Performing Arts Courses



IMPROVISATION (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

Improvisation class teaches the rudiments of improvisation in a low-pressure, inclusive environment. Focused mostly on sketch comedy (a la “Whose Line is it Anyway?”), students learn exactly how the pros make it look so easy. Through unique games and exercises, participants learn the guiding principals behind good improv and develop valuable acting skills through simple warm-up games and performance improv structures. Perfect for the beginner as well as the seasoned performer, students may take improvisation for more than one semester.

 

FILMMAKING (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

In the filmmaking course, students work on short, skill-based digital film projects. They learn the basics of camera operation, elements of shot composition, rudiments of story structure, and editing with Final Cut Pro. Students are exposed to the technical and organizational aspects of filmmaking while gaining experience in collaboration. Finally, students study scenes from current and classic films to facilitate understanding of the concepts explored. For the purposes of making the class approachable for introductory students, the project work requires minimal outside time. Completed projects may be exhibited at the school’s Blackrock Film Festival in May.

 

ADVANCED FILMMAKING (FULL-YEAR)

Students who have taken the introductory film course may move on to produce more sophisticated projects in the advanced course. This project course meets at the same time as the introductory course, but requires a full-year commitment and is only open to students with a demonstrated ability in project management and film technique. It functions like an independent study and requires more time outside of class. Students deepen their understanding of storytelling, camera work, scene coverage, logistical planning, and editing. Completed films may be exhibited at the school’s Blackrock Film Festival in May. In addition, all students are expected to submit their finished work to outside film festivals.

 

CHAMBER MUSIC, ADVANCED CHAMBER MUSIC (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

Chamber Music emphasizes small ensemble skills including musicianship, intonation, interpretation, and performance practice. Students are encouraged to practice as an ensemble. The course is open to all string, brass, woodwind, keyboard and pitched percussion instrumentalists. The Chamber Music Ensemble performs regularly throughout the year.

Prerequisite: Two-year study of an instrument or permission of instructor

 

DIGITAL MUSIC I, II, III, IV (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

Using keyboard synthesizers and computers, students work independently to create original musical compositions. Each course covers the study of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), as well as digital audio techniques including live recordings and digital wave editing. Students create a CD of their own compositions by the end of each semester. No musical experience is required.

 

MUSIC THEORY I (SEMESTER 1)

Music Theory allows students to explore music outside of our performing ensemble groups. This course is an introduction to the study of functional harmony including scales, intervals, chord constructions, harmonic progression, counterpoint, and ear-training. No musical experience is required.

Open to Forms IV, V and VI

 

ADVANCED MUSIC THEORY II (SEMESTER 2)

This second semester of Music Theory continues the study of functional harmony with an introduction to twentieth century music theory. Students analyze chorales, sonatas, symphonies and other works, and they begin creating simple compositions including chorales and solo piano compositions.

Prerequisite: Music Theory I or permission of instructor

 

JAZZ ENSEMBLE, ADVANCED JAZZ ENSEMBLE (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

Students develop musicianship and ensemble performance skills working with fellow musicians on a wide range of music, ranging from concert band arrangements to jazz and rock standards. The ensemble performs regularly throughout the year. Placement in Advanced Jazz Ensemble is by audition only.

Prerequisite: Two-year study of an instrument or permission of instructor

 

CHORUS, ADVANCED CHORUS (SEMESTER 1 AND/OR 2)

The Berkshire Chorus sings madrigals, motets, popular arrangements, folk music of Africa, music from the Balkans, shape-note hymns of North America and much, much more. Students learn basic musicianship skills including intonation, vocal blending, diction, vocal production, breath control, and phrasing. The course emphasizes singing in a cappella style, as well as with instrumental accompaniment. Berkshire Chorus performs regularly throughout the year, both on and off campus. No musical experience is required. Placement in Advanced Chorus is by audition only.


PRIVATE VOICE, INSTRUMENTAL AND DANCE LESSONS

Private non-credit lessons may be arranged through the Music Director or Art Department Chair. An additional fee will be charged.

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