Arts

Through music, visual arts, theater and dance, Brooks students find ways to elevate their thinking, but when asked, most will tell you they do it because it’s fun.

The Arts Department at Brooks School seeks to engage all students and empower them to think both creatively and critically. Through creation and exploration, students will have the opportunity to follow their curiosity, discover a new passion, acquire skills and gain insight into the arts that will enrich them in their Brooks experience and beyond.

There is a reason we choose to keep the Arts Department at the center of the Brooks campus. It is a symbol for how the arts fit into the center of our lives. The arts broaden our thinking, teach us to see in new, more sophisticated ways and allow us to fulfill that most basic of human needs, the need to create. At Brooks, we pursue the arts because it allows us to express, to connect, and because by doing it, we find joy. What we do is fun. It gives the soul a space to breathe and the mind room to wander. Through Music, Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance Brooks students find ways to elevate their thinking, but when asked, most students will simply tell you they do it because it’s fun.

The power of the arts at Brooks lies in its balance of individual attention and ample opportunity. The arts program has been redesigned to offer the strength of small classes with diverse offerings. We have instituted our Arts Initiative, which takes the entire third form to experience world-class performances and exhibitions in Theatre, Music, and Visual Arts at three points throughout the year. Our connection with the Robert Lehman Art Center allows students to work side by side with internationally recognized artists several times throughout the year. And our proximity to Boston enables students to take lessons with some of the best teachers in New England. All of this is designed to support the most important part of the arts experience: the teaching. Teachers give one on one attention to their students, whether in the studio, on the stage or as part of a class or co-curricular offering. It is this student-teacher interaction that truly makes the arts at Brooks so special.

Music

Instrumental Ensemble

This course is open to all interested students regardless of prior experience. Each term focuses on a single instrument, and that instrument of choice may change from ensemble to ensemble. The students study the history of the instrument and perform at a recital at the end of each term, as well as in occasional informal performances. Emphasis is placed on reading, aural, rehearsal, performance, and blending skills, which apply to all music. Selected members of the ensemble are occasionally asked to rehearse and perform in collaboration with other ensembles.

Festival Chorus

This is a vocal ensemble designed to introduce singers to choral ensembles at a high school level. Students learn basic vocal technique as it pertains to choral and solo singing, to read and notate basic notes and rhythms, to use appropriate musical terminology, to sing simple music at sight using Solfège syllables, and perform music in multiple languages from various genres and musical eras. Each semester’s culminating performances are a meaningful and compulsory component of this class.

Concert Chorale

This is an auditioned, intermediate-level vocal ensemble whose focus is on developing higher musical literacy, challenging choral repertoire spanning several genres, languages and time periods, intermediate to advanced level vocal production, and public performance. Emphasis is placed on developing more advanced musicianship and professionalism. Participation in this ensemble requires semi-regular public performances that are a meaningful and compulsory component of this course.

Instrumental and Vocal Lessons

Private instruction is available for most instruments and voice on a weekly basis and at an additional cost. Instruction is provided by some of the finest musicians in the greater Boston area. No academic credit is granted. Students enroll by completing the summer online form or by speaking directly with the music department head.

Music Theory

This course is designed to help students develop their visual and aural skills in music. Special attention is given to note recognition on all clefs, rhythm and aural dictation, as well as key, scale and chord recognition. Analysis of diatonic chord progressions in both popular styles as well as figured bass is also covered. (Not offered in 2017-2018).

Audio Recording

To understand the technique and concepts of audio recording, students learn how those ideas were forged and study the development of each new technology. Only with this information are they able to make intelligent decisions in the recording process. Basic concepts of acoustics and their application in the modern studio are emphasized. Past and current technologies are observed and implemented in the classroom as well as in projects. By the end of the course, students record a live performance and mix it in the studio, as well as build a recording one track at a time.

AP Music Theory

This course is designed to be the equivalent of a first-year college course in music theory. Students prepare for the advanced placement examination in May. The ability to read and write musical notation is fundamental. It is also strongly recommended that the student will have acquired at least basic performance skills in voice or on an instrument.

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project in music under the supervision of a member of the department.

