Although we are not a conservatory, Community High’s courses in the arts are considered “core” classes, and are required and weighted in the same way as those in other disciplines. We consider the arts to be vital to an engaged citizenry, and essential to the development of full mastery of other subjects, to self-exposition and critical thinking.
Creative Writing In this course students will explore the craft of writing, while experiencing the reciprocal relationships between writing, reading, publication and discourse. They will engage with a variety of literary forms, genres, and methodological approaches to develop their technical versatility and their understanding of the practice of writing on a fundamental level. Simultaneously, they will explore the social and ethical dimensions of literary practice. Students will be expected to write several hours’ worth of text per week, and to be reading at least one book of fiction, poetry, or other ‘non-factual’ text throughout the semester. They will be expected read each other’s work most weeks, and discuss it with sensitivity and detail. Other sessions will be devoted to in-class writing activities, writing games and experiments, and discussions on literary issues or technique, in which substantial participation is also expected. Following each assignment, they will collaborate to edit and produce a chapbook of their work for distribution within the school community, culminating in a perfect-bound anthology at the end of the year. During 2nd Semester, regional and visiting writers will be invited to discuss their practice and participate in workshopping.
Dance This class will focus on hip-hop dance and expressive movement set to the current moment. Each student will be charged with allowing their inner life to be made visible through movement and sound. Emphasis will be placed on each participants mind/body as well as flexibility, which will enable a greater understanding and appreciation for the physiology of a dance workout comprised of aerobics, muscle strengthening, and interval training. Students will be provided with beginner working knowledge of Hip Hop/contemporary dance. At the completion of this course, the student should be able to demonstrate basic skills of Hip Hop Dance and follow instructions given by instructor as skill sequences are developed.
Film History: The American Studio System This semester in Film History, we will be focusing on how the U.S. film industry came to be and how it took a big hit in the sixties. Using Robert Sklar’s Movie-made America, the student will consider the power of the industry and how it has shaped certain films and in turn how technology and theory progressed the business of film. They will also examine the impact the industry had on the larger culture and how television began to erode this influence. In all, the student will walk away with the ebbs and flows of the business of cinema through the slight demise of Hollywood’s reign.
Film Production Film Production concentrates on student vision and desire to create filmic material. We use student created pieces to spark lectures and discussions on knowledge needed to obtain said product. The student will gain an immense amount of hands on learning as well as theory to better shape their understanding of how cinema is made. At the end of the year students should be able to display a competency with equipment and an understanding of positions, genres, motifs, and the running of a shoot.
Music Theory This course provides an overview of Western music theory. Through close tutorial, students will master the basics of harmony and composition. The majority of students will be musicians, but musicianship is not required; this class is meant to augment performative instruction.
Performance Band Students will study ensemble performance by choosing material, charting material, rehearsing and performing in a musical ensemble, using core rock/jazz instrumentation: drums, electric bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard and a vocals. Lyric sheets, notation, tablature, audio recordings, video recordings, and relevant historical data relating to the writing, the era, or the recording of a particular song are used to research how to best arrange, rehearse and perform. We will also encounter popular music history organically, and benefit from periodic master classes by musicians touring the area. The year culminates with a professional recording session.
Physical Education The physical education block includes weight training, cardio, injury prevention and proper form. The course and fitness center is designed and equipped to train students on properly gaining strength and endurance. The weight training will incorporate fitness activities focused on building muscle strength and endurance. Strengthening activities will work all the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, chest, abdominals, shoulders, and arms. These strengthening activities include lifting weights, push-ups, sit-ups, and working with resistance bands. Endurance activities will be limited to some aerobic exercise such as jogging running or walking and sports related activities such as swimming, basketball and soccer. Repetition and equipment usage will vary based upon desired outcome and benefits. At the completion of this course, the student should be able to: Develop or improve individual muscle strength and endurance, understand and or explain the benefits of weight training and general health, and perform and create an individual strength/endurance workout for themselves.
Poetry and Poetics In this course, students will explore the craft and theory of poetry while experiencing the reciprocal relationships between writing, reading, publication, and discourse. As both readers and writers, they will explore a wide range of poetic practices and traditions, from the ancient to the contemporary and the conventional to the experimental. They will engage with a variety of verse forms, genres, and processes to develop their technical versatility and their understanding of language, rhythm, sound and thought on a fundamental level. Simultaneously, they will explore the social, ethical, psychological and philosophical dimensions of literary practice. They will be expected to read work by their peers and by other poets each week, and discuss it with sensitivity and detail. Other sessions will be devoted to in-class writing activities, writing games and experiments, and other discussions in which substantial participation is also expected. The class will regularly publish their work to the school community in a periodical chapbook.
Studio Protocol This class is a foundational introduction to the guidelines and procedures to be used in studio arts classes. The term “protocol” in the case of this class refers more to the development of a plan to carry out a project rather than a formal and strict set of rules. Throughout this year-long course, students will compile their own guidelines and proper procedures to aid them in the uses of a variety of artistic techniques. Students will be graded based on the frequency and reliability with which they complete projects in a safe and orderly manner.
Theater Production A yearlong course, tackling production activities in the manner of a professional theater company. As we will be mounting two productions, students will be expected to tackle assigned roles, learn lines in a timely manner, work as a member of the artistic ensemble and assist with production values when needed. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to participate in the ESU (English Speaking Union) Shakespeare Competition. Theater Production is an immersion of theater styles, production and an exploration of each student’s potential as an actor or as a production specialist (props, lighting, costumes, set construction, marketing and more). Students will have an opportunity to explore how professional artists express their ideas and practice their craft by attending workshops as well as exploring theater offerings at area colleges and professional theater throughout the year.
Writing Comics In Writing Comics students will take on the disciplines of writing, penciling, inking and lettering serial visual narrative forms, otherwise known as comics. Lectures on character design, world-building, scripting, observational drawing, narrative, flow and the interaction of words and images will help students engage the unique aesthetic and formal qualities of the medium, applying them in their own work. This class emphasizes analog craftsmanship, micro-publishing, collaboration, experimentation, and making the best with an economy of means. Working primarily in collaborative teams, students will produce five comics throughout the semester.