Performing Arts Department

Mr. Tom O’Toole, Director

Phone: 508-841-8826 Email: totoole@shrewsbury.k12.ma.us

The vision of the Shrewsbury High School Performing Arts Department is to instill in our students and community a life-long passion for the performing arts that promotes personal and professional artistic interests beyond high school graduation.

The mission of the Shrewsbury High School Performing Arts Department is to provide a creative curriculum with engaging, collaborative and inclusive opportunities that will inspire critical artistic thought and a personal passion for every student enrolled in a performing arts course.

Course Offerings:

Course Offerings Grades 9-12

Possible Four-Year Performing Arts Experience Examples. There are many more combinations.

Possible Four-Year Performing Arts Experience Examples

Foundations of Music (6066)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective             Semester 1 only                       Grade(s): 11 and 12                 Prerequisite: Director’s Approval, signature required

This is an elective course for 11th or 12th-grade students who have an interest in pursuing careers in education or human services. This course may be taken to meet, in part, a student's music elective requirement or as an additional elective course. Students under the direction of the teaching staff, serve as peer partners in a unified music education setting. All students will have the opportunity to research, prepare and explore educational, music-based lessons, fostering creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking in a diverse setting. Previous music skill is not a requirement. This class will meet two times per 7 day cycle, opposite of Foundations of Health and Foundations of Art.

Orchestra (A-6000)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                Full Year                                     Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Prerequisite: Experience with middle school Orchestra or equivalent. Previous class or private instruction.

Orchestra is a performance course available for violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists. This class explores concepts in musicianship, ear training, theory, music literacy, musical terminology, and music history as well as teaching leadership qualities. String-specific skills such as bow management, shifting, vibrato, tone production will also be explored. Students in Orchestra will rehearse and perform quality orchestra literature. The organization performs for school concerts throughout the year and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for Central District and All-State Music Festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Honors Chamber Orchestra (H-6026)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                  Full Year                                      Grades: 9-12                     Honors Prerequisite: Selection by audition

Honors Chamber Orchestra is designed to develop a student’s highest musical potential through performing advanced quality literature in orchestra repertoire. Students are selected for participation by audition held in the previous spring to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. Advanced concepts in ear training, theory, music literacy, musical terminology, and music history will be explored. The organization performs for school concerts throughout the year and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for Central District and All-State Music Festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Concert Band (6001)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                     Full Year                                    Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Prerequisite: Experience with Middle School Bands or equivalent. Previous class or private instruction.

Concert Band is a performance course available for percussionists, brass, and woodwind players. This class explores concepts in musicianship, ear training, theory, music literacy, musical terminology, and music history as well as teaching leadership qualities. Students in Concert Band will rehearse and perform quality wind band literature. The organization performs for school concerts throughout the year, and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for Central District and All-State Music Festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Wind Ensemble Honors (6002)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                        Full Year                                      Grades: 9-12                      Honors          Prerequisite: Selection by audition

Honors Wind Ensemble is designed to develop a student’s highest musical potential through performing advanced quality literature in the wind band repertoire. Students are selected for participation by audition held the previous spring to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. Advanced concepts in ear training, theory, music literacy, musical terminology and music history will be explored. The organization performs for school concerts throughout the year, and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for Central District and All-State Music Festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation. This course meets four days per cycle.

Jazz Band Honors (6003T)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                          Full Year                                     Grades: 9-12                       Honors

Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor, All wind instrument performers are concurrently enrolled in Wind Ensemble Honors or Concert Band.

Students participating in Jazz Band will play the music of studio, dance, jazz and rock bands. Pop-ballads, Latin, jazz, and rock concert arrangements are rehearsed and performed. Activities include reading from sheet music, analyzing melodic lines, jazz rhythms and chord progressions, and improvisation. This is a course intended primarily for band members. Any interested guitar, bass and keyboard players must audition for the instructor prior to acceptance. All rhythm, (including percussion), are limited to two per instrument. The organization performs for school concerts throughout the year, and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for Central District and All-State Music Festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation. This course meets two days per cycle.

Jazz Band Honors/Wind Ensemble Honors (6035)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                             Full Year                                     Grades: 9-12                       Honors         Prerequisite: Selected by audition

Students participating in this accelerated course will rehearse and prepare quality literature for the full year, meeting 6 days per cycle. *All content and requirements previously described for Honors Jazz Band and Honors Wind Ensemble apply.

