Fine Arts

Every student receives a balanced and comprehensive program of instruction in the arts. Students learn the basic techniques, terminology, and vocabulary of the major media by participating in experiences that develop and exercise aesthetic functions. Techniques, processes, and experiences form a foundation for thinking about the uniqueness of the individual, as well as an awareness of the relationships among the arts, the individual, and society.

Sixth graders engage in a year-long introduction to the four disciplines of the fine arts: dance, drama, music, and visual arts. Sixth grade students wishing to participate in Sinfonia or Jazz and Orchestra I rather than the fine arts rotation may do so. Families should indicate this preference on the course registration form. Placement into Sinfonia is determined by audition.

Seventh and eighth grade students are required to take a minimum of two semester-long courses in any of the fine arts disciplines. The following courