Upper School
US Curriculum

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts programs supports the idea that students learn best through active participation as part of an ensemble.
Active participation in drama or music is linked to positive development of problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as creative imagination and self-expression. Hackley considers the Performing Arts programs an important part of the curricular day, and students are able to participate in a wide range of offerings, including band, orchestra, choirs and acting ensembles.

Performing Arts Drama Courses

List of 7 items.

  • Drama Courses Overview

    (All courses fulfill the graduation requirement in visual/performing arts except for Public Speaking 968 and Music Theory 928.)

    Hackley School sustains vigorous and flexible music- and drama-performance programs which offer students opportunities (a) to hone their skills as actors, directors, playwrights, singers, instrumentalists, and composers, (b) to gain new experience in performing arts disciplines with which they may have been previously unfamiliar, and (c) to significantly extend their artistic and intellectual reach.

    Drama

    Students interested in theater are encouraged to enroll in a drama course. They should also consider participating in our after-school drama program, which presents two major productions each year.
     
  • Acting I (Introduction to the Art Form)

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2 credits
    Open to all students. (No experience necessary.)

    This course will focus on the building blocks of acting through improvisation, character building, play and character analysis, and theater history. Students will learn to think on their feet, develop characters and relationships, and strengthen listening skills. They will study character development, develop rehearsal skills, and become adept at script analysis. Students will perform in a play at the end of the year.
  • Acting II (Performance and Technique)

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2 credits
    Prerequisite: Acting I or equivalent performance experience. Open to students in grades 10-12.

    This course builds upon the foundations established in Acting I. Topics include:
    • Dramaturgical studies, including play and script analysis
    • Pioneers in theater and their techniques
    • Character development
    • Monologue writing, development and performance
    • Analysis of various theater styles, including musical, historical, satirical, one-acts, comedy, and drama
    • Theater for social justice: the study of theater to examine — and reverse — injustice in local and global communities

    Students will perform in a play at the end of the academic year.
  • Acting III (Advanced Topics in Theater)

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2credits
    Prerequisite: Acting II or special permission of the instructor

    This is a third-year course in theater; it is designed for students who wish to explore more deeply the arts of acting and playwriting and the craft of theatrical production. Topics covered will include:
    • How to read, analyze, and prepare as a performer to support the ideals of the playwright
    • Script design for a variety of theatrical works (e.g. one-person show, one-act play, television/movie scripts, monologues)
    • Character development: in-depth work constructing characters from internal and external stimuli.
    • The basics of directing, stage management, costuming, set design and construction.

    Students will study works of theater; playwrights may include: Shakespeare, Brecht, Beckett, Wilson, Ward, Miller, Albee, and Kushner. Through analysis and performance students will broaden their theatrical experience and deepen their understanding of theatrical narrative and character. They will scrutinize the writings of directors who have developed diverse theories of acting and direction.

    This year-long course will serve as a foundation for the Upper School spring performance. Under direction of the instructor, students will select, workshop, and perform their own projects.
  • Acting IV (Advanced Acting)

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2 credits
    Prerequisite: Acting III or special permission of instructor

    Advanced Acting focuses on the practical application of acting tools through scene study, monologue work and numerous collaborative projects. Students will form an in-house theatre company responsible for selecting, reviewing, staging, marketing and performing a series of on- and off-campus performances. Projects include the Collage Concert and participation in the National ESU Shakespeare competition. Off-site activities may include trips to Broadway shows, back-of-house tours and discussions with industry professionals. The final project is the selection and preparation of a published or original piece to be performed within the immediate and expanded community.
  • Musical Theatre Seminar

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2 credits
    Open to all students

    Students will study acting, dancing, singing and auditioning for musical theater. Scene and monologue work will provide opportunities for character study, and fundamentals of voice production will help students improve presentation skills and increase confidence. Students will have the opportunity to perform in a showcase.
  • Public Speaking

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/2 credits
    Open to all students.

    (Note: This course does not satisfy the Visual/Performing Arts graduation requirement.)

    This course will assist students in developing better public-speaking skills through the use of voice, speech and presentation technique.

    Topics covered in this class will include:
    • Presenting informative, persuasive, storytelling, demonstration, impromptu and group speeches
    • Dealing with stage fright
    • Using one’s voice to one’s advantage
    • Relating to the audience

    Students will be required to write their own speeches throughout the course of the year. They will watch and analyze great inspirational speeches, as well as those of their classmates.

Performing Arts Music Courses

List of 9 items.

  • Music Courses Overview

    (All courses fulfill the graduation requirement in visual/performing arts except for Public Speaking 968 and Music Theory 928.)

    Hackley School sustains vigorous and flexible music- and drama-performance programs which offer students opportunities (a) to hone their skills as actors, directors, playwrights, singers, instrumentalists, and composers, (b) to gain new experience in performing arts disciplines with which they may have been previously unfamiliar, and (c) to significantly extend their artistic and intellectual reach.