Jazz Band

This is an ensemble that studies and performs music written for large ensembles in a variety of styles including swing, blues, Latin-American, and modern jazz/rock fusion. Members of the group work together to develop their skills in such areas as precision in performance, accuracy of style, and group awareness. Opportunities are provided for those who wish to explore the art of improvisation. This group, also known as "The BrooksTones," performs at the winter and spring concerts, jazz brunches, and a variety of other events throughout the year.

Chamber Music Ensemble

This is an intermediate-level orchestral ensemble whose repertoire spans from the Renaissance Era to Contemporary 21st Century music. With an emphasis on standard orchestral repertoire from the last two centuries, students build skills in music reading, intonation, interpretation, and group dynamics. The Chamber Ensemble regularly performs at school functions, final semester concerts, and outside venues both alone and in collaboration with the choral forces at Brooks School.

Rock Band

The band is designed for instrumentalists and vocalists interested in studying, composing and performing music in rock style. The group performs at school functions throughout the year.

Advanced Rock Band

This course builds upon the work established in Rock Band. The course is a small ensemble class which is geared towards preparing the group for a variety of live performances in the rock and pop genre. Students work as a group and individually to learn the material on their various instruments or vocally, as well as studying other aspects of live performance. Two major and one or more minor performances will be scheduled for the ensemble during the school year.

Theater

Introduction to Acting

This performance workshop course introduces students to the basics of acting. It emphasizes techniques designed for young actors and audiences. Students focus on ensemble-building and acting techniques that lead them to scene and monologue work at the end of the semester. Students keep a detailed journal in addition to an in-depth study of plays.

Acting Workshop

This performance workshop course introduces students to the basics of acting through class exercises, improvisation, and scene work. Students present a number of scenes throughout the course while working on a production project for the end of the term. Students keep a detailed journal in addition to attending a number of professional theater productions.

Advanced Acting Workshop

This course deepens the creative work begun in Acting Workshop. It is intended to be a course that can be repeated if a student wishes to continue working on acting skills but does not intend to specialize by taking one of the advanced acting classes. In this performance-based class, students will undertake in-depth character analysis and explore sophisticated ways of expressing their character.

Playwriting

Students explore the art and craft of playwriting. They begin the term by writing a scene a week prompted by classroom exercises and script analysis. As the term progresses, students continue to explore issues of dramatic structure, character and setting. They should expect an intensive writing experience as well as the preparation of a series of staged readings and presentations throughout the term. At the end of the semester, students submit a short play based on a topic of their own choice. (Not offered in 2017-2018).

Theatrical Direction

So you want to direct a play? With the aid of textbooks, case studies, directors’ notes, performances, and intense hands-on work, students learn the art and science of theatrical direction. The fundamentals of the course involve the important elements of directing: selecting a play, mining the script, casting, rehearsing, connecting and working with the actors, collaborating with stage managers, tech crews and non-cast personnel, using your space, and finally, showtime! Students complete the course by directing a scene of their choice – either original or already written – for public performance by fellow students. (Not offered in 2017-2018).

Independent Study

Projects for the stage may vary in content and style, but all include a performance component.

Dance

Dance I

This course is an introduction to Dance and movement. It is ideal for all students, actors, athletes, anyone who has never danced before, or those who dance at a beginning level. Students explore the basic principles of dance and examine the aesthetic elements of movement. Through both movement and critique, students examine various dance styles. There are explorations and formal exercises to learn how to see, generate and manipulate movement in clear and creative ways.

Dance II

This course is an extension of the work done in Dance I. Students must have completed Dance I or may be placed in this course with approval from both the teacher and the department head. Students will continue their exploration of dance both physically and intellectually. Through analysis of self and exposure to professional dance elements, the students will progress artistically in both expression and understanding of dance. Students will create original technical movement patterns with close attention to detail in order to thoughtfully and intentionally structure and execute movement to express unique ideas. Students will create small group pieces that combine their historical, critical and technical understanding of dance. Dance II may be repeated for those who want to continue to deepen their knowledge and continue to create small- scale works.

Visual Arts

Introduction to 2-D Studio Art

Students work with a variety of media to explore processes, concepts and ideas to create drawings, paintings and collages. Students come away with a basic understanding of portraiture, still life, figure work, landscape, color theory and abstraction. Elements of art history and design are introduced in the bodies of the lessons.

