Fine and Performing Arts Courses

Requirements: All students are required to take one quarter of Music Appreciation and one quarter of Art Appreciation during Freshman Year. Sophomores are required to take a semester course in either art or music and may elect another semester course in Performing Arts.

Fine Arts

Art I 

This beginning course will explore a variety of visual art media. The course is designed to expose the student to art elements, principles and styles through art projects that promote problem solving, risk taking, team work and creativity. Each student will have the opportunity to express herself through two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects in drawing, painting, mixed media, and sculpture. Rubrics are introduced. Critiques are conducted. (Grade 9) (Course # 8161)

Art II 

This course will take a multi-cultural approach to the questions: What is Art? Why do we create art? Students will expand their voice, style and growth as artists through the exploration and investigation of various mediums, such as printmaking, painting and three-dimensional materials. Their understanding of the versatility of materials will increase their technical proficiency and enhance their visual expression. Students will learn to become better visual communicators and critical thinkers through theme based projects, as well as regular in-class critiques and written reflections. Limited to 14 students. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8261)


Students will experience drawing through a formal approach of learning “to see.” Emphasis will be placed on developing the students’ perceptual abilities by drawing from life such as still-life and figural drawings, as well as drawing from memory. Skills and techniques taught in drawing include contours, space, relationships, lights & shadows, and proportions. Students will explore a variety of media and be responsible for sketchbook assignments. There will be six to seven major projects per quarter based on rubrics as well as smaller units. Students will participate in critiques. Limited to 14 students. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8271)


Students gain confidence and technical skills in the acrylic paint medium through the exploration of still life, landscape and observational studies. Emphasis is placed on the formal elements of art, particularly the use of line, value and color to create the illusion of space and light. Traditional and experimental painting techniques, including monochromatic painting, under-painting, glazing and optical mixing are covered. All students are expected to complete a variety of representational and expressive paintings, based on rubrics and grounded in art historical styles, resulting in the completion of a final painting portfolio. Regular in-class group critiques provide essential feedback for optimum artistic growth throughout the semester. Limited to 10 students. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8861)

Color and Design 

The understanding of the complexities of color is essential for any artist. This course is for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who wish to become more proficient in the use and mixing of color. Color Theory will be addressed in relation to color mixing and optical blending as well as color comparisons, relations, and interactions. Students will become skilled in color matching and mixing through a variety of problem-based projects in painting and drawing media. Composition and fashion/jewelry design will be addressed. Six major projects based on rubrics are required. Students will participate in group critiques as well as color-related experiments. Limited enrollment.  (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8361)

Graphic Arts 

Visual literacy is essential to success in the modern world. Students will be introduced to the visual language of commercial graphic design in this course. By solving a series of problems, students will explore the areas of typography, color theory, layout design, package design, illustration and advertising. Projects include designing a logo, business card, greeting card and point-of-sale unit. Traditional manual rendering techniques, including calligraphy and illustration, as well as Adobe Photoshop CS6 software will be introduced. The sharing and “selling” of ideas and creative problem solving will be stressed in class through group discussions and critiques. This class meets in the state-of-the-art Mac Lab. Enrollment is limited to 16 students.  (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8361)

Studio Art I - Honors 

This course is for juniors intending to pursue a career, or serious course of study in Fine Arts at the college level. While focusing on the creation and development of their artist’s portfolio, students will gain increased proficiency in the use of a variety of drawing, painting, collage, and printmaking media. Oil-painting will be introduced. Emphasis will be placed on drawing and painting from close observation of still life, nature, and the human form. By completing a series of projects, students will explore a variety of topics and themes, including the influence of contemporary artists and art theory on “making art.” Group critiques and weekly creative sketchbook assignments are required. Students must have proficient drawing and painting skills prior to entering. The ability to work independently without constant supervision is essential for success in this course. Limited Enrollment. (Grade 11 or 12) (Course # 8362)


AP Studio Art - 2D Design/Drawing

This intensive version of Studio Art II is designed for the serious advanced art student who intends to pursue a course of study in Fine Arts at the college level and create a portfolio which fulfills the requirements of the AP Studio Art Exam. Students will further develop their skills in 2-D media, an understanding of formal and conceptual relationships, and their identity as an artist. Concurrent with Studio Art II Honors, this course emphasizes the conceptual and technical problems proposed by the AP Studio Art exam. This exam requires the completion of 25 art pieces, 12 of which must be based on a chosen concentration (theme). Students will participate in both formal and informal group critiques and complete written reflections about their work. Students must commit to independent study, experimentation and innovation without constant supervision. In addition to class, students must commit to four independent lab periods per cycle, when the instructor is not accessible for personal help. This class is responsible for painting the mural and mounting the annual Art Show. Limited enrollment. (Grade 12) (Course # 8474)

Art History - Advanced Placement 

This course is designed to give students a rigorous introductory college level course in art history from the early civilization to the postmodern era. The course will provide an understanding and knowledge of architecture, sculpture, painting and other art forms within diverse historical and cultural contexts. In the course, students examine and critically analyze major forms of artistic expression from the past and the present from a variety of cultures. Art History emphasizes understanding works in context, considering such issues as patronage, gender, and the function and effects of works of art. Course textbooks are the current edition of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages and Barron’s AP Art History. Course requirements include daily preparation for class discussions and quizzes, tests, essays, one museum trip each quarter, and a class field trip to a major museum in the spring. Limited enrollment. Priority is given to seniors. (Grade 11 or 12) (Course # 8464)

