The arts at Winsor present challenges that are intellectual, physical, and creative. The Performing and Visual Arts departments together seek to offer a balanced program in studio art, drama, music, and dance. Students are encouraged but not required to fulfill their Upper School fine arts requirement with courses from more than one division.
- Classes I and II Art
- Classes III and IV Art
- Art Studio
- Art History
- Upper School Performing Arts Block Offerings
All Class I students begin the year with a focus on singing, dancing, and learning to be part of an ensemble theater production, culminating in the full-class participation in the Class I Musical. Students in Class I spend the second half of the year with a full semester of visual arts study. In addition, all Class I and II students will build a foundation in music performance through required participation in the performing arts block, by joining either the chorus or the orchestra.
All Class II students study a full semester of visual arts, and one quarter each of music and drama, setting a foundation for more elective choice in Classes III and IV. For the quarter of music, two options are available: general music or a strings workshop. In addition, all Class I and II students will build a foundation in music performance through required participation in the performing arts block, by joining either the chorus or the orchestra.
In Class III and the first semester of Class IV, students will begin an exciting elective program in the arts. Students will choose one arts course each semester from a variety of offerings in visual arts, music, dance and drama. Second semester, all Class IV students will participate in a grade level drama experience in the form of a Shakespeare play, supplemented by other performing arts opportunities in music, costuming and dance.
Students in Class III and IV will also have the option to continue participation in the performing arts block by joining the orchestra, chorus or a dance group.
Class III Courses
In this class, students will learn to tell stories using a variety of digitally based tools. Students will explore several different methods and aesthetics of digital storytelling and develop their narrative voice using a broad range of techniques including photography, video, animation, Photoshop, iMovie, iStop Motion, digital collage, and time lapse. Offered second semester.
Drawing and Design
In this class, students will explore the fundamentals of both two and three-dimensional design. Projects in this course will range from paper sculpture and collages, printmaking and Photoshop, ceramics, color theory, and a series of drawing assignments that include portraits and still life. Offered both semesters.
In this class, students will explore clay, plaster, wire, and papier mache, as well as a variety of techniques, such as building, carving and modeling. Completed sculptures will range in size from a head of garlic to a large installation on our school campus. Wire and papier mache animals, abstract plaster forms inspired by artists such as Constantin Brancusi and Henry Moore, and wearable art made from a variety of materials including paper clips, duct tape, and bubble wrap will be completed. Offered first semester.
Dance Technique and Choreography
The Dance III Elective introduces students to basic dance technique and choreography. Dance Technique classes combine ballet, jazz and contemporary styles of movement, and include warm-up exercises that build alignment, strength, flexibility and coordination, “across the floor” sequences and “center work” using a wide range of musical rhythms. Students learn about movement improvisation and choreography, and develop skills in dance making. Offered both semesters.
This class will explore all the ways actors can use their body and voice in performance. We will look at Commedia, Mask, Slapstick, Combat, Clowning as well as several other forms of physical theater to create character and approach scene work. We will apply a physical approach to both scripted and unscripted work in an energetic and fun class. Offered first semester.
Students will read, rehearse and perform several scenes and monologues and learn to create a variety of different characters using clues from the text. This will be paired with an introduction to improvisation through games, exercise, skits and sketches. Students will learn to think on their feet and create scenes of their own. Offered second semester.
Music Bow and Flow
This course is designed for violin, viola, and cello students to utilize healthy physical motions to develop their playing technique. Specialized physical exercises, string technique books, and other varied repertoire will help students improve their playing posture, tone production, left hand facility, bow technique, and overall musicianship. Students need to have at least one year of playing experience and must provide their own instrument. Offered second semester.
Drum, Strum, and More
In this class, students will play a variety of instruments including percussion instruments, acoustic guitar, and mallet instruments. They will also develop their singing voices by strengthening their technique and developing their ear. Students will play and sing with and without scores, improvise, compose, and perform in ensembles. Offered first semester.