Introduction to 3-D Studio Art

This course focuses on the fundamental elements of three- dimensional form. Line, space, plane and volume are explored as students develop visual-analysis and critical-thinking skills. The course proceeds from work with simple forms and techniques to more challenging and comprehensive problems addressing both additive and subtractive methods. Various materials are explored: wood, paper, plaster, fabric, mixed media, clay, and natural and found objects. All 3-D works have various degrees of functional and decorative purpose as well as degrees of abstraction and realism. Elements of art history and design are introduced in the bodies of the lessons.

Introduction to Digital Art

Students create digital work using a variety of sources including text, image, and sound. Various techniques are learned and explored including graphic design, animation, and digital photography.

Introduction to Photography

Students learn the basics of black and white photography and darkroom techniques. Projects emphasize learning "how to see" with the camera and developing creatively composed images. Students must provide their own 35mm camera with full manual control of shutter and aperture.

Digital Art

This course continues examining of the process of creating and development of skills established in Introduction To Digital Art. Students will dive deeper into the tools used by the digital artist to create more sophisticated artistically expressive images. Further developing visual literacy, and using the principles and elements of art in composition, students will continue their exploration of the digital art form.

Film

This introductory studio art course seeks to take the novice’s interest in film production to a more advanced level. As lifelong audience members of visual media, students have subconsciously laid the foundation for mastering film language. In this course, they become familiar with that language and the vocabulary associated with it. Students also learn the basics of preproduction (developing an idea, storyboarding and scripting), production (shooting) and post-production (editing). Students apply these skills to the process of visual storytelling through video production exercises, screenings, critiques and class discussions.

Photography

This course offers students an opportunity to further develop their photography skills. Students work closely with the instructor to build and display their portfolios.

2-D Design

Students use drawing, painting, collage and mixed-media to create bodies of work in response to project prompts taken from landscape, interiors, still-life, narratives or dream sequences, abstracted ideas and the figure. Bodies of work address variations in size and shape of surface. Students participate in formal critique sessions during which they learn to more effectively observe, discuss and adjust both their own work and the work of their classmates. Emphases are on effective processes and understanding of compositional design. Art history is incorporated into lessons as appropriate.

3-D Design

Students use clay, wood, metal and mixed-media to create bodies of work in response to project prompts taken from landscape, interiors, still-life, narratives or dream sequences, abstracted ideas and the figure. Students have the opportunity to work on the wheel and with glazing and firing process using electric kilns, and pit-firing. Students participate in formal critique sessions during which they learn to more effectively observe, discuss and adjust both their own work and the work of their classmates. Art history is incorporated into lessons as appropriate.

Advanced 2-D Design

This course is a continuation of the study and creation of 2-D design work. Students visit various museums and galleries off-campus during the year, and they have the opportunity to meet, speak and workshop with established artists through private connections and through the Lehman Art Center. Students participate in formal critique sessions during which they learn to more effectively observe, discuss and adjust both their own work and the work of their classmates. In addition, students begin to amass work and materials to create a formal portfolio. Art History is incorporated into lessons as appropriate.

Advanced 3-D Design

This course is a continuation of the study and creation of 3-D design work. Students visit various museums and galleries off-campus during the year, and they have the opportunity to meet, speak and workshop with established artists through private connections and through the Lehman Art Center. Students participate in formal critique sessions during which they learn to more effectively observe, discuss and adjust both their own work and the work of their classmates. In addition, students begin to amass work and materials to create a formal portfolio. Art History is incorporated into lessons as appropriate.

Architectural Design

Students study basic elements of architecture, designing spaces through drawing, writing, site plans, sections and elevations. Students also learn how to use the computer program SketchUp. Basic architectural history helps students to understand elements of structural design, and further references to structures and spaces are referred to as needed. (Not offered in 2017-2018).

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project in art under the supervision of a member of the department.

Arts Faculty

Amy Graham

Director of the Robert Lehman Art Center, Visual Art Teacher

Kenneth Griffith II

Director of Choral and Classical Music

Robert Humphreville

School Organist

Claudia Keller

Music Teacher, Head of Wilder Dining Hall

Maylo Keller

Music Teacher

Olga Kradenova

Music Teacher

Robert Lazar

Chair of the Arts Department, Director of Theater

Yeghishe Manucharyan

Music Teacher

Lynn McLoughlin

Visual Art Teacher

Jack Sciuto

Music Teacher

Tabitha Sherrell

Photography Teacher

Deanna Stuart

Director of the Archives, Theater Technical Director