Performing Arts

BUA students are required to enroll in either a visual or performing arts course during grades nine and ten. Curricular arts courses are listed below. Additionally, students may continue their study of visual and performing arts through coursework at the University, through participation in Junior/Senior Arts Seminars, as well as through clubs including Gallery Hoppers, Art Club, Photography Club, Film Club, Chamber Ensemble, and after-school Chorus and Drama Club.

This course is an intensive year-long course that focuses on all aspects of theatrical performance including acting technique, theater studies, movement, character development, and stage combat. Students will prepare and perform scenes for an in-class performance and produce a ten-minute play festival at the end of the year. Enrollment in this class is not a prerequisite for after-school drama.

This course is a continuation ofthe drama sequence and open to students who took DR25 in ninth grade. Students will create an ensemble work based on stories found in the media. The tasks students will be asked to perform include: research on the topic, writing monologues and scenes from group improvisations, edit their written material into a final script, design and construct a set, stage, and perform the piece for the student body.

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.

In this course, students will prepare for both the winter and spring performances. Students need not have experience with singing as the class will review techniques for all voice ranges. Repertoire will be from a variety of eras, genres, and styles.

In this course, students will prepare for both the winter and spring performances. Students should already have proficiency with an instrument. The pieces selected will depend upon the instruments played by the students enrolled. Repertoire will be from a variety of eras, genres, and styles.

Jazz Band will focus primarily on learning and performing works from a variety of jazz styles including swing, latin, funk, acid, cool, hot, and free jazz, among others. A large portion of the class will be devoted to studying and understanding jazz theory so as to aid in improvisation, phrasing, and ensemble playing. In addition, the class will frequently listen to and discuss the jazz greats (and not-so-greats) from throughout the last 120 years in an effort to clarify and improve jazz technique and ability. The only prerequisite for the class is that you can read music. Any instruments or vocal types are welcome, but we will be in particular need of piano, guitar, bass, and drums to form the core of the ensemble.

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).