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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

2021-22 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, as well as 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.

Advanced Photography

This course will allow students the opportunity to further refine and extend their skills in composition and aesthetic development. Over the course of the semester, students will explore a variety of subject matter and examine the process of building a portfolio of images. Students will create work that reflects their ability to generate ideas, themes, and concepts for their own photographic work. They also will develop the skills and vocabulary that allow them to think critically about their own images as well as the work of their peers. 

Graphic Illustration

This class is designed to introduce students to a range of approaches in digital illustration using a tablet. Students will explore the fundamentals of design in this digital platform and gain an understanding of how to translate a visual idea into a digital sketch through the use of line and space. Specific projects will aim to teach students the basic technical understanding of this digital platform as well as further develop their drawing skills. Each student will be provided with a tablet that they will then get to keep.

Wearable Design

This course is geared toward students who are interested in both design and the construction of a functional form. Using three keystone projects, students will begin with an original idea and then ultimately bring that initial design to life. Throughout the semester, students will develop designs using Adobe Illustrator and then screen print their design on an article of clothing; they will design and create a pair of leather sneakers for themselves; and they also will digitally construct and then 3-D print a pair of sunglass frames.

Painting I

This course is designed for students with an interest in developing their skills in color mixing and expanding their understanding of how to represent three-dimensional space and forms. Throughout the semester, students will build upon the fundamentals of composition, focusing specifically on line, value, form, gesture, and color theory. Emphasis will be on understanding and applying these principles through a variety projects including, but not limited to, still life, landscape, portraits, and organic abstraction. Multiple mediums will be explored such as, oil paint, watercolor, liquid graphic, and acrylic.

Printmaking I

This studio course is an introduction to the fundamentals of traditional printmaking. There will be an overview of a wide range of printmaking techniques, with a closer introduction to five different printmaking processes: monoprint, collagraph, linocut, woodcut, and etching/drypoint. The emphasis of the course is learning the principles of design and developing and mastering basic techniques, with attention to composition. This approach includes working with representational subject matter as well as abstract subject matter. Demonstrations and slide lectures, as well as group and individual critiques, will be utilized throughout the course.

Bookbinding I

Students will gain a working knowledge of anatomy of the book and work on the 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 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 also gain a working knowledge of anatomy of the book and work on the form, construction, bindings, and craftsmanship of a book. They will also learn about the conceptual aspects of shape, texture, movement, and composition. This course will also introduce students to the extended world of book arts, such as papermaking, sculptural techniques and some printmaking. This will allow them to experiment with mixed media and a variety of different mediums as well.

Jewelry I

Discover your inner jeweler and explore the basics of metalsmithing and jewelry making while creating one-of-a-kind pieces. This class will teach the fundamentals of basic jewelry construction processes, safety protocols, and tool identification. Over the course of the semester students will explore the introductory techniques of metalsmithing and fabrication such as learning how to saw, file, texture, forge, rivet, and solder metal 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 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, knitting, as well as embroidering and sewing. Various new dyeing processes will be introduced as well as approaches to manipulating fiber and fabric.

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.

Juniors and seniors may request Advanced Musicianship: Choir which is offered concurrent with 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.

Juniors and seniors may request Advanced Musicianship: String Orchestra which is offered concurrent with String Orchestra.

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.

Juniors and seniors may request Advanced Musicianship: Wind Ensemble which is offered concurrent with Wind Ensemble.

 

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.

Juniors and seniors may request Advanced Musicianship: Percussion Ensemble which is offered concurrent with Percussion Ensemble.

Advanced Musicianship

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

Introduction to Percussion

This class is designed for students who wish to learn how to read and play music or who would like to enhance their skills as musicians. The class will gain its knowledge of music with the aid of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. This is truly a beginning/early intermediate class. Students who have two or more years of experience as a percussionist should enroll in Percussion Ensemble. Students who excel in Introduction to Percussion may register for Percussion Ensemble in subsequent semesters with teacher approval.

Theatre Classes

Acting for Everybody

This course is an improvisation (improv) acting class, and improv is for anyone. 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. Acting for Everybody is not just for those who want to be an actor, 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.

Broadcasting

This course is a professionally oriented media course intended for students wanting to learn about all of the elements of broadcast journalism. Students will gain on-air experience, including announcing skills and production techniques, as well as producing, editing, and writing skills. Students will also learn how to live stream and will have opportunities to use their skills in the UHS community throughout the year.

Theatre Production

This course is designed to deepen the understanding of all the elements that make up a theatrical production. Students will learn theatre production vocabulary, as well as the many and varied roles required to deliver a quality production by learning set design, how to operate a sound and light board, costuming/basic sewing, make-up design, and puppet making. In lieu of a final exam, students will pitch a mock production.

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, storytelling, screenwriting, and create short films. Students will learn about and do all the jobs in front of and behind the camera, solo and in groups. This course concludes with a screening of student work at the end of the semester.

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.