Morristown-Beard Upper School Curriculum

Course Search 2019-2020

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Upper School Performing Arts Curriculum

Performing Arts Program
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 annual vocal, instrumental, and dance concerts, as well as a fall play, a winter musical, a theater lab performance, an a cappella singing group, field trips to professional performances and the participation in various off-campus festivals and performance opportunities.


Theater Course Offerings

Theater education stimulates creativity, problem solving ability, and critical thinking skills, while also challenging student perceptions about the 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:

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.

Improv and Sketch Comedy

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

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

Spring Semester

Students in this class will explore basic methods of improvisation in a setting where failure and wrong answers do not exist. Through creative drama games and specific technique exercises, students will learn active listening, and discover how to be "in the moment" on stage. Each class begins with centering and breath exercises, followed by work on short and long-form improvs.

Stagecraft

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: None

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

Full Year Course

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.

Stagecraft Mini-Session

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

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

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

Similarly to the other "Mini Session" courses, this course allows students the freedom to explore other semester classes while still engaging in stagecraft design and construction.

Vocal and Instrumental Music Course Offerings

The development of well-rounded musicians, with an awareness of world music and the role music plays in society, forms the basis of vocal and instrumental music offerings at MBS.

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.

Chorus Mini Session

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

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

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

This class is a half-year offering of Chorus that allows students to explore semester-long classes in other subject areas without forsaking their musical interests. Students participate in the Spring Concert.

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 Concert and the "All That Jazz" Concert held each Spring. This course may be repeated for credit.

Percussion Ensemble

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Experience playing any instrument and a basic ability to read music

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.

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.

Fundamentals of Music

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

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

Fall Semester

This class introduces students to the rudiments of music through the basic principles of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Students will acquire musical literacy through notation and vocabulary, while building individual listening skills through exposure to a variety of musical forms.

Composers in Context: from Beethoven to "Bang on a Can"

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: None

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

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

This listening-intensive course will examine how music is inescapably a product of its time. Students will be introduced to key styles, developments, innovations and trends in the history and evolution of Western concert music. Major composers, from Beethoven to the cutting-edge composer/performers of "Bang on a Can" will be placed in their social and cultural contexts through the use of videos, audio recordings, historical texts, and live performance, when available.
Please note that this course is cross listed with History department electives and carries credit for a semester of History.

Music Theory

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

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

Spring Semester

Designed as an enhancement to other music courses, this class offers an in-depth exploration of the elements of tonal music. Topics include the Circle of Fifths, major and minor scales, chords and their inversions, intervals, rhythm, and harmonic analysis. Ear training is used to help students hone their listening and musical skills.

Dance

The foundation of the MBS Dance curriculum is the three-year sequence from Introduction 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

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.

Intermediate Dance

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 12

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 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.

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.

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.

Tap

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Middle School Tap Attack or other tap training

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.

Tap Mini Session

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

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

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

This half-year offering of tap study allows students to explore semester-long classes in other areas without forsaking their interest in dance.

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.

Theater Dance Mini Session

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

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

Spring Semester

This half-year offering of Theater Dance allows students to explore semester-long classes in other subject areas without forsaking their interest in expanding their dance skills.

Performing Arts in the CID

These Performing Art courses take advantage of the technical resources housed in the Center for Innovation and Design. There are no prerequisites, and they are open to all Upper School students.

Music Composition for Film and Visual Media

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites:

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

Fall 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.

Fundamentals of Studio Recording

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites:

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 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.

Synthesizer Programming and Sound Design

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites:

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

Spring Semester

Using both hardware and software analog synthesizers, students will learn the fundamentals of modern sound design, including analog-style sequencing and sound creation. Projects are recorded in a multi-track studio setting. Additional topics may include digital sampling techniques and live-performance analog set-ups. No prior musical experience is required. Additionally, student iPads will also be used in both creation and recording, and in synchronization with the studio Digital Audio Workstation.

Soundscapes Music Composition

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites:

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

Spring Semester

Using a variety of sound sources, including digital synthesis, computer modeling, live instrumentation, and sampling, students will create complete soundtracks to assigned video media suitable for playback in various media, including the MBS Sphere. Emphasis will be placed on effective non-tonal musical techniques to create throughly-realized works. Included in the course will be study of early electronic music repertoire as models for new compositions.