The Performing Arts Department encourages students to explore the world of artistic performance as a means of communication and expression. The program is designed to address the individual potential of the emerging artist within a collaborative ensemble united in vision. Students cultivate their passion for the creative and intellectual pursuit of artistry in areas including dance, drama, vocal and instrumental music and stage technology. The faculty takes pride in mentoring individuals and conducting process-oriented curricula, with goals of instilling performance discipline and nurturing student exploration and discovery. As technique and skills develop, we challenge and celebrate each ensemble through many performance opportunities, including instrumental and choral concerts, dance productions, and theatrical performances in the middle and high school, both on campus and in the greater community. Through master classes and field trips, the program engages Los Angeles’ plentiful offerings to supplement an enriching and expansive experience.
Dance Course Descriptions
Art—7th Grade (Dance)
This class emphasizes the continued development of skill and technique in various dance styles such as jazz, ballet, hip-hop and modern/contemporary. Students also learn and discuss dance history and development and the influence of dance in our modern-day culture. In addition, students explore improvisation and choreography individually and in groups. Eighth-grade dance students are required to perform in either the Winter Dance Concert or the Spring Dance Concert.
Dance I, II, & III
The Dance I, II, and III courses are divided by skill level, with students auditioning into placement prior to enrollment. If no specific placement is desired and/or students have little to no previous dance experience, the student will be placed into Dance I, an introductory level. All classes focus on a variety of styles and techniques, including hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and more. The courses involve creative movement and the exploration of weight, space, effort and time, as well as dance history, choreography and improvisation. Students learn from guest teachers and take professional-level classes in the Los Angeles area. Each student has the opportunity to incorporate his or her own style, rhythms and music. Students in all classes are required to choreograph and perform dances in the winter and spring dance concerts.
The Dance Company follows the same principles as the Dance I through III courses, but at a higher intensity and investment. The Dance Company focuses on an advanced level of technical training, as well as a specific concentration on choreography. Students will also take professional-level classes outside of the classroom setting and may have works created for them by outside choreographers. Students who audition and are accepted into the Dance Company class will also be asked to perform at school events such as the Family Barbecue and Admissions Open House, as well as have the opportunity to dance at local concerts and festivals.
Drama Course Descriptions
Art—7th Grade (Drama)
Seventh Grade Drama introduces students to life onstage and all the imaginative possibilities that lie within. The class addresses introductory concepts such as personal presentation, projection, movement and more, all with the goal of boosting confidence in front of an audience. Students discover their own avenues for expressing themselves and learn the tools used to effectively communicate a story. Through theater games, a variety of scripts and assorted exercises, students develop characters and learn to deliver performance in a fun and supportive environment.
Eighth Grade Drama is a further exploration of concepts presented in the 7th grade, with an additional emphasis on production. In the first quarter, students focus on acting technique needed for performance and apply it to improvised and scripted exercises. Additionally, students have an opportunity to learn the production components (such as lighting, sound, directing and more) involved in creating a show. Together the class produces a short play for public presentation and celebration of their achievements.
Drama explores the world of theatre through many facets including acting technique, scene study, drama history, production elements and more. What is theater? How does the art form represent life? What role does it play in present society? The class dives into historical worlds and draws connections to our contemporary perspectives. Through improvisation, observation, character development and performance technique, the actor brings to life stories that are diverse and engaging. The course also examines the technical side of theatrical production, including space, lights, sound, makeup and more.
The Advanced Drama course focuses on the individual actor’s artistry by exploring different acting techniques including Method Acting, Meisner Technique and more. As a class, we strive to capture the present moment as an impetus for all stage life within a given reality and also to examine emotional response as a basis for action. Through studying the artist’s process, students build a foundation for performance and develop an individual technique via diverse styles of scene study performance, acting fundamentals exercises, storytelling and improvisation. Over the course of the year, the student discovers his or her own approach towards developing and portraying characters onstage within a collaborative atmosphere.
Drama 3 is designed to empower students to create their own performance pieces. As a class, we step back to examine theater as a form for artistic expression: image, composition, arc, balance and the intersections of philosophies. What is considered theater? What is art? What is entertainment? From studying compositional theory and style, the class learns tools needed for adaptation to initiate the process of originating work. Students analyze the many ways to tell a story using spoken word, music and movement within different forms, including devised work, site-specific work and performance art. As the year progresses students explore the question of what story they want to tell. The course culminates in an original show of the students’ own devising.
Drama 4 is an amalgamation and application of theater training accrued over the years at Prep. The class breaks ground as a new production company, complete with a mission statement and personnel roles to fulfill. The class’s primary objective is to cast, direct and produce different works for public performance at the end of each semester. Students analyze a script’s presented world and propose aesthetic and artistic choices with consideration of the practical and logistical implications involved with production. It is a student-driven project that pushes individual acting technique, dramaturgical inquiry and perseverance towards actualizing a major goal. Each student is an active ensemble member, artist and visionary.
