Arts Department2022-02-24T14:51:32+00:00

Arts Department

Placement Requirements

Placement into upper level and AP Arts courses is granted based on a review of the student’s work. For returning students the review is conducted by the current arts teacher. For new students the review is done by the department head or the appropriate teacher, with the support of the registrar.

The review might include a conversation between the student and teacher, a review of a portfolio of the student’s work, or an audition.

All placements are subject to review by the head of the department.

Department Courses

Dance

Radio & Media Arts

Music

Theater

Visual Arts

Arts Course Descriptions

Dance

Afternoon Program

Dance instruction is offered as part of our afternoon program in our beautiful dance studio. We provide genre-specific, professional dance instructors for students interested in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. Dancers of all levels are welcome, from the beginner to the most accomplished and ambitious dancer.

The afternoon dance program also offers an extended Dance Team Program, which gives dancers an opportunity to promote school spirit, provide entertainment at athletic events, and represent the School with local community appearances. Dance Team also attends and participates in dance competitions. All dance students are able to perform in front of the school community during performances and assemblies.

Chorus

Available to: all students

Open to students of all grade levels, without audition or experience, this large choir is designed to provide all singers with the knowledge and skills required to enjoy success as a member of a choral ensemble. Performing a variety of musical styles, students in Chorus will be presented with the basic music theory and sight-reading skills necessary to become confident, well-rounded singers. In addition to class periods, the commitment for this course includes concerts in the winter and spring. The dates of the concerts will be shared with students during the first week of class.

Advanced Choir

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Advanced Choir is an ensemble designed to give experienced choral singers the opportunity to improve their skills while working on challenging choral literature in a broad range of styles including pop and jazz. To be eligible for this ensemble, singers must have been a member of the Chorus, or a similar ensemble, for at least a year, or demonstrate their abilities in an audition. Over the course of the year, students will be introduced to basic music theory, ear training, and sight singing, and they will concentrate heavily on technique-oriented singing. Students in this ensemble will have the opportunity to audition for several honor choirs, which serve to broaden the horizons of their musical experiences. Each year, approximately 20 Stevenson singers are accepted into state and regional honor choirs. In addition to class periods, the commitment for this course includes concerts in the winter and spring. The dates of the concerts will be shared with students during the first week of class.

Guitar 1

Available to: all students with very little or no prior experience with the guitar

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the music discipline.

This beginning guitar course is open to students with little or no previous experience on the guitar. Throughout the year, students will learn a variety of songs, selected from multiple styles, to bolster the development of basic chord knowledge and coordination between hands, as well as basic chord progressions and finger-picking techniques. Additionally, students will learn to play the ukulele. Basic music theory will be introduced as it relates to the guitar, and students will learn to read guitar tablature, which is widely used in professional musical settings. Students will have several opportunities to perform in class, both solo and with others, and will learn valuable skills to aid in coping with the natural anxiety associated with performing on any instrument.

Students are responsible for providing a guitar. An entry-level Yamaha can range from $150 – $300. The School also rents guitars to students.

Rock Band

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the music discipline.

The major emphasis of this course is to develop student achievement through the exploration of a modern band ensemble that utilizes popular music as its central canon. Rock Band teaches students to perform the music they know and love, and to compose and improvise in a collaborative setting. Styles that are studied include rock, pop, reggae, hip-hop, rhythm & blues, indie, and other contemporary styles as they emerge. The course will introduce the skills necessary to perform on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, keyboard, drums and vocals. An overview of the historical and social context of various popular music genres will be discussed and demonstrated through multimedia student presentations and guest speakers. The course will foster peer to peer development in the band setting, while encouraging the band to perform cohesively as a single unit. Students in Rock Band will also be introduced to the art of songwriting, both individually and collaboratively.

Songwriting & Music Production

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the music discipline.