Ebony and Ivory
Students will learn basic piano playing technique from the standard solo and duet piano repertoire. They
will work individually at their own pace on exercises, basic sight reading and solo pieces at their
particular level of development. Students will also work in pairs and small groups, and they will have
regular opportunities to perform with and for their classmates. Students will learn to do basic
improvisation and will have opportunities to create and improvise a song in the blues style. Using the
computers with the pianos, students will use Essentials of Music Theory to sharpen their music theory
skills and GarageBand for film scoring. Offered second semester.
Class IV Courses
This course will introduce students to some of the traditions and techniques of bookmaking, as well as giving them the opportunity to explore the expressive possibilities and choices that go into creating artists’ books. Students will learn how to make different book structures from all over the world, from ancient Coptic bookbinding to the accordion style book. Image-making techniques, such as transfers, stamping, collage, stitching, drawing, and painting will be explored and will provide the inspiration for book content. Offered first semester.
This course will teach students the techniques of oil painting while continuing to reinforce the
fundamentals of two-dimensional design including composition, line, color, form and value. Projects will include abstraction, landscape painting, still life and portraiture. Students will paint from their imagination, from photographs and from observation. Offered first semester.
Dance Technique and Choreography
The Dance IV Elective introduces students to basic dance technique and choreography. Dance Technique classes combine ballet, jazz and contemporary styles of movement, and include warm-up exercises that build alignment, strength, flexibility and coordination, “across the floor” sequences and “center work” using a wide range of musical rhythms. Students learn about movement improvisation and choreography, and develop skills in dance making. Offered first semester.
Set Design for Shakespeare
In this course, students will design, build and paint the set for their Shakespeare Project. Students will be introduced to theatre design principles through an exploration of lighting, set, and sound, and this will include learning how to use the tools in the scene shop, how to create different painting techniques, how to operate the sound and light board, as well as how to hang lights and choose filters. Offered first semester.
Students will have the opportunity to play classical music literature together in small instrumental
ensembles. Music selection will be based on instrumentation and student playing experience. Students will learn about musical collaboration, small group rehearsal techniques, and basic music theory. Offered first semester.
Rock On: a Survey of American Music
In this class, students will learn about and perform music from Taylor Swift to the Beatles, from Wicked to Oklahoma, and from hip-hop to the blues. Students will explore the popular music of this country over time while playing it on different instruments and learning to sing in the styles of various genres. Offered first semester.
Shakespeare Performance (Semester 2)
Students work on one of two plays which they will read in the prior semester in English. Supplementing the play project will be work in music, drama, dance and design, with the goal of supporting and enhancing the dramatic experience in Shakespeare. The production will culminate in a Shakespeare “festival”, an all-school performance in mid-May and a separate parent performance.
Advanced Painting Studio
In this studio, students practice painting in oils and other media while exploring pattern, figure-ground, line, relative size, light and shade, texture and color. They are expected to pursue the development of a personal style of expression in painting or mixed media, and a command of both technical and conceptual means in painting. Open to classes VI-VIII. Fall semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Foundations of Visual Art, Drawing Studio or Painting Studio or permission of instructor.
AP Studio Art
Advanced Placement Studio Art is a full-year and full-credit course intended for advanced and motivated students who have already shown a serious commitment in art, already have familiarity with the techniques, processes and ideas that they intend to use, have taken a number of Upper School art electives and who are prepared to work intensively to prepare a portfolio to submit for the AP Studio Art Portfolio. There are three different focuses for the portfolio including: AP Studio Art Drawing, AP Studio Art 2D, and AP Studio Art 3D; each encompassing three different categories: Quality, Concentration, and Breadth. Open to Classes VII-VIII. Full year course. (1.0 credit). Prerequisite: Four semesters of art and permission of instructor.
This course will focus on several different handbuilding techniques including pinch, slab, coil, and paddle, and students will learn the technical processes involved in forming and firing. Tools will be introduced including the slab roller, molds, and extruders. Assignments will incorporate these different techniques and focus on three-dimensional form, function, scale, surface texture, good craftsmanship, and glazing. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall semester. (.25 credit).
