Departmental Offerings

The following course descriptions detail the likely offerings during any school year, though specifics will vary from term to term and course lineups are always changing. Click on the course titles below for full descriptions.

  • Advanced Art History

    This course is designed to be the foundational program for the study of Art History and to prepare students for advanced study in any of the specific topics and art historical eras covered. It provides an in-depth introduction to prehistoric, ancient, and European art as well as critical introductions to Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Pre-Columbian American, and African art. Emphasis is placed on developing appropriate art historical vocabulary, on understanding the intersection of cultural context and artistic expression, on the formal compositional considerations that painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects use in constructing their work, and on the essential contribution that developing style, in cultural, generic, and individual terms, makes to the eventual creation of any single piece of art. Any art stands on multiple bases, and the more that students understand about the historical, social, political, economic, and aesthetic background of a given piece, the more readily they can understand, in the fullest possible context, what they are examining.
  • Advanced Ceramics

    In this class we will take a closer look at some of ceramics’ more important details. We will explore form and edges, starting with cylinders and moving on to more complex forms such as bowls, jars, teapots, and plates. Students will work on the potter’s wheel for the majority of the class and will also explore creating pieces that are a combination and deconstruction of both slab and wheel work. We will discuss a variety of issues that potters encounter when creating utilitarian pieces. Students will learn to craft handles, lids, and spouts, as well as explore various methods of surface decoration and glazing. This class is intended for students who have some previous wheel experience and wish to further express their creativity through clay.
  • Advanced Studio Art

    Advanced Studio Art is for students who wish to continue with drawing and painting after Intermediate Studio Art and who are considering Advanced Studio Practices their senior year. Advanced Studio Art will be geared towards developing painting and drawing skills and a personal voice. Students will work in a variety of media and develop their skills in drawing and painting through a variety of projects.
    Prerequisite: Intermediate Studio Art and/or intensive summer study at an art school.
  • Ceramics

    This year-long course is an exploration of the methods and materials of the art of ceramics. Students learn a variety of hand-forming techniques including pinch, slab, and coil construction. Both utilitarian and sculptural forms are produced. Wheel throwing instruction is offered for those interested. Glazing methods, theory, and techniques are learned, along with kiln loading and firing processes. Open to sophomores and juniors.
  • Chamber Ensemble

    This is a course of study in repertoire for string ensemble. It is open only to string players and is strongly recommended for students taking private string lessons. The ensemble meets for a double period twice a week and has several performance opportunities throughout the year. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Electronic Music and Composition

    Learn the techniques of today’s music producers. This year-long course doesn’t require any previous musical experience and teaches students the techniques of today’s music producers. They learn the basics of synthesis through the study of analogue models. They study synthesizer programming and the creation of new sounds, along with a discussion of MIDI and contemporary software applications, including sequencing and plug-in programs such as Reason, Cubase, Ableton Live, and others. In addition, students are given an overview of the history of electronic music and its pioneers including Theremin, Moog, and others. Students apply what they learn in compositions of their own, based on models that are studied. Also included is a study of digital recording techniques in the studio. The course culminates in a concert or CD of their work.
  • Honors Chamber Singers

    The Chamber Singers is a group of 12-24 singers open by audition only and is a year-long course. The Chamber Singers study a wide range of music from the Renaissance to the present day and in several different languages. For the past several years they have received gold medal (superior) ratings in festivals and have toured around the world. The group has many performance opportunities throughout the year. Students wishing to take this course must schedule an audition.
  • Honors Music Theory

    How does music work? I’ve been playing or singing for some time, but I don’t really understand what I am doing. What makes something sound good? What is harmony? How do chords work together? How can I better understand music in order to interpret and perform, or write my own? How do the works of composers and songwriters in the past inform music making today? Students will engage in a study of harmony and counterpoint, sight singing, ear training, score study, active listening and dictations. Application is made to classical, jazz, and contemporary popular music styles. This is intended for instrumentalists, singers and composers who want a solid foundation in their musical understanding. Don’t just play—understand the music you’re learning.
    Prerequisites: Previous study of an instrument, voice, or previous theory study and consent of instructor
  • Honors Studio Practice

    Honors Studio Practice is a class that will allow students to work independently on a series based on a theme of their choosing. They will develop a body of artwork that codifies a thesis. Through critique, development of the theme and technical revision, students will have created a body of art by year’s end that they will exhibit. Students will have the ability to create and develop a studio practice and a body of work in the medium/mediums of their choice.
  • Intermediate Studio Art

    This course builds upon the work done in introduction to the Arts, with emphasis on the development of drawing and painting skills. Students work from live models, still life, and the environment. The effective use of the measuring systems are practiced along with linear and tonal studies in pencil, charcoal, and oil paint. Students are encouraged to express their imagination and originality, along with works emphasizing careful observational rendering. Those interested in preparing a portfolio for the AP exam should take this course. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Intro Arts

    Through this year-long program, students learn to communicate at a basic level in three-dimensional and two-dimensional art, in music, and in theatre. Through hands-on work and study they learn to develop and present basic analyses of works of art. Students gain an informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods, and become able to relate various types of arts knowledge and skills within and across the arts disciplines.