This course is designed to give students a chance to explore songwriting and music production. The ability to sing, play guitar and/or piano are not required but will greatly aid the songwriting process. Using the computer as a virtual recording studio, students will combine software-based sound production with recorded audio from their compositions. Over the course of the year, students will complete at least three songs, in a variety of genres, and perform them at a showcase in the spring term as well as record their compositions. Students will develop skills in working with software along with songwriting techniques. They will be introduced to basic digital audio theory and microphone placement techniques, as well as develop skills in hard-disk recording and editing with Logic, Garage Band, and other multi-track audio software. Students will collaborate as songwriters and sound engineers in the process of composing music.

String Orchestra

Available to: all students

String Orchestra is a yearlong course devoted to the study of music written and arranged for standard orchestral string instruments (violin, viola, cello, and string bass). Students of varying levels of ability and experience are invited to participate, but are expected to have a firm grasp of basic playing fundamentals and the technical demands of their instrument, as well as the facility to read standard music notation with at least moderate fluency. Students will study musical repertoire representing various styles, historical periods, and traditions, and they will also work in chamber music ensembles. Attendance at all concert performances is mandatory.

Symphonic Band

Available to: all students

Symphonic Band is a yearlong course devoted to the study of music written and arranged for wind and percussion instruments. Students of varying levels of ability and experience are invited to participate, but are expected to have a firm grasp of basic playing fundamentals and the technical demands of their instrument, as well as the facility to read standard music notation with at least moderate fluency. Students will study concert band literature representing various styles, historical periods, and traditions, and they will also work in chamber music ensembles. Attendance at all concert performances is mandatory.

AP Music Theory

Type: Honors

Available to: all qualified Grade 11 and 12 students, see placement requirements

This course is offered to students in grades eleven and twelve who demonstrate basic music theory knowledge on an entrance exam, and an upper intermediate level of skill in instrumental or vocal music. The curriculum is designed to encompass a wide range of musical study with emphasis on the fundamentals of theory, music handwriting skills, form analysis, ear training, rhythmic and melodic dictation, and basic melodic and harmonic composition.

Instrumental or Vocal Music Lessons

Type: Pass/Fail

Available to: all students

Special Notes: This course does not count towards the diploma requirement for the Arts department.

Regularly scheduled private lessons are arranged by the director of music. The instructors charge a fee. These are taken on a Pass/F basis, and do not fulfill our Arts requirement.

Introductory Radio & Media

Available to: all students

Introductory Radio & Media presents foundations in media communications, including radio broadcasting and digital media. Students are taught and practice on-air speaking standards and learn to manipulate digital editing software and physical production equipment toward the eventual goal of operating the radio station. Students learn to conduct interviews, write and produce on-air shows and digital media stories for the local community. Students gain real world radio experience in the School’s fully equipped KSPB 91.9 FM radio station.

Advanced Radio & Media

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Advanced Radio & Media is a yearlong course in which students are further trained toward the goal of radio station management and broadcast media production. Beyond their continued practice of on-air presence and speaking, students develop strong research, writing, reporting and storytelling skills that are appropriate to professional expectations in broadcasting and podcasting. Responsibilities include operating the School’s fully equipped, federally licensed KSPB 91.9 FM radio station.

Principles of Acting

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

SPECIAL NOTES: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the theater discipline. Alternatively, students engaged in two seasons of theater productions in a year are eligible to petition for a semester’s grade and credit in the theater arts, which, in conjunction with this course, would fulfill both Stevenson’s one-year arts requirement and the “f” arts requirement for the UC and Cal State schools.

In one semester, students with absolutely no experience in acting become actors! Learn how to build self-confidence in public speaking, collaborate with others, play games that develop your imagination and creativity, and explore voice and speech exercises that make it easier for you to express yourself. Students perform many different character types through role-playing, monologues, and scene work from contemporary plays. Come join in the fun of the theater arts—it starts right here in this class!

Improv

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the theater discipline. Alternatively, students engaged in two seasons of theater productions in a year are eligible to petition for a semester’s grade and credit in the theater arts, which, in conjunction with this course, would fulfill both Stevenson’s one-year arts requirement and the “f” arts requirement for the UC and Cal State schools.