This course will focus on the development of the basic techniques and skills needed for throwing on the potter’s wheel. Students will learn to center clay, to throw cylinders and bowls, and to trim and finish the bases of their pieces. Surface treatments that enhance the form and function of a thrown piece will be explored, including adding pulled handles and formed spouts, and glazing effects. Open to classes V-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit). Class size is limited to ten students.
This course is designed to teach the concepts of gesture, structure and proportion as they relate to the human figure to give students the tools they need to make decisions on how to draw the human form. Working from models, students will draw, paint and sculpt the figure to learn the body’s structures, basic anatomy and proportions. Students will explore form, space and composition through the complexity of human anatomy. Some time will be devoted to portrait as well. Open to Classes VI-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Foundations of Visual Art, Drawing Studio or Painting Studio or permission of instructor.
Featuring the use of the gelatin silver print process in a traditional photographic darkroom and working with a variety of camera types, from the most basic pinhole to a 35mm SLR, students will explore photography as a means of communication and self-expression. Students will develop technical skills and an aesthetic understanding while learning to shoot black and white film using the principles of photography, developing the film, and then enlarging negatives into gelatin silver prints. Looking at the work of some of the great analog photographers, students will gain a broader understanding of the cultural and historical context of this medium and have some choice in the subject matter they pursue. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall and Spring semester. (.25 credit). Class size is limited to ten students.
Digital Photography I
By emphasizing essential digital camera skills and photographic principles, this course teaches students a more intentional and sophisticated image making process. Using digital SLR cameras, students will gain a highly functional understanding of camera skills and photographic principles including DSLR video. Students will learn to shoot fully manual while maintaining proper exposure and creative control over the camera. Students will also build a foundation of essential skills in the digital studio including: digital workflow; importing and managing digital files; essential Photoshop and Lightroom techniques for photographers; inkjet printing methods; photography critique; and methods for presenting and sharing finished works. Students will complete a series of thematic assignments including portraiture, abstract, landscape, double exposure, shutter speed, and depth-of-field. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall and Spring semester. (.25 credit).
Digital Photography II
Building on the technical and conceptual understandings learned in Digital Photography I, this course is designed to challenge students to go beyond technical skills and photographic principles, and focus on production and high quality output of still imagery and DSLR video. In-class learning exercises will continue to challenge students to build their digital camera skills, while out-of-studio assignments will become increasingly more in-depth and creatively challenging. A range of tools will be used, including working with RAW files, masks, layers, editing, compositing and grayscale, and color ink-jet printing. Students will pay special attention to ways in which their technical decisions can clarify their artistic intentions. Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and other software applications are used to explore creative and experimental possibilities for processing and manipulating photographs. Open to Classes VI-VIII. Fall semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Digital Photography I
This is a digital photography, video, and mixed media course designed to develop students’ understanding of narrative storytelling through a broad range of projects and digitally-based explorations. From a single image to the moving picture, students will learn the essential elements of storytelling. Beginning with an introduction to the techniques and the aesthetics of still and video based storytelling including camera skills, lighting and exposure, sequencing, sound, color, composition, as well as the craft of identifying important stories and images in everyday life, students will learn the basic techniques and principles through a diverse series of individual and collaborative projects. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Digital Photography I.
Drawing Studio introduces drawing as a practice of observation. Students will approach the illusion of space and form through formal analysis, subjective interpretation and through the human figure. This class is for those who feel challenged by drawing and need more time and practice to develop their ability, and for those who have already acquired certain drawing skills but want to develop these further and more intensely. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall Semester. (.25 credit).
Working with a wide array of materials, paint and surfaces and different approaches to painting, students will explore fundamental painting techniques. This studio introduces basic principles of drawing, composition and color, and emphasizes direct painting in oil. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring Semester. (.25 credit).
This course is for advanced students who already have familiarity with the techniques, processes and ideas that they intend to use, who have taken a number of Upper School art electives and who are prepared to work intensively to prepare a portfolio either for art school or as a supplement to their college application. Open to Classes VII-VIII. Fall and/or spring semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Four semesters of art and permission of instructor.