Jazz Band Honors/Concert Band Honors (6036)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                            Full Year                                        Grades: 9-12                       Honors         Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Students participating in this accelerated course will rehearse and play quality literature for the full year, meeting 6 days per cycle. *All content and requirements previously described for Honors Jazz Band and Concert Band apply. Independent work will be monitored and assessed.

World Drumming (6055)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                             Semester                                         Grade: 9-12                      A Level

World drumming is the exploration of percussion instruments and traditions from a variety of cultures from around the world. This is a course where students use hands-on participation to communicate through percussion instruments, perform in drum circles, compose their own drum grooves and provide accompaniment for other arts. A majority of the activities will focus on the West African ensemble drumming, Caribbean drum ensembles and the songs that are sung along with the drumming. No drumming experience is required. Grading will be based on class performance, playing evaluations and written tests.

Introduction to Guitar (6038)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                             Semester                                           Grades: 9-12                     A Level

Intro to Guitar is a one-semester designed to enhance students’ appreciation for music through playing the guitar. The course will cover the basics of the instrument and an application of essential music theory fundamentals including music notation, chord symbols, and tablature. Students will study the role of the guitar in various genres including classical, blues, jazz, rock, and popular music.

Guitar Ensemble (6038T)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                             Semester                                             Grades: 9-12                      A Level

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Introduction to Guitar or with permission of the instructor through demonstrated proficiency in reading standard music notation. Guitar Ensemble is a continuation of the Introduction to Guitar course. The emphasis of this course will be on performance in various settings including large ensembles, quartets, trios, utilizing an expanded range of notes and rhythms. Students will also develop an understanding of basic concepts of music theory through composing and arranging projects. Students will need to have their own guitar for practice at home.

Freshman Choir (6004T)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                              Full Year                                                  Grade: 9                           A Level

This course is available for all freshmen who have a desire to learn more about singing and performing with a high school vocal ensemble. All are accepted. Vocal techniques are developed and an emphasis is placed on, breath control, diction, posture, and intonation. Literature includes pop and show tunes, folk songs, spirituals, and classical selections for SAB, (SATB) voicing. This group performs for school concerts throughout the year. Students are encouraged to audition for MMEA music festivals. Performances are an integral component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Mixed Choir (6005T)

Meets Expectation for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                                 Full Year                                                Grades: 10 -12                 A Level

Students are selected for participation by audition to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. The music performed is written for four to six-part harmony. Students encounter music of many styles and genres. This group performs for school concerts throughout the year. Students are encouraged to audition for MMEA musical festivals. Performances are an important component of this course and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Mixed Choir Honors (6059)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                                  Full Year                                                 Grades: 10 -12                 Honors

Prerequisite: Placement by audition. A student must have taken Freshman choir to be eligible for sophomore year or one year of SHS choir. All are accepted to a vocal ensemble.

Students are selected for participation by audition to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. The music performed is written for four to six part harmony. Students encounter music of many styles and genres. This group performs for school concerts throughout the year. Students are encouraged to audition for MMEA musical festivals. Performances, small group assessments and classwork/assignments are important components of this course level and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Treble Choir Honors (6037)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                                Full Year                                                   Grades: 10-12                      Honors

Prerequisite: Placement by audition. *All are accepted to a vocal ensemble.

Students are selected for participation by audition to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. The music is of an advanced level for three and four-part treble harmony. Students encounter music of many styles from early as well as modern composers. This group performs for school concerts throughout the year, and often prepares for other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for MMEA music festivals. Performances, small group assessments and classwork/assignments are important components of this course level and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

A Cappella Choir Honors (6006)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Elective                                 Full Year                                                    Grades: 10-12                        Honors

Prerequisite: Placement by audition. All are accepted to a vocal ensemble.

Students are selected for participation by audition to ensure a well-balanced ensemble. The music is of an advanced level for SATB and SATB divisi harmony. Students encounter music of many  styles from early as well as modern composers, including vocal jazz. This group performs for numerous community events throughout the school year, in addition to scheduled concerts and home football games. Often the ensemble will perform at other venues, including competitions and festivals. Students are encouraged to audition for MMEA music festivals.  Performances, small group assessments and classwork/assignments are important components of this course level and students are required to participate as part of their commitment to this group and part of their evaluation.

Techniques of Music Theory I (6007)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,6,7,8

Elective                                   Semester                                                      Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance.

