Course Search 2022-2023

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Upper School Performing Arts Curriculum

Mission Statement: The Performing Arts program fosters critical thinking, discipline, and a sense of community, all in a creative and rigorous environment. Through a variety of performance and learning opportunities, students discover and cultivate an enduring connection to the intrinsic value of the performing arts in the human experience.

Morristown-Beard's Performing Arts curriculum features both performance-based and arts literacy classes. This allows students with previous experience to enhance existing skills, while also encouraging students without training to explore the world through the unique prism of the performing arts. Independent Study opportunities in all aspects of the performing arts can also be arranged. Co- and extra-curricular offerings include semiannual vocal, instrumental, and dance concerts, a fall play, winter musical, spring performing arts festival, and participation in various off-campus events.

Students interested in the play or musical are encouraged to enroll in dance, acting, or chorus.


Theater Course Offerings

Theater education stimulates creativity, problem solving ability, and critical thinking skills, while also challenging student perceptions about themselves and the world around them. With an emphasis on live performance styles, theater classes at MBS also remind students about the importance of engaging in unmediated human communication.

Acting

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 12

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Fall Semester

Through script analysis and the study of speeches, monologues and scenes, students explore the fundamentals of the acting craft. Special emphasis is placed on developing a comfort level on stage for public speaking and performance, along with interpretation of dramatic text as the basis for characterization and performance style. Students are also encouraged to audition for and/or work on school productions.

Technical Theater

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Students explore technical elements of sound and lighting, as applied to theater, and learn principles of stage and production management. They serve as crew for morning meetings, concerts and theater productions throughout the year, and also manage rentals and other performances held in Founders Hall.

This course may be repeated for credit

Stagecraft

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 8

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Spring Semester

Students gain hands on experience in project management, budgeting, and meeting deadlines as part of the team that designs and builds scenery for MBS productions, while also learning about tools and developing practical skills. This course may be repeated for credit.

Music Ensembles

All Music Ensembles can be repeated for credit.

Completion of one year of a music ensemble counts as a prerequisite for Advanced courses in the CID.

Students who have completed over two years of an ensemble course will receive an "Experienced" designation before the course title on their transcript.

Chorus

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This full year course offers the beginning singer an opportunity to improve tone, vocal production, volume, blending, sight singing, music reading and harmonizing. Various styles of music are explored including madrigals, Broadway, folk, gospel, international and popular selections from the choral music repertoire. Students participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit. Students who have completed over four semesters of this course will receive an "Experienced" designation on their transcript.

Jazz Ensemble

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Experience playing in an ensemble; placement by audition

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This course is designed to provide a performing ensemble for experienced brass, percussion and saxophone players. Instruction includes playing technique, note reading, improvisation, and exposure to a variety of musical styles written for jazz ensemble. Students participate in the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit. Students who have completed over four semesters of this course will receive an "Experienced" designation on their transcript.

Percussion Ensemble

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This class explores music written specifically for percussion instruments including snare drum, bass drum, floor toms, cymbals, timpani, xylophone and Latin percussion instruments. The class is open to anyone who is a percussionist, is a pianist, or who has previous experience reading music on an instrument other than percussion. Members of the ensemble will participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit. Students who have completed over four semesters of this course will receive an "Experienced" designation on their transcript.

String Ensemble

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Designed primarily for the intermediate to advanced student, this class focuses on developing all aspects of string technique and performance. Students hone their skills and explore the art of ensemble playing as they study and perform music of varying periods. Members of the ensemble will participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit. Students who have completed over four semesters of this course will receive an "Experienced" designation on their transcript.

Advanced Strings

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation or audition

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Designed for the highly-experienced string player, Advanced Strings is for those who currently study privately and/or participate in an extracurricular youth orchestra (i.e., New Jersey Youth Symphony or New Jersey State Youth Orchestra). All aspects of 21st–century string playing will be pursued, including studio recording techniques and audition skills. Repertoire will be informed by enrollment and student interest.

Introductory Music Classes (single semester)

These courses fulfill the prerequisite for Advanced Music classes in the CID

Piano Skills

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

In this course, students will use the controller keyboards and student workstations in the Center for Innovation and Design (CID) to learn the basics of keyboard playing in a group setting. From simple chords and melodies, to keyboard harmony, elementary music sequencing (using Apple’s Logic Pro X software), and reading of more advanced, traditionally-notated piano repertoire, students will acquire foundational skills applicable to any musical style.

Elements of Music

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Fall Semester

This class serves as an introduction to the basics of music through the principles of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Students will acquire musical literacy, gain familiarity with musical notation and terminology, and build listening skills through exposure to a variety of musical forms.

Please note that this is considered a core academic course.

Music Theory and Composition

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Ability to read music, or departmental permission

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Spring Semester

In this course, designed for students who can read music, students will deepen their knowledge of music theory, including scales, rhythm, and harmony. Students will demonstrate their understanding of these concepts through original compositions to be performed by the class. Additionally, ear training will help students further hone their listening and musical skills.

Please note that this is considered a core academic course.

