Performing Arts

This course is designed to give students a comprehensive introduction to the art of film, and the technological medium of digital video, in numerous ways. Sampling various films, the class will first watch scenes from films of historical note, the first motion pictures ever made, and the most innovative films of the 20th century, to gain an understanding of film’s origins. Students will learn scene analysis, exploring the content in the scene, how it was made, and why the filmmakers made the choices they did. They will apply this method of analysis to different genres of film—documentary, narrative, and experimental—to build an understanding of each genre for their main project. After this introductory unit of screening and analysis, students will be tasked with creating their own short film of five to eight minutes, choosing from various formats to experience the filmmaking process firsthand. Instructional workshops on basic camerawork with the school’s cameras and basic editing on Adobe Premiere Pro will be provided. Students will create a shooting schedule, coordinate with their classmates, and manage the equipment they must use as they acquire skills in cinematography and editing. The films will be screened for the school community at the end of the semester, where students will speak to the public about their work.

Video is a medium that is growing in relevance every day. The better equipped Darrow students are with video recording and editing technology, and how to convey meaning and information with these tools, the more useful they will be in our changing world. In this course, students will spend time working as a team, as leaders of their peers, and as creative colleagues. They will learn valuable lessons about collaborative problem-solving and community spirit by having to complete a high-quality film. The screening of a film festival at the end of the year, for the school community and the public, teaches them the value of exhibition, and working together towards the greater good of pleasing the community.

Students in this course will work to improve their ensemble playing, as well as their individual musicianship. This group will work on standards, blues, and fusion, as well as contemporary and original compositions. On and off campus performances will be included.

Prerequisites: Musical experience required

Chorus is Darrow's vocal ensemble, which explores music from the Renaissance to modern pop, and from world music to original songs. Each member of the Darrow Chorus learns to read music and develop their voice for choral singing. Chorus members sing at various performances including school concerts, Miss Hall's Coordinate Concert, and other off-campus concerts.

Students will utilize state-of-the-art technology to create, compose, remix, and record music. We will learn programs including ProTools, Logic, and more.

In this course, students will analyze and explore numerous performance writers, styles, and contents. Each week students will build their writing skills while learning performance tools through a workshop-style classroom setting culminating, each final class, in a table reading of that week’s work. Throughout the semester, students will be required to read from a diverse collection of published plays representing different genres and playwrights. From the weekly writing prompts, students will have the opportunity to read and hear each other’s pieces during the Writer’s Workshop. Students will choose to focus on their own favorite original piece to present in a “staged reading” style for their original one-act final exam. Students will be encouraged to invite members outside the class to be a part of the audience. This course is cross-listed with English. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

Students will gain exposure to a broad spectrum of performance modes. Students will be examining performance behaviors in, ritual, play, spectacle, identity, everyday life, the arts, and performance history. Additionally, students will study different areas of performance studies (including storytelling, performance art, film, music, and dramaturgy), design/tech, and/or musical theater. Throughout the semester students will be delivering individual presentations focused on connecting to their own aesthetic. Projects combine written and performance elements to help students develop as scholar-practitioners.

Many of the foundational features of this course will explore, generally, the intersection of art and social change. Once reviewed, we will hone in on the particular role of music as a catalyst for change. Topics of exploration may include the following:

  • An inquiry into the philosophy of aesthetics. How does art impact us and how can our experiences with art transform ourselves and society at large?
  • An inquiry into the philosophy of civil society. What issues in contemporary life may be keeping us from coexisting peacefully?
  • An inquiry into the ways that arts can contribute to the public sphere and how art functions in a democracy.
  • An exploration into examples of artists and musicians who have contributed to social change through their art. (Polish violinist Huberman during the Holocaust).
  • An exploration into different NGOs (El Sistema, Musicians Without Borders) who believe in the power of music and the arts to bring about social change.
  • An inquiry into the distinguishing features of music as compared to the other arts.

Students will learn the essential elements and fundamentals in order to begin playing each instrument. This course is designed for any student who is seeking to explore performance techniques and basic music theory on guitar and piano. Although students can focus on guitar or piano, both instruments will be introduced to all students enrolled in this course. No prior experience is needed. Students will be able to use the guitars and keyboards in the Performing Arts Center, so no equipment is needed.

Do you have a story to tell? Say it through song. Students will learn effective and efficient techniques to explore the process of songwriting. This class will analyze existing songs, practice writing in different forms and styles, and have their work recorded in the Performing Arts Center studio. Music can be recorded by musicians other than the songwriter, as the focus of this class is on composition and not necessarily performance. At the conclusion of the course, students will have the ability to write music and lyrics in different styles and form. Students will be assigned to record their music and have a SoundCloud (or similar platform) page to post their work. Students will explore aspects of music theory, lyricism, poetry, as well as self-identity and awareness, through the process of songwriting.

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