Do you like playing games, laughing, and making others laugh? Ever seen Saturday Night Live? Whose Line is it Anyway? Ever write or perform a comedy sketch…or have an idea for one that you kept secret? Want to learn how NOT to get nervous in front of groups of people? You need to be in this class!

“Improv,” or improvisation, is just a way of saying “make it up right here, right now!” (just with people watching you). It’s a form of ‘live’ theater in which the plot, characters, dialogue, and story are made up in the moment. You will be empowered. Your self-confidence will soar! You are going to get much better at public speaking, active listening, collaborating in groups, and physical awareness.

Open to ALL students — if you have zero experience, or you are involved in theater or film on a regular basis, come join the fun(ny)!

Acting for the Camera

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

SPECIAL NOTES: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the theater discipline. Alternatively, students engaged in two seasons of theater productions in a year are eligible to petition for a semester’s grade and credit in the theater arts, which, in conjunction with this course, would fulfill both Stevenson’s one-year arts requirement and the “f” arts requirement for the UC and Cal State schools.

Have you ever wanted to be in a movie, television series, or commercial? Or direct one? This is the class for you! Whether you’re a new actor with a dream to be on screen, or a stage actor longing to transition to on-camera work, there are specific skills you will need to apply for the camera. Learn how the raising of an eyebrow can tell a story. And on the other side of the camera, discover how to communicate with the actor while maintaining your vision as a movie-maker. This class is designed to help you build a base of solid fundamentals in both acting and camera technique.

Advanced Acting

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

After becoming actors in Principles of Acting, students will grow into exhilarating and polished performers in Advanced Acting! Become an integral part of the Stevenson theater program by learning to create authentic characters in your own unique voice. Further your acting skills with the masters. Explore what is meant by “the method.” Let the practices of Konstantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, and Robert Cohen guide you. See how their techniques apply to the different styles of drama, including Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Restoration/Comedy of Manners, and Contemporary. Through various games, exercises, voice and speech work, you will continue to develop your actor’s creative imagination. The stage at Keck awaits you!

Technical Theater Design: Costumes & Scenes

Available To: all students
Schedule: one semester
Special Notes: This semester-long course has a yearlong option. If you choose to take only a semester, the course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the theater arts discipline.

Students discover design within the context of theater, and they develop an appreciation for the art of theatrical, costume and scenic design. Students can enroll for the fall semester or for the whole year. Second semester students will have greater parameters in designing their projects since concept continuity will be featured throughout the year. Students embrace the practice of bringing new ideas and fresh concepts to the same stories and they will participate in critiques (individual and group) with the goal of learning to constructively analyze both their own and peers’ work. There are no perquisites for admission to the course, nor summer assignments.

Theater Productions

Available to: all students

Afternoon Program

The afternoon Theater program meets the School’s afternoon commitment requirement and consists of three major productions each year: the fall play, the winter musical, and a spring play and/or senior showcase. It is a combined program consisting of the cast and crew for Stevenson’s theatrical productions. Any student wanting to act is welcome and encouraged to audition. These productions are ambitious and reinforce the curriculum taught in the acting classes. Theater Tech offers students a firsthand opportunity to learn and practice production-related aspects of a performance in costumes, lighting, props, scenic design, stage management, sound and technical direction. Students can participate in Theater and/or Theater Tech for any (or all) of the three sports seasons. Productions typically feature up to five performances (on consecutive weekends), before school and local community audiences in the School’s Keck Auditorium.

Ceramics 1

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the visual arts discipline.

This course introduces fundamental techniques behind ceramics and clay sculpture, including the potter’s wheel, glazing, firing, chemical properties and recycling of clay, and the process of bringing a piece from concept to completion.
Students have studio time, along with teacher demonstrations, to practice and develop technical skills to grow their creative expression. Through class critiques, students evaluate their work and analyze the work of others.