Dance Course Offerings

The foundation of the MBS Dance curriculum is the three-year sequence from introductory through Advanced Dance. These full-year courses include extensive warm-up, as well as exercises to develop proper alignment, flexibility, coordination and strength. Various styles are explored throughout the sequence, including jazz, modern and lyrical.

Dance

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 14

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10

Full Year Course

This course is for the beginning student or one who has a limited knowledge of dance technique and performance. Students will gain an increased understanding of their individual range of movement. This course may be repeated for credit.

Intermediate Dance

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 12

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Dance Performance is for the student with an intermediate knowledge of dance. Students will explore stage presence, improvisation and choreography, as well as continue to perfect individual technique. Students participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit.

Advanced Dance

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 16

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Advanced Dance is for the highly experienced dance student. There is a strict emphasis on technique and strength development. All students must participate in winter and spring dance concerts and mandatory after-school rehearsals. Students participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit.

Morristown-Beard Dance Ensemble

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation and audition

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

The MBS Dance Ensemble is an elite group of well-trained dancers who may have the desire to pursue dance as a career. Entrance into the dance ensemble is by recommendation and audition only. Students participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. This course may be repeated for credit.

Tap

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This class gives Upper School students an opportunity to continue their Middle School tap training. In addition to the fun cardio activity that tap dancing offers, the class will help students develop rhythmic and musical literacy, physical coordination, dexterity, and speed of movement. This course may be repeated for credit.

Theater Dance

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

The energetic styles of Broadway choreographers are explored through original routines and production numbers from historic shows of the American musical theater. Students participate in a variety of dance styles including jazz and tap, and gain coordination, rhythmic literacy, and performance skills through a series of combinations. Students are encouraged to participate in the US musical and also perform in the Spring Dance Concert. This course may be repeated for credit.

Advanced Courses: Performing Arts in the CID

To take Advanced courses in the CID, students are required to have taken at least one qualifying prerequisite course:

One year of a music ensemble (Chorus, String Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, or Percussion Ensemble) or one semester of an Introductory Music Class (Piano Skills, Elements of Music, or Music Theory).

Open to students in 11, 12 or by departmental recommendation.

Electronic Music Composition

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: At least one semester of a music ensemble (Chorus, Strings, Jazz Band, Percussion) or Introductory Music Class or by Departmental Recommendation.

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Spring Semester

Using a variety of sound sources, including digital synthesis, live recording, and sampling, students will produce original music tracks on the Logic Pro X platform. Additional projects will include composition using the collection of hardware analog synthesizers and sequencers located in the CID. Included in the course will be a study of early electronic music repertoire as a model for new compositions, as well as a survey of techniques used in the production of modern commercial electronic music.

Fundamentals of Studio Recording

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: At least one semester of a music ensemble (Chorus, Strings, Jazz Band, Percussion) or Introductory Music Class

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Fall Semester

Focusing on recording live instruments, this course will teach students the fundamentals of mic placement, recording levels, overdubs, session management and mix down, using Apple’s Logic Pro X Digital Audio Workstation software. Projects may include recording of MBS Performing Arts ensembles in the studio setting. Emphasis on preparation of recordings for use in varied distribution systems, including the MBS website. Additional topics may include advanced audio editing for use with appropriate video media.

This course may be repeated for credit.

Film Scoring

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: At least one semester of a music ensemble (Chorus, Strings, Jazz Band, Percussion) or Introductory Music Class - or by Dept. recommendation.

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Spring Semester

Using original music cues, students will create underscores to pre-existing video and film media. The course will explore the process of music spotting, teacher-led motive improvisation and fundamental orchestration. Projects to be realized using Logic Pro X Digital Audio Workstation, and may also include participation of MBS instrumentalists. Final projects may be further utilized on the MBS website. No prior musical experience required.

Performing Arts in Society

Courses listed below place the Performing Arts in social and historical contexts.

The Rest is Noise (Part 1): A History of Music 1900-1950 (also listed in History)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Fall Semester

This course will introduce students to music written in the midst of the turbulent politics, wars, and revolutionary movements of the twentieth century. Exploring the immense changes in musical style that characterize this period, this course will examine the important cultural, political, and social shifts that inspired and shaped such diverse music. We will be guided by Alex Ross’ bestseller, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.” Students will be assessed by formal essays and presentations, with opportunities for creative responses to the music we encounter.

Students can take either semester (Fall or Spring) as a standalone class, or take both classes consecutively (Fall and Spring).

Please note that this course is cross-listed with History department electives and carries credit for a semester of History.

The Rest is Noise (Part 2): A History of Music 1950-2000 (also listed in History)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Spring Semester

This course will introduce students to music written in the midst of the turbulent politics, wars, and revolutionary movements of the twentieth century. Exploring the immense changes in musical style that characterize this period, this course will examine the important cultural, political, and social shifts that inspired and shaped such diverse music. We will be guided by Alex Ross’ bestseller, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.” Students will be assessed by formal essays and presentations, with opportunities for creative responses to the music we encounter.

Students can take either semester (Fall or Spring) as a standalone class, or take both classes consecutively (Fall and Spring).

Please note that this course is cross-listed with History department electives and carries credit for a semester of History.