Junior and Senior Seminars

Although many of their courses take place at the University, juniors and seniors view the Academy building as their educational home. Upperclassmen may stay connected to BUA by electing to take a semester-long or year-long seminar. Taught by Academy faculty, the seminars vary from year to year and offer students an in-depth study in a variety of different disciplines.

Junior & Senior Visual Art Seminars

These electives are open to juniors and seniors.

This studio course is for highly motivated students who have had prior training in art. Instruction is focused on observational study, the refinement of technique, and the formal elements of art and composition. Students will have the opportunity to explore a variety of media including graphite, charcoal, conte crayon, ink, watercolors, acrylics, and clay. They will be encouraged to utilize the Art Studio outside of class time, to advance their work and develop a portfolio.

Students will work on a selective group of 2D projects designed to build and/or round out their art portfolios. Learner-centered projects will reflect student-driven content and media. Selected portfolio works must demonstrate clear understanding of 2D design concepts, careful planning, strong composition, and thoughtful execution. 2D design issues may include, but are not limited to: Unity, Variety, Rhythm, Proportion, Scale, Balance, Emphasis, Contrast, Repetition, and Figure Ground Relationships.

Junior & Senior Performing Art Seminars

Students are asked to analyze Shakespeare from the standpoint of literary criticism, but how does a performing artist approach the Bard’s work? Does an academic approach the work differently from an actor or director? Where do their respective approaches differ or coincide? How does Shakespeare’s biography and knowledge of his era affect performing his work? What unique skills are required to act in a verse drama as compared to a contemporary work? These are the kind of questions we explore in this yearlong course. Students will prepare and perform a sonnet and monologue in class and perform in an end-of-year ASM. Suggested reading will include: Russ McDonald’s Bedford Companion to Shakespeare, John Barton’s Playing Shakespeare, and Thinking Shakespeare by Barry Edelstein.

This year-long course is divided into two parts:

Exploration: The first semester will focus on the mechanics of reading music, from identifying pitches in all clefs, to rhythmic training, intervallic analysis and identification, and 17th and 18th century harmony and part-writing. We will examine the chorales and works of Bach and other Baroque composers from an analytical perspective in order to sharpen our own theoretical and harmonic skills, as well as to gain greater perspective on and knowledge of the Common Era aesthetic.

Application and Analysis: The second semester will be spent analyzing some of the greatest works of the tonal era from a variety of perspectives including, among others, theoretical, harmonic, motivic, and compositional approaches. In addition, students will try their hand at composition in a variety of basic forms and styles, culminating in a final project: either the analysis of a work of their choosing, or the composition of a new work.

Throughout both semesters, students will be exposed to various types and styles of Western Art Music, the history thereof, and a multitude of different theoretical, compositional, and analytical approaches.

Want to know how to transpose anything perfectly the first time? Want to never be confused by a rhythm again? Want to be able to sight-sing a new piece without hearing it first? Want to be able to read an orchestral score and know what it sounds like without a recording? This year-long course teaches the advanced musicianship skills needed in the professional musical world. The curriculum is based on the musicianship courses taught at The Juilliard School, The Paris Conservatory, and Fontainebleau, the conservatories responsible for training such musicians as Stravinsky, Copland, Ravel, Bernstein, Rachmaninov, and Debussy. These musical techniques have been passed down, virtually unchanged since the early 17th century (yes, Bach learned these, too!). Skills taught will include but are not limited to solfège, sight-singing, clef reading, rhythm performance, score reading, transposition, canonic improvisation, keyboard harmony, conducting, and poly-rhythmic cognition. While the ability to read music will be helpful, it is not necessary, as we will be re-learning the correct way to read in the first week or two.

Students will take independent lessons in musical composition on a weekly basis. In addition, class meetings with all enrolled students will be held to discuss important compositional concepts, explore contemporary repertoire, and meet and interact with guest composers from the Boston area who will present their music and lecture on a topic of their choosing.

This course will explore the genre of opera, from its origins in Medieval Liturgical Drama through more recent works by living composers. The music will be approached in social, musicological, historical, and compositional contexts, and students will be watching several operas (on DVD or other media) over the course of the year. There may also be opportunities to go to the opera in Boston or New York. Specific operatic eras will include, among others, Baroque Opera (Purcell, Monteverdi, and Handel), Classical Opera (Mozart, Salieri, and Rossini), Bel Canto (Donizetti, Verdi, Bellini), Wagnerian Opera, the Romantics and Post-Romantics (Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Debussy), and New Operatic Perspectives (Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Bernstein, Floyd, Corigliano).

Junior Research Seminars

Students with interest and aptitude in science may enroll in STEM. The class explores research science at Boston University and in the surrounding area. Students read and discuss research articles, then meet the investigators and tour the various research labs. In the spring, they choose a lab for a hands-on rotation and training session to set-up for a six-week summer research experience. The goal is that this summer research will lead to the basis of the senior thesis. For 11s only.

Students with interest and aptitude in the humanities may enroll in HAL.  In this Junior Research Seminar, students will further develop skills needed to conduct a high-level research project. University professors will share their approach to research, and students will utilize the various libraries at the University. Students will develop a research plan and a bibliography for their Senior Thesis. For 11s only.