Ceramics 2

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

In this advanced class, students expand on foundational skills acquired in Ceramics 1, honing technical skills on the potter’s wheel and in advanced hand-building. Students develop their own creative style and showcase work with refined craftsmanship. Students work to create higher quality through advanced concepts, including pottery surface decoration with colored slips, sgraffito, textural application, and underglazes. Students create a portfolio of work and practice utilizing art vocabulary in group critiques, where they study, evaluate and interpret their own and others’ work.

Digital Art & Photography 1

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the visual arts discipline.

Students embrace the computer and the camera as their primary art tools in this introduction to digital photography and design, featuring Adobe Creative Suite® software program. Projects are designed to feature a complementary mix of teacher demonstrations with student collaboration and self-guided tutorials. Students develop a comfort level with using software (especially Photoshop® and Lightroom®), DSLR cameras, and color printers, as they manipulate digital photographs and learn the fundamentals of creative design. Students will learn how to direct, shoot, and edit using professional equipment and techniques. Ownership of an iPhone or equivalent with a fully functional camera is required. In addition, a digital SLR camera is recommended (the Canon EOS Rebel T6i at about $500 is one good choice).

Digital Art & Photography 2

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Students in Digital Art & Photo 2 may choose their focus: motion graphics & animation, or photography and photo manipulation. Motion graphics & animation students develop skills on state-of-the-art iMac computers as well as their own laptops equipped with the latest Adobe Creative Suite software programs. Drawing tablets with stylus pens are provided. Students will learn how to rig characters and animals in the first semester and later learn how to model in 3D. Photography & photo manipulation students will explore Lightroom and Photoshop to manipulate their images. Students spend a considerable amount of time viewing and discussing image quality and editing techniques. Local field trips will add valuable inspiration to student photographers and opportunities to explore nearby beautiful locations they might not otherwise find. Ownership of an iPhone or equivalent with a fully functional camera is required. In addition, a digital SLR camera is recommended (the Canon EOS Rebel T6i at about $500 is one good choice).

Darkroom Photography 1

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the visual arts discipline.

Students establish a foundation in working with 35mm film, gaining confidence in manual camera operation, changing film to reels, and darkroom developing and printing. In addition, students learn early alternative process techniques including building their own Camera Obscura, cyanotypes, and anthotypes. Hands-on class projects are supplemented with an introduction to the history of photography and the exploration of diverse image-making artists across the globe. The class culminates in an exhibition of student work. Ownership of an appropriate 35mm SLR film camera such as the Canon AE-1 or the Pentax K1000 is required.

Darkroom Photography 2

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

This is a second year program that features assignments designed to develop a sophisticated eye for seeing photographic imagery. In addition to gaining more control in 35mm film, advanced darkroom techniques are explored including solarization, Van Dyke Brown Printing, working with medium and large format film as well as scanning and editing digital negatives. Students organize a cohesive portfolio based on individual aesthetics with opportunities to exhibit work throughout the year. Ownership of an appropriate 35mm SLR film camera such as the Canon AE-1 or the Pentax K1000 is required.

AP Studio Art: Photography

Type: honors

Available to: qualified grade 11 and 12 students, see placement requirements above

Students develop a portfolio of work which, when completed and reproduced in digital form, will be submitted to the College Board. Students learn to practice independently beyond the classroom schedule, to have refined criteria for evaluating their work, and to aspire to the level of photographic expertise and sophistication of students enrolled in the first year of an art college curriculum. The course provides a format for serious photography students who wish to explore their potential for self-expression and technical development in the visual arts through the exploration of analog and digital photography. Assignments are designed to elicit both a wide variety of technical experimentation and photographic themes as well as to explore a single concept in-depth for the sustained investigation segment of the AP portfolio. Hands-on studio projects are interspersed with exploring diverse photographic techniques, and the work of practicing photographers across time and genres.

Drawing & 2D – 1

Available to: all students

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the visual arts discipline.