  • Introduction to Film Studies: A History of American Sound Film

    This course is designed as a three-trimester program, and students may choose to step in and step out at any time. In each trimester, we will examine American film from 1930-1980, and we will concentrate on the major cinematic genres. For each genre, we will explore its conventions and expectations, both how they developed and how they were modified. In addition, for each genre we will explore a different cultural or technical aspect of film.
    In the first trimester, we will begin with an introduction to silent movies, and because from even its earliest days film has been a global art, there will be references to and clips from influential European sources. We will then concentrate on four genres: musicals, comedies, westerns, and gangsters. So, in our section on musicals we will focus on sound and on the interaction between legitimate theatre and film. For comedies, we will also consider the effect of censorship on American film. For westerns, we will look at innovations in location shooting and the power of the studio system. Finally, we will look at gangster films, with particular attention given to effects of the Great Depression and post-war America.
  • Introduction to Photography

    This year-long course in photography will introduce students to the art of photography. Students will learn how to use features such as the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and how to use a light meter. The class will research methods to obtain proper exposures and creative control and composition to improve image quality.
    Weekly in-class work will cover various types of photography such as portraits, landscape, sports, still life and conceptual images. Students will study various photographers and expand on their own styles.
    The class will be using digital cameras and students will be introduced to basic editing skills using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. 
  • Jazz Ensemble

    This is a performance class open to all players of winds and brass, as well as rhythm musicians (guitar, bass, piano, drums). Students meet for a double period twice a week and study big band and jazz arrangements. There are several performance opportunities throughout the year.
  • Music Theory, History, and Practice

    This year-long course picks up from where the AP Music Theory course left off in its theory study. Students continue to analyze music from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, students explore the structure of contemporary idioms such as minimalism, serialism, and jazz. Students study the history of these developments with an emphasis on specific composers and their works, in addition to composing a number of pieces of their own. This course is highly recommended for students who plan to continue their study of music in college. Prerequisites: AP Music Theory or consent of instructor.
  • Theatre: Acting Studio

    This course is designed for acting students who are interested in continuing their studies of acting and performing. The students in this class will participate in extensive scene study, approaches to acting techniques, and performance projects. The actors will delve more intensely into character study, theater games, intensive improvisational exercises, and comprehensive body work. In addition to understanding acting and performance techniques, the course will focus on the performing of monologues, dialogues, and group scene-work, all chosen for their emotional intensity and provocative subject matter in order to further the experience and growth of each performer. The majority of the year will be spent on exploring characterization from the ground up: the study, analysis, and exploration of numerous characters through scripts and scenes. Studies of the most noted and brilliant theatrical theorists and directors will also be explored.
    Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
    Juniors and seniors who would like to continue acting classes can sign up for this course, which will be listed as Theatre: Acting Studio II.
  • Wood Design

    With the advantage of a fully loaded professional facility, this course takes students well beyond the traditional “wood shop” class. In this full-year art elective, students design and construct a unique piece of fine furniture that is built to the standards of a family heirloom. The class begins with elements of design, which include the use of space, scale, proportion, and grain orientation. Through sketching, drafting, full-scale mock-ups, and plenty of creative discussion, students explore the designs of their pieces prior to construction. They then draft full-scale drawings. As they construct their pieces, students learn how to use hand and power tools safely and accurately, dimension and mill lumber, and construct accurate joints. The year culminates with a campus gallery show of the year’s projects. While these projects require plenty of work, a creative, collegial atmosphere prevails in the shop, a space where students feel welcome, supported, encouraged, and inspired.


  • Photo of Gregory Haggard
    Gregory Haggard
    Chair of the Arts Department and Director of the Music Program
    University of California, Los Angeles - BA
    University of California, Los Angeles - MA
  • Photo of John Bueti
    John Bueti
    Wood Design Teacher
  • Photo of Megan Hooker
    Megan Hooker
    Ceramics Teacher and Riding Instructor
    University of California, Santa Barbara - BA
  • John Lacques
  • Photo of Elizabeth Mahoney
    Elizabeth Mahoney
    Visual Arts Teacher and Riding Instructor
    Skidmore College - BA
  • Photo of Lisandro Malissia
    Lisandro Malissia
    Technical Director
  • Photo of Bo Manson
    Bo Manson
    Wood Design Teacher, Rock Climbing Instructor
    University of Virginia - BA
    University of Virginia - MEd
  • Photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Art History and English Teacher
    College of Wooster - BA
    Vanderbilt University - MA
  • Photo of Megumi Tatsuzawa
    Megumi Tatsuzawa
  • Photo of Alan Thornhill
    Alan Thornhill
    Guitar Instructor
  • Photo of Gallia Vickery
    Gallia Vickery
    Mathematics Teacher and Dance Program Director
    Princeton University - AB
  • Photo of Dan Willard
  • Photo of Tracey Williams Sutton
    Tracey Williams Sutton
    Performing Arts Teacher and Drama Director
    California State University, Northridge - MFA
    Pennsylvania State University - BA
  • Photo of Carin Yates
    Carin Yates
    Photography Teacher, School Photographer
    Antioch University - BA
  • Photo of Martin Young
    Martin Young
  • Photo of Julija Zonic
    Julija Zonic
    Voice Instructor