Photography I 

This introductory digital photography course is designed to teach students basic camera and post-editing techniques, while expanding their voices as artists through this medium. Students will become proficient with understanding the camera functions and using Adobe Photoshop CS6 in processing final digital images and professional artist-quality prints. Projects will be based on technical and theme-based projects. During the semester, students will cultivate their eye for composition and various subject matter. Projects are based on rubrics and regular in-class critiques are implemented. This class meets in the state-of-the-art Mac Lab. Limited to 16 students. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 6711)

Photography II 

This course continues to explore the digital medium as an art form with the emphasis placed upon individual growth. Students will further explore composition and their aesthetic sensibilities in the theme-based projects. Students will use Adobe Photoshop CS6 to post-edit their photos. The class will also explore different alternative processes with the digital and technological equipment. This class meets in the state-of-the-art Mac Lab. Limited to 16 students. (Grade 11 or 12) (Course # 6721)

Digital Design

Make beautiful pictures with the click of your mouse! This course emphasizes the development of technical skills in Adobe Photoshop software through a variety of design, technology and art-related projects. Students gain mastery in a variety of Photoshop tools and applications, including tools and palettes for drawing, painting and making selections, manipulating layers, creating borders, masks, filters and the integration of text and graphics for print production. All projects incorporate creative problem-solving, personal expression, the exploration of art-related themes and written reflections. New digital techniques, including overprinting, scanning and photo-retouching will also be addressed. Students will have the opportunity to manipulate their own digital photographs in projects. All coursework will result in a final digital portfolio. 3-D Printing Technology will be practiced and analyzed in conjunction with original designs, such as jewelry and architecture, in Google SketchUp. Limited to 16 students per section. This course fulfills the graduation requirements for fine and performing arts. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 7801)

Performing Arts  

Music Appreciation 

What makes music, music? Just as you need certain ingredients to make your favorite food, so you need certain ingredients to create a piece of music. These ingredients are the elements of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, tone color, texture and form. They are the musical concepts that the students will experience and study through listening exercises and hands-on musical composition. (Grade 9) (Course # 8101)

Academy Orchestra 

This is a performance course which provides woodwind, brass, percussion, and string students the opportunity to rehearse, study and perform a variety of classic and contemporary orchestral literature. Students wishing to enroll in this course must have basic performance skills on their instrument and must participate in all Academy Orchestra performances. (Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8911)

Musical Theater 

The Musical Theater course is a survey of various types of musicals, their origin and content. Consideration of composers, lyricists, choreographers and authors, as well as all the people responsible for the final production will be examined. Individual musicals will be reviewed and analyzed. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8811)

Theater Arts I 

Students will begin developing understandings, skills, and enjoyment of the performing arts. This course will help the beginning actor and non-theater student create believable characters using improvisation, imagination, and observation in non-scripted scenes. Exercises using the body and voice as a means of communication will be used in order to create subtext, create character objectives, discover character motivation, and create truthful relationships during scene work. Play attendance is required every semester. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8821)

Theater Arts II 

Continues development of skills acquired in Theater Arts I. Helps students develop believable characters while working on acting exercises and duet scenes from contemporary dramatic literature. Actors are also introduced to acting in period plays. The development of monologues for audition purposes is introduced. Play attendance is required every semester. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8831)

Music Theory 

Students will study the building blocks of music. Using both written and aural skills, students will learn to analyze key signatures, modes, melodies, intervals and chord progressions using traditional four part writing practices. Musicianship skills such as dictation, sight-singing and keyboard skills will be included. Students will also study the use of form. These skills will be expanded through the course to include more complex music and the creation of student compositions. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8881)

Theater Arts - Independent Study

Exploration and analysis of topics within the theater arts discipline to meet individual student-defined course description, goals and objectives. Student must be able to meet with instructor at least three days within an eight day cycle. Independent Study must be approved. (Grade 12) (Course # 8891)

Instrumental Music Lessons 

Instrumental Music Lessons 

Students will learn the skills involved in playing a musical instrument. Small group lessons are given on a pull-out basis. Instruction is offered on the following instruments: Woodwinds (clarinet, flute, oboe, saxophone), Brass (trumpet, trombone, French horn), Strings (violin, viola, cello, string bass), and Percussion. Students participating in the Academy Orchestra who are not studying privately are encouraged to register for this class. Participation in the Academy Orchestra is required for all students enrolled in lessons. No instruments are provided by the Academy. Students must rent their own instruments. (Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8901)


Humanities – Honors
 (Middle College Program) 

Humanities is the study of art, music, theater, dance, architecture and literature primarily to develop a cultural awareness through several historical periods. Prerequisite: In general, one year of Fine and Performing Arts at the college preparatory level. Note: This course fulfills the one year Humanities graduation requirement. This course is equivalent to a freshman level humanities college course. Students enrolled in this course are eligible to earn college credits from Fairleigh Dickinson University Middle College Program. Separate online registration in September is required through FDU. (Grade 11 or 12) (Course # 8452)


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