Techniques of Music Theory is designed to introduce and improve skills of rhythmic and melodic sight-reading, ear training, and solfege, (sight singing). Additionally, this course will introduce the tools and vocabulary necessary for composing and analyzing music, and students will be taught basic piano skills. Students will be exposed to the realm of electronic music and composition through the use of the computer and synthesizer at the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) workstation. This is a valuable course for any student who wishes to continue studying music after high school.

Advanced Placement Music Theory (6042)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,6,7,8

Elective                                     Full Year                                                    Grades: 10-12                   Advanced Placement

Prerequisite: Students should be able to read and write musical notation, and it is strongly recommended that the student has acquired at least basic performance skills in voice or on an instrument.

The AP Music Theory course corresponds to two semesters of a typical introductory college music theory course that covers topics such as musicianship, theory, musical materials, and procedures. Musicianship skills including dictation and other listening skills, sight-singing, and keyboard harmony are considered an important part of the course. Through the course, students develop the ability to recognize, understand, and describe basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. Development of aural skills is a primary objective. Performance is also part of the learning process, with students learning to accurately sing short melodies from printed music. Students understand basic concepts and terminology by listening to and performing a wide variety of music.  Students will also be able to write and analyze four-part vocal works in the style of the Common Practice period. Notational skills, speed, and fluency with basic materials are emphasized. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

History of Rock and Roll (6063T)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                                      Semester                                                 Grades: 9-12                       A Level         Prerequisite: None

History of American Music: Rock and Roll is designed to explore one of our country’s most powerful art forms. From its roots in blues, country, gospel, and R&B, Rock and Roll and its successor forms have touched all facets of our lives, private and public for over five decades. Rock and Roll is experienced not simply as a culture or sound, but also in cinematic and television culture, as well as literature, fashion, politics, dance, and more.

Music Technology (6008T)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester                                                     Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Music Technology is a fine arts-science course that will familiarize students with the principles and practices used in manipulating sound and music production. A variety of technology including the latest version of Apple's Logic Pro professional music production software, microphones, iPads, and MIDI controllers will be explored and utilized throughout the course. The process of mastering multi-tracked recordings will be developed, as will skills of sequencing and music composition through use of the MIDI workstation. Students will create an online portfolio of recorded works.

Theatre Arts I (6011)

Meets Expectation for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                                    Semester                                                        Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Theatre Arts is a one semester elective that is activity-based. Participants will learn basic performance skills incrementally, beginning with exercises in stage movement and improvisation. Although the exercise format continues through the semester, the focus shifts toward more formal acting skills. Character development and motivation are explored through small group scene study. This course culminates with a final one-act theatre presentation.

Theatre Arts II (6040)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3, 4, 5,6,7

Elective                                     Semester                                                        Grades: 10-12                      A Level

Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance.

This course is for serious drama students, and is a continuation of Theatre Arts Level I. Greater academic challenge will be provided through a variety of practical activities and projects that will include styles of dramatic literature, styles of acting, playwriting, voice, movement, and stage directing. Students will also work on projects that investigate the nature & drama of social issues as they continue to advance their stage skills. Opportunities for public performance will be provided.

Voice in Acting (6056)   (NOT OFFERED IN 2021-2022)

Meets Expectations for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Elective                                    Semester                                                           Grades: 9-12                       A Level

This class is an exploration of the student’s voice. The main focus of the class is the learning of voice work as a preparation for performance (musical, theatrical, or class presentation) – a series of exercises designed to liberate the speaking voice from habitual psychophysical tension and develop vocal range, stamina, clarity, power and sensitivity to impulse. Work will include discovery of sound in the body, awareness and opening of the channel (jaw, tongue, and soft palate), exploration of resonance, vocal freedom and range, isolating and strengthening resonating chambers and articulation exercises. Group and individual exercises designed to stimulate and develop the imagination, physical and sensory awareness, creativity and capacity for ensemble work will be practiced as a basis for vocal presence. Text work will include a monologue from a published play, poetry or a published musical theatre solo.

Theatrical Design (6034T).   (NOT OFFERED IN 2021-2022)

Meets Expectation for Student Learning 1,2,3,4,6,7,8

Elective                                    Semester                                                               Grades: 9-12                       A Level

Theatrical Design will explore the design process of a show including set design, lighting design, costume/make-up design. Students will learn how to read and analyze a play for specific design elements. Students will design for two classroom productions selected by the instructor. No prior theatre knowledge is needed to register for this course. Students will be introduced to professional resources in the theatrical field.

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