Upper School Arts Electives
Barrack offers a broad variety of Upper School electives in Visual Art, Drama, and Music that encourage our students to discover, explore, and express their creative vision and talents, as well as develop a lifelong appreciation of the Arts. These electives are part of our students' daily schedules and provide opportunities for self-expression and effective communication in a number of realms.
Barrack students exercise mind, body, and spirit as they pursue their artistic interests, and they shine on stage and in a number of competitions and exhibits. Our theatre students not only present five professional level productions each year, but also win Cappies (the equivalent of the Tony Awards for high school students). Our Middle and Upper School students win top awards in the Annual Delaware Valley Mordechai Anielewicz Arts Competition, and our singers and musicians are eligible to participate in county and state-wide choirs, bands, and orchestras.
Drama: TV’s Greatest Moments (Grades 9 or 10)
This course focuses on the Golden Age of Television and looks at the family unit and the role of women as seen through the eyes of the different television genres. Students will also look at the development and invention of the television by Philo Farnsworth in 1925 to the development of broadcast television and technological breakthroughs that continue to reshape the medium.
Drama: Acting and Directing 101 (Grades 9 or 10)
This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of basic acting and monologue preparation, using improvisation and acting exercises. One of the most important aspects of the course is the exploration of self. What makes you, you? The actor must understand himself or herself in order to portray a role truthfully. Using scenes and ten-minute plays, students will be guided through the basics of directing, casting a role, guiding actors through a performance and using the acting space effectively.
Drama: Acting in Musical Theatre (all Upper School)
A music/theatre course that combines the basic principles of acting and proper singing technique for the musical theatre culminating in a performance final. Students will rehearse and learn scenes and songs from classic and contemporary musicals.
Drama: Movie Musical Madness (Grades 11 or 12)
Students will explore the movie musical genre and how these films reflected the times when they were made. Students will also write critiques of the films watched by considering the strengths and weaknesses of the movie, director interpretation, and effective storytelling.
Drama: Musical Comedy Tonight (Grades 11 or 12)
This elective explores The American Musical and its unique fusion between drama and music that became especially important during the 20th century. Musical Comedy Tonight traces the origins of musical theatre from its 18th century European roots through its transformation in 19th century America, and its relation to American popular forms of entertainment as the minstrel show, burlesque, vaudeville, revues and the Ziegfield Follies.
Music: Upper School Vocal Ensemble (all grades)
Upper School Vocal Ensemble is a vocal music ensemble for students interested in group
vocal music. Students will be required to study music independently and attend rehearsals with music memorized and learned outside of rehearsal. Rehearsals will focus on vocal techniques, ensemble work, and performance preparation.
Music and Visual Art: Music and Art, Practice and Theory: Creating Art and Early Man (Grades 9 or 10)
Through readings, lectures, presentations and experiential studio work in Art and Music,
students will develop a deep understanding of major music and art events, composers, artists and performers and relate them to major world events throughout the ages.
Trimester 1- Creating Art and Early Man: Prehistoric Era, Early Greece , Tribal Cultures, Mayan / Mexican Arts and Art Forms of India.
Trimester 2- Developing Cultural Identity Through Artistic Expression: The Renaissance, Early American, Dutch 15th Century, Chinese Art, and European 18th Century Art
Trimester 3- The Pulse of the Contemporary Artist: New Primitives/Folk Art, Art of Japan, Industrialization, Mid-20th Century and Art of Today
Music: Musical Awareness and Appreciation (Grades 9 or 10)
According to Webster’s Dictionary, Appreciation in regards to the arts has to do with a sensitive awareness. In music appreciation, all students will be educated in the basic fundamentals of music and how to be aware of them in the music of today’s (and yesterday’s) world. Students do not need to have a musical background in order to succeed in class, but all students must have a general interest in the topic and a desire to learn.
Music: Music Comprehension (Grades 9 or 10)
This course is a study of music theory as applied to the musical composers who “created” the rules. Through in-depth analysis of musical styles, students will discuss and relate current trends in inventions, politics, and medicine to what was being brought forth to the public world musically. This course is encouraged for students who have a basic music knowledge either through private lessons or successfully completing Music Understanding in the Middle School.
Music: Vocal Harmonization (Grades 9 or 10)
This class prepares students for successful understanding of the voice as well as participation in select vocal ensembles. Classes emphasize score study, music theory, rhythmic skills, solo and ensemble singing, proper singing techniques, and concerts. Students will gain a greater understanding of group commitment, increase their creative abilities, become more self-confident, and develop a lifelong appreciation of music.
Music: Psychology of Music (all grades)
Studies indicate that music can have profound physical and psychological effects not only on people but also on animals and plants. In this elective, students will research, analyze, and discuss the following questions: Why are some sounds perceived as pleasant to some cultures and unpleasant to others? Why do some people study better with music in the background and some do not? Is the Mozart effect real? Why do infants and toddlers have a natural instinct regarding music? Can music create violence in a group of people?
Music: Songwriting (Grades 11 or 12)
This course is an in-depth study of some of the greatest songwriters and lyrics ever written. Students will tke lyrics from singer/songwriters and through a careful analysis of the type of writing and style of each given songwriter/song, they will write their own lyrics/song based on such. Comparisons will be made between the poetry/short stories and lyrics written at similar times in history. Students do not need to be able to read music though students that are able will be encouraged to include melody writing to their lyrics.
Visual Art: Art Skills (Grades 9 or 10)
In this course, students will use both two and three-dimensional media to create work that has roots in a particular technique or art concept. Projects will cover a few idea areas simultaneously, to allow for a rich and encompassing art experience. The course can be taken repeatedly, as its content will vary.
Visual Art: Decorative Crafts (Grades 9 or 10)
Students will work on developing dexterity and design sensibilities through creating a variety of craft pieces. Beading, needlework, collage and mosaic work will be explored through the course.
Visual Art: Printmaking (Grades 9 or 10)
Simple but effective printmaking processes will be explored in this course. Stamping, block printing, reductive printing and using natural and found objects will all be areas of exploration.
Visual Art: Understanding the Many Forms of Art (Grades 9 or 10)
Each class meeting will explore a different historical time period in art or a particular art-making method employed over a wide expanse of time. This will be a discussion-based course where viewing images will most often be the class starting point. This is not a "studio" class – but an open mind and a love of art is required!
Visual Art: Painting (Grades 9 or 10)
Students in this course will use basic still life set ups and color studies as the starting point of learning painting basics. The focus of the course will be on observational work, although some abstract projects will be explored as well.
Visual Art: Ceramics (Grades 11 or 12)
Hand-built pottery forms, tile work, and wheel throwing will be covered in this course. Students will learn to work with clay in a variety of “wet” and “dry” stages. The use of glazes and underglazes for finishing will be covered as well.
Visual Art: Mosaics (Grades 11 or 12)
Students will use both ceramic and glass as primary materials for mosaic pieces. Students will explore both direct tile setting as well as indirect working and will create a tile panel in addition to a three dimensional mosaic covered project.
Laura Lyn Stern Department Chair