This course is designed to give students a chance to explore several different techniques in printmaking, including additive and reductive approaches to traditional printmaking techniques and experimental, indirect image-making methods. Exposure to different processes and materials will give students experience in wiping and printing, stamping, stenciling, and the ghost imagery of overprinting, as well as a variety of off-set transfers. Assignments will be both art and design-based. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit).
In this full-credit course, we will explore what it means to be an artist in the 21st century. Studio projects will be augmented by field trips to museums and galleries, films, discussion, collaboration, listening to music and reading poetry. Students are encouraged to think creatively and conceptually and to develop their personal artistic voice in an environment of creative openness and intellectual experimentation. We will look at how culture -- artistic, social, political -- is expressed through visual images. There will be considerable freedom to choose materials and format including but not limited to drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed, media, printmaking, graphic design, photography, video and installation. Students are encouraged to engage with topics from contemporary life, popular culture, history, current events, mass media, advertising and communication such as gender and sexuality, sustainability or technology to name a few and to make links between their art work and the world. This class meets five times a rotation. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall semester. (.5 credit).
Studying different architectural building types including dwellings, public institutions, and sacred spaces, students will be introduced to ideas and problems that affect the ways in which the built environment has been and continues to be shaped in a variety of historical and cultural contexts. Discussions, readings, and presentations will be supplemented by case studies of important local buildings and landmarks, as well as by visits from area architects. In a variety of group and individual assignments, students will learn methodologies for exploring and representing design ideas in drawings and models and have the opportunity to investigate the relationship between space, form, structure and site. This class meets 5 periods per rotation. Open to Classes VII and VIII. Spring semester. (.5 credit).
In art history, students will become familiar with the methods used by art historians to interpret art objects and develop analytical and critical thinking skills. We will focus on a number of major developments in painting, sculpture and architecture and will cover a wide chronological and thematic selection of art, from a variety of cultures from antiquity to the present, and from various places around the world, supported by our weekly visits to the MFA. Upon completion of this course, students will have the tools to recognize important works of art and historical styles as well as understand historical and cultural context. This class meets 5 periods per rotation. Open to Classes VII and VIII. Fall semester. (.5 credit).
Dance IThis beginning-to-intermediate dance technique class introduces students to basic positions, steps, and rhythms of ballet, jazz, modern, and social dances. Classes begin with barre and centering exercises that develop strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, and ritual. “Across the floor exercises” mix ballet, jazz and modern dance steps and sequences leading to a longer “dance combination” at the end of class that connects exercises with musical phrasing. Students will learn ballet terminology in action and will be introduced to historical and contemporary leaders in the field of dance through occasional video showings. A repertory piece will be incorporated into class for informal performance at the end of the term. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall Semester. (.25 credit).
Rooted in contemporary dance, this intermediate-to-advanced dance technique class incorporates jazz, ballet, modern, and social dances, as well as improvisation. Students move through various “warm-up exercises” that develop strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance, and patterns of connectivity in the body. “Across the floor exercises” develop spatial skills, a sense of weight and momentum, and flow; this leads to a longer “dance combination” at the end of class that connects technical skills with musicality, expression and qualities of movement. Students will be introduced to historical and contemporary leaders in the field of dance through occasional video showings and will be asked to discuss observations and interpretation. A repertory piece will be incorporated into class for performance at the end of the term. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring Semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Foundations of Dance or Dance I.
Independent Project in Dance
This is an opportunity for advanced students to set their own goals, move through and dialogue with a creative process that incorporates different approaches and genres of dance, ending the semester in a performance of their original choreography. An individual project proposal that includes goals, a timeline of rehearsals and performances, and a list of sources will be required. Over the semester, students will work primarily independently, with one period per cycle as a regular check-in with their teacher. A final report of the process that includes an artist statement concludes the project. Open to Classes VII-VIII. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Foundations of Dance or Dance I, Dance 2 and permission of the instructor. Does not fulfill graduation requirement.