This beginning art class exposes students to the fundamentals of art. Students discover and explore the elements of art, the principles of design and the foundations of art history. Exploration in figure drawing, observational rendering, linear perspective and color theory are starting points for the student’s creativity. Through class critiques students evaluate their own work and analyze the work of others.

Drawing & 2D – 2

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

This hands-on studio class is for students interested in building advanced proficiency in drawing and painting as well as developing an individual aesthetic and conceptual understanding of art-making. Technical focus is placed on observational work, including traditional easel painting and drawing of classic motifs, such as still life, portraiture, and landscape. Mixed media projects explore contemporary real-world applications of art-making, including art as community building and collaboration, art as expression, art as communication and activism, art as documentation and preservation, and art as function. Students build portfolios and have the opportunity to engage in public installations of their work. Hands-on class projects are supplemented with an introduction to art history movements and the exploration of diverse image-making artists across the globe.

Art 2: Architecture

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Special Notes: This course is offered in alternate years, and is not available in 2022-2023. Watch for it in 2023-2024!

Through exploration and application of design techniques, students embrace the practice of architecture to develop awareness of this impactful aspect of our everyday lives. Students indulge in creative play with concept development, as they probe creative design as a potential college-level pursuit or career path. Students practice perspective drawing and apply the design process, from ideation thumbnails to drafting digital plans and hand-building models. Students consider the history of architecture and current innovations in environmentally conscientious planning. When possible, students take field trips that highlight homes and building projects in our area.

AP Studio Art: Drawing & 2D Design

Type: honors

Available to: all qualified grade 10, 11, and 12 students, see placement requirements above

A select group of students, chosen by the faculty for their demonstrated excellence in studio art, motivation and potential, prepare a portfolio for submission to the College Board in the spring. There is the potential for receiving college credit. This course is rigorous and is for committed art students, many of whom are considering college programs for study in a range of disciplines that may extend beyond drawing and painting— such as filmmaking, fashion, industrial design, and architecture. Working independently under faculty guidance, students are expected to produce a majority of work outside of class and they have access to the art studios during weekends and after school. Students create 20 total works to meet the AP portfolio requirements.

Making Movies 1

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Schedule: one semester

Special notes: This semester-long course has a yearlong option. If you choose to take only a semester, the course must be paired with another arts course before graduation in order to fulfill Stevenson’s diploma requirement. To fulfill the “f” arts admissions requirement for the UC and Cal State schools, the second course should also be in the visual arts discipline.
 

In this course, students learn how to create their own films, starting with bite-sized, attainable goals like 15 second movies without dialogue, as well as reports that can be transferred to their other courses. Students explore all the components of short documentary and narrative films—from concept development to post-production—and develop competence to create their
own projects from start to finish. Students learn strategies for creating compelling stories, and they screen films to study techniques and styles of noted filmmakers. Students work collaboratively to practice script writing; storyboarding; set, sound and lighting design; cinematography; directing; camera operation; and editing. Students try their hand at producing their own short documentary film. Ownership of an iPhone or equivalent with a fully functional camera is required. In addition, a digital SLR camera is recommended (the Canon EOS Rebel T6i at about $500 is one good choice).

Advanced Making Movies

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements above

Advanced Making Movies continues the process of developing documentary and narrative films initiated in Making Movies 1. This exceptionally fun class also helps students interested in pursuing filmmaking at the college and beyond. The course challenges students to work as a team to create projects, with an eye to potential submission to student film competitions, as well as for admission to competitive summer and college programs. After one year of Advanced Making Movies, students may choose to take the course again and focus on independently driven projects. For this course, students must demonstrate: (1) familiarity or proficiency in elements of movie production, including camera operation, editing software, and writing; and (2) an ability to work both independently and as a member of a crew. Summer program or other work before this class is highly recommended. An interview with the teaching faculty during course registration is required for entry, including the sharing of portfolio work. Ownership of an iPhone or equivalent with a fully functional camera is required. In addition, a digital SLR camera is recommended (the Canon EOS Rebel T6i at about $500 is one good choice).

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