    Music

    Singers and instrumentalists are encouraged to enroll in a major ensemble class (Band Ensembles, String Orchestra, Female Chorus). Participants in these classes will have opportunities to perform in both the large core ensemble and smaller satellite groups, which include chamber ensembles for strings, winds, and percussion, smaller singing groups, and jazz groups. Performing groups present at least two concerts per year; numerous informal performance opportunities are available as well.

    Scheduling

    Although each major ensemble is scheduled for five of seven possible meeting periods, the actual number of meeting times per cycle can range from three to five, depending upon various factors such as the number of ensembles in which the student participates, sectional rehearsals determined by the ensemble director, and the proximity of a specific performance date. Ensemble directors will clearly summarize expectations and map out rehearsal schedules in the initial meetings of each class.

    New York State School Music Association

    Students enrolled in a Hackley ensemble class are eligible to audition for NYSSMA, which determines placement in All-County and All-State ensembles.

    In addition to the three major ensemble classes, the Department also offers other classes in music performance, history, theory and mentorship.
  • Female Chorus

    5 meetings per seven-day cycle (see above)/1 credit
    Open to all students.

    The Female Chorus offers opportunities to sing art, folk, jazz and popular music representative of diverse time periods and cultures. Students develop sight-reading skills, learn vocal technique, and deepen their musicianship. All will have the opportunity to audition for the a cappella satellite group. All students will perform in formal and informal concerts.
  • Male a Cappella

    2 meetings per seven-day cycle/1 credit
    Open to all students.

    The basics of a cappella singing will be taught in a comfortable group setting. Students will improve performance skills, musicality, vocal technique and self-confidence. They will develop stage presence and learn to work as part of a team. Daily rehearsals will challenge singers while introducing a variety of repertoire. Students will perform in the winter and spring concerts.
  • String Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles

    Scheduled for 5 meeting times per seven-day cycle (see above) / 1 credit
    Prerequisite: Open to experienced string players.

    Open to experienced pianists with consent of instructor; piano students must audition, demonstrating an ability to sight-read basic chamber music repertoire.

    Students enrolled in String Orchestra will have demonstrated competence on their instrument (violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass, and piano). Most students will be placed in the String Orchestra and a smaller chamber ensemble, such as a duo, trio, or quartet; such placement is
    based on student ability and experience. To supplement regular large- and chamber-group rehearsals, the director may designate certain rehearsal days for sectional rehearsal or individual practice. All groups study and perform music from both the traditional orchestral and chamber repertoire, as well as more contemporary works.
  • Band Ensembles: Concert Band, Jazz Orchestra, and Chamber Ensembles

    Scheduled for 5 meeting times per seven-day cycle (see above)/1 credit
    Prerequisite: Open to players of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.

    Students enrolled in Band Ensembles will have demonstrated competence on a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. In addition to playing in the Concert Band, students will have the opportunity to join multiple satellite groups, including the Jazz Orchestra, Woodwind Quintet, and ensembles featuring woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments in various combinations. All Band Ensembles will meet on a rotating schedule determined by the director within the Band Ensembles period. Each ensemble performs at least two concerts a year.

    The Concert Band repertoire includes traditional concert pieces, new works for band, and pops selections. Other enrichment activities, such as trips to hear professional ensembles, are part of the curriculum.
  • Jazz Combos

    3 meetings per seven-day cycle/1 credit
    Prerequisite: Open to all experienced instrumentalists.

    Those students who are proficient on their instrument and who wish to study the art of jazz improvisation may register for Jazz Combos. Students are placed into a specific band based upon their particular instrument and level of ability. The harmonic and stylistic vocabulary of jazz is explored and each student learns how to apply that vocabulary to improvisation and to performing in a jazz combo. The repertoire is primarily classic jazz compositions by artists such as Thelonius Monk, Horace Sliver, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, however more contemporary pieces are regularly performed and the students are encouraged both to suggest repertoire and to write for their band. Two concerts a year are performed and there are numerous other performance opportunities.
  • Independent Study in Musical Mentoring

    2 meetings per seven-day cycle, scheduled by instructor and student/1 credit

    This Independent Study is available to Upper School musicians that would like to mentor Middle and Lower School musicians. As a musical mentor, Upper School musicians will be asked to encourage younger musicians with practice plans, enjoy great recordings together and participate in one community service concert per trimester.

    Mentors would be assigned to meet with a Middle School student one period per 7-day cycle and would meet with their faculty advisory the other meeting time to plan classes, establish practice plans and rehearse for community service concerts. The mentors would be included in one community service activity, either on- or off-campus per trimester.
  • Independent Study: Musicianship

    Meeting times: as needed. 1 or 2 credits.
    Prerequisite: Permission of department head

    Students who demonstrate a high level of interest and ability in composition or performance may undertake independent study under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department.
  • Music Theory

    2 meetings per seven-day cycle/1 credit
    Permission of Department Head required.
    (Note: This course does not satisfy the Visual/Performing Arts graduation requirement.)

    Students will be introduced to the basic elements of music through sight-reading, melodic analysis, notation and composition, and will improve ear training through the study of pitch, intervals, chords and scales. Beginning with classical harmony and progressing through contemporary music-rock, pop and jazz harmonies- students will develop a deeper understanding of music.