Vocal Music Course Descriptions
Art—7th Grade (Music)
In 7th Grade Vocal Music, students discover the unique joy and satisfaction that comes from creating music with other people. The class gives an introduction to the fundamentals of music theory, including basic notation of music and rhythm. We develop an appreciation for music and connect it to everyday life by gaining familiarity with diverse musical styles, cultures and historical periods, including American popular music, Western classical music and world music. Students learn basic vocal skills through ensemble singing with an emphasis on correct posture, breathing and proper vocal technique in order to gain self confidence and ease.
Eighth Grade Chorus students participate in a fun and supportive environment to further pursue an interest in singing and making music with others. The singers continue to develop knowledge of the elements of music and proper vocal technique, with emphasis placed on two-part and three-part singing of a variety of musical styles and genres. Students focus on understanding the changing voice and the development of a good choral sound, as well as critical listening, ear-training and sight-reading skills. The class frequently combines with the Eighth Grade Instrumental Music class to collaborate on special class projects, performances and recordings.
Flintridge Singers - Chorus
Vocal Music explores the wonders of choral/vocal music through a dedicated choir composed of talented singers from grade levels 9-12 aspiring towards various performances offered throughout the year. Students learn how to musically express themselves by focusing on skills such as breathing, posture, articulation, diction and applying them to pieces rehearsed in class. Members of the choir may experience a repertoire ranging from early Renaissance to present day, celebrating the art of music both as an ensemble and as soloists. The cumulative work is presented at the Winter and Spring Music Concerts as well as at performances within the local community.
Vocal Ensemble – Advanced Chorus
Vocal Ensemble is an advanced chamber choral ensemble for students in grades 9-12 who have some choral experience and wish to build on the foundation of their knowledge to improve their musicianship and performance skills. Singers are selected for their dedication and ability to blend and work well in a small group in a fun, fast-paced learning environment. The student gains greater proficiency in independent part singing, artistic interpretation, musical understanding, and solo performance through performance of advanced literature from a broad range of styles, periods, and cultures including a cappella, classical, Broadway, jazz/pop and contemporary. This is a performance-based class, and participation in the winter and spring music concerts, school assemblies and Prep's Baccalaureate, as well as other performance opportunities that arise throughout the year, is required. Prerequisite: Interview and Audition.
8th Grade Instrumental Music
This class will give students the opportunity to learn the essential elements needed to be a musician. The course is open to students who have at least one year of experience playing an instrument. Students will learn music fundamentals such as music reading, theory, ear training, and technique. Students will have the opportunity to perform during the 8th Grade Art Share Day. Other potential performances may include the Jazz Coffee House, the Winter Music Concert, and the Spring Music Concert. The students may also collaborate and perform with the 8th Grade Vocal Music Class depending on the level of each ensemble.
Instrumental Music—VPA 9
Instrumental Music in the 9th grade (VPA) is an introduction to crafted ensemble work that may include fundamentals of musicianship, group listening and ear training, solo improvisation, technique development and much more. As students drill their own personal skills, they are also to consider their individual sound as a contribution to a piece; tone, pitch, blend, line and movement are among the many factors that impact performance quality. Students have an opportunity to perform a variety of styles at several concerts throughout the year and participate in studio recordings.
Jazz Rock Ensemble
The Jazz Rock Ensemble performs music in a variety of different styles. The class focuses on learning and performing popular jazz and rock music from the 1960s to present day. Students who would like to join the Jazz Rock Ensemble should have an interest in improvising, which is a huge component of the class. Although no previous jazz/rock experience is required, students should be proficient in playing their instrument. Students will develop skills in music reading, section playing, theory/harmony, and other essential concepts needed to play jazz and rock. There will be both on and off campus performance opportunities throughout the school year.
The Flintridge Prep Jazz Band is centered on performing classic repertoire from various styles in jazz. Previous experience playing jazz is not required, although students should be proficient in playing their instrument. Students will develop their music reading, theory/harmonic knowledge, improvisation, section playing, and other fundamental aspects involved in playing in a jazz band. There will be on-campus performance opportunities such as the Jazz Coffee House, the Flintridge Prep Family BBQ, as well as off-campus performance opportunities around the community.
This course is open to students with at least two years of playing experience on an orchestral instrument. Students will focus on developing music reading, performance skills, technique, and other fundamental aspects involved in orchestral playing. The students will have the opportunity to perform for the Winter and the Spring concerts on campus. There may also be off campus performance opportunities around the community. It is recommended that students, in addition to scheduled class times, join the Community Orchestra, which meets once weekly.
AP Music Theory
AP Music Theory is an advanced level music course. This course focuses on material taught in a first-year college level music theory course. The class is open to students in their junior and senior year. Students must pass an entrance exam prior to enrolling in the course. In order to pass the exam, students should have some knowledge on basic music theory concepts such as key signatures, major scales, and intervals. AP Music Theory prepares the student for the AP Music Theory exam, which is taken in the late spring semester. There are five musical areas that will be examined in the class: music fundamentals, harmonic and melodic analysis, ear training and sight singing, composition, and music terminology.