Students will be introduced to the fundamental building blocks of acting: objectives, obstacles, tactics, stakes, creating a character and learning to use the voice and body effectively onstage. Improvisation games as well as various training methods (including Viewpoints, Suzuki and Laban) will be explored to allow the actor to find multiple ways to access a role. Students will learn audition techniques and work both individually on monologues and in pairs on selected contemporary scenes. Learning proper stage vocabulary and how to critique fellow actors’ work as well as local professional productions will also be a major part of the class. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall Semester. (.25 credit).
This class is for students who would like to explore several different styles and genres of theater through the preparation and performance of different scenes throughout the semester. Students will be exposed to a range of plays by major playwrights that will include comedy, drama, absurdism, classical, farce, magical, and contemporary realism while also incorporating script analysis, character development and multiple acting approaches. We will use Shurtleff’s “Audition” text to more deeply explore how to create specific and exciting scenes and vibrant, well-drawn characters. Learning proper stage vocabulary and how to critique fellow actors work will also be a major part of the class. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring Semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Acting I
Students will explore staging, communication, original scenarios and short scenes from the perspective of both the actor and director in an extremely “hands on” experience. They will be introduced to several aspects of directing including script analysis, talking to actors, staging a scene effectively, creating a concept and rehearsal management. Each student will have the opportunity to direct student actors in scenes as well as continue their own acting training by rehearsing and performing in other students' directing projects. Learning proper stage vocabulary and how to critique fellow directors’ work as well as local professional productions will also be a major part of the class. This class meets 5 periods per rotation. Open to Classes VI-VIII, Fall semester. (.5 credit). Prerequisite: Acting I and Acting II
Independent Project in Directing
This is an opportunity for an advanced student to direct a piece, and she will need to submit her chosen script to the Drama Division for approval. A project proposal that includes the overall vision and goals, as well as a timeline of rehearsals and performances is required. Projects can be done during the Spring or Fall semester. Rehearsal and performance dates must be approved and then coordinated with Winsor’s performing arts calendar. Open to Classes VII-VIII. No more than two students per semester. Prerequisite: Acting I & II, Directing I or Directing, and by permission of instructor. Does not fulfill graduation requirement.
In this course, students will investigate the role design plays in creating live theater. They will explore the disciplines of light, sound and set design through historical and modern examples created for professional theater, looking at a breadth of work from Adolph Appia to Julie Taymor. Students will focus on learning the fundamentals of manipulating our stage mechanisms to realize current Winsor productions as well as creating their own designs. The class is designed for students to get to know their theater space; work will be completed on stage and in the booth as well as in the scene shop and on the catwalks. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall Semester. (.25 credit).
This course will challenge students to learn and perform a variety of repertoire in both large and small ensemble settings, depending on instrumentation. Students will improve musicianship and music theory skills, and they will also learn to collaborate in groups of various sizes. Students need to have proficient note reading and technical skills on one of the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone/euphonium, French horn, tuba, piano, or percussion. Individual practice outside of class is expected. This is a yearlong course, and performance opportunities will be scheduled throughout both semesters. Interested students are asked to complete a brief audition later in the spring. Open to Classes V-VIII. Full year course. (.5 credit). Prerequisite: Audition in the spring and/or by permission of instructor.
In this course, students will learn beginning and advanced guitar techniques through the medium of songs including chords, bar chords, strumming and picking, and singing and playing simultaneously. They will study music theory to use in song transposition and composition, learn to read chord charts and tabs, explore alternative tunings, and play solo riffs. Students will learn to read and play treble clef melodies and play guitar ensembles. They will also explore playing electric bass and drum kit and will work in small bands to arrange and perform songs of their choice. Assessments will be given via recorded videos of their work. Guitars are available for in-school use. A guitar at home for practicing is encouraged but not required. This class meets 5 periods per rotation. Open to Classes V-VIII, Spring semester. (.5 credit).
Students will use digital music technology, digital keyboards, and computer workstations to blend music and technology. Students will learn the basics of creating, composing, recording, and editing music using Garageband, Noteflight, and other software programs. Students will learn basic music concepts through tutorial electronic assignments, small skill based projects, and larger comprehensive creative projects. Open to students in Classes V-VIII. Fall semester. (.25 credit).
Percussion Ensemble I
This course is designed to cover the fundamentals of playing percussion instruments and the application of artistry and expression in performing music. Students will develop skills and knowledge in the areas of world drumming, stick work, drum pad, drum set, intermediate rhythmic reading, ensemble playing, sight-reading, and composing. Techniques of sound production, practice methods, musical styles, and interpretation will be covered. An appreciation for the complexity involved in performing music at a high level will be gained. Students will work towards a final performance at the end of the semester. Open to Classes V-VIII. Fall semester. (.25 credit).
Percussion Ensemble II
Refinement of concepts and techniques from the previous level will be covered. Students will advance to a higher level by learning more complicated rhythms and musical scores, mastering additional stick rudiments, playing more difficult rhythm combinations on drum kit, and performing world drumming ensembles. Interpretation of styles, artistic expression, and performance skills will be practiced through improvisation, solo, and ensemble work. Students will work towards a final performance at the end of the semester. Open to Classes V-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit). Prerequisite: Percussion Ensemble I.
Students from beginning to intermediate levels will develop piano playing skills and techniques. Topics covered will include music reading skills, keyboard technique, music theory, practice strategies, and developing artistic expression. Students will work individually at their own pace with teacher supervision and instruction. They will also have opportunities to do ensemble work. Students will work toward a performance at the end of the semester. Open to students in Classes V-VIII. Spring semester. (.25 credit).
Winsor Small Chorus
This is a select vocal ensemble of approximately 22 voices which will challenge students to learn and perform a wide and varied repertoire of music from Gregorian Chant to 21st century literature. Students need to have proficient note reading and technical skills, and will continue to develop their singing voices and choral skills through a series of vocal, breathing, and physical exercises. This is a yearlong course, and performance opportunities will be scheduled throughout both semesters. Interested students are asked to complete a brief audition later in the spring. Open to Classes VI-VIII. Full year. (.5 credit). Note: Small Chorus members are encouraged but not required to participate in Chorale or Orchestra during the US PAB.
These offerings will be Pass/Fail. Students will receive .25 credits for a year’s worth of participation in the Performing Arts Block, but it will not satisfy the Performing and Visual Arts requirement.
Contemporary dance techniques, improvisation, and choreography will be explored and will culminate in performances at different times during the year. Open to both beginning and more advanced students.
This large choral group will sing a broad range of female choral literature in two and three parts, concentrating on developing the singing voice and basic choral skills. Repertoire selections will include folk songs, world music, spirituals, gospel, pop, a cappella and excerpts from choral masterworks. Performance opportunities will be scheduled throughout the school year. Open to classes V-VIII. Interested singers are asked to complete a brief audition for voice placement.
Upper School Orchestra
The Orchestra is open to intermediate and advanced level instrumentalists in Classes V-VIII and is an opportunity for students to develop their ensemble skills while learning a variety of orchestral repertoire, spanning from traditional classical literature to global folk music. Students need to have proficient note reading and technical skills on one of the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone/euphonium, French horn, tuba, piano, or percussion. Performance opportunities will be arranged throughout the year. Interested instrumentalists are asked to complete a brief audition for placement.
This Performing Arts Block option in the fall is for girls who are currently taking Guitar I and for students who have previous experience playing guitar and who would like to take their skills to the next level. Bar chords, power chords, finger picking, improvising, performance skills, and playing in small bands will be emphasized.
US Contemporary Rock Ensemble
Rock? Pop? Indie? Jazz? Latin? YES! This new Performing Arts Block option in the spring is for singers and instrumentalists who want to play and perform contemporary music of various genres, depending on their skill level and interest. Instruments will include voice, guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and any other instruments students want to include. Space is limited to 12 and auditions will be held.