ensemble experience and teacher recommendation is required.

Advanced Musicianship (Strings)

Advanced Musicianship is a semi-independent study and runs concurrent with String Orchestra. This course is designed specifically for students with a high level of musical knowledge, experience, and ambition. Students must be able to play an orchestral string instrument at an advanced level and also exhibit a high level of motivation. In addition to performance with the string orchestra, students will study important solo literature and research famous composers and performers who were influential in the development or expansion of their instrument. Private lessons are strongly encouraged. Two years of prior high school orchestra experience and teacher recommendation are required.

Advanced Musicianship (Vocal)

Advanced Musicianship is a semi-independent study and runs concurrent with Choir. This course is designed specifically for students with a high level of musical knowledge, experience, and ambition. Students must be able to sing at an advanced level and also exhibit a high level of motivation. In addition to performance with the choir, students will study important solo literature and research famous composers and performers who were influential in the development or expansion of vocal performance. Private lessons are strongly encouraged. Two years of prior high school choir experience and teacher recommendation are required.

Introduction to Music Technology

Introduction to Music Technology is an introductory course in the principles of audio and sound recording. In addition to music theory (through basic chord progressions), students will study sound waves, acoustics and the audio spectrum, console and signal flow, equalization and compression, microphones and their placement, effects, digital audio formats, and MIDI basic concepts through collaborative and individual projects.

Advanced Music Technology

Advanced Music Technology is a continuation of the fundamentals learned in the introductory course. Students will go more in depth in the study of sound waves, acoustics and the audio spectrum, console and signal flow, equalization and compression, microphones and their placement, effects, digital audio formats, and MIDI concepts. In addition to these things, students will have an increased focus on recording, mixing and mastering, and copyright law. The projects in this course will be driven by student interest. Students will use these elements to produce studio quality recordings of covers and original music.

Percussion Ensemble

This course is designed for students in any grade who desire to participate in an instrumental music ensemble. Students must be able to play a percussion instrument and be able to read music. A variety of music styles will be studied and performed, including traditional percussion ensemble music, jazz improvisation, chamber music, and band and orchestra literature through collaboration with the String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble classes. Students at all skill levels will improve their music theory, music history, and performance skills through a differentiated curriculum.

Theatre Classes

Acting for Everybody

This course is an improvisation (improv) acting class, and improv is for everyone. Improv is a method that anyone can learn and practice and is considered to be the core of actor training. Improv teaches one to be present, listen, co-create, trust one’s instincts, and develop teamwork. Improvisation also builds self-confidence and self-awareness. This course will be taught through improvisational games and exercises, as well as by studying other improv performers. This class is not just for those who want to be involved in theatre, but for anyone who wants to learn these skills that could benefit any career choice. At the end of the semester, there will be an improv performance.

Film Production

In this course, students will learn the art of filmmaking from start to finish. In this project-driven course, students will learn cinematographic elements, including basic video editing, sound editing, and storytelling, screenwriting, and the creation of short films. Students will learn about all the jobs in front of and behind the camera. This course concludes with a screening of student work at the end of the semester.

Acting for the Camera

This course is for anyone interested in being in front of or behind the camera. Students will learn about the difference of film vs. stage acting, study great film actors, reproduce scenes, and have a student audition reel by the end of the course. This course is also recommended for those interested in broadcasting or directing.

Other Classes

Yearbook

Yearbook is a semester-long course that focuses on the study and practice of journalistic writing and photojournalism. Students in this class will be responsible for the production, publication, and marketing of the school yearbook. All aspects of yearbook production will be covered including graphic design, copywriting and editing, photographic composition, interviewing techniques, ad sales, and organizational and management skills. Students may take yearbook as a year-long class and will have the opportunity to focus more on digital design during the second semester.

Yearbook / Digital Design

This course will study and practice the use of journalistic writing and photojournalism with a focus on the digital design aspect of journalism. Students will be responsible for completing Elements, the school yearbook. In addition, students will dive into the collection, creation, and presentation of audio, video, and photographic images. Students will learn the best practice in all three areas of digital media. Projects in this class will include the use of digital video and still cameras as well as photo editing software. The content created by this class will be published as part of the yearbook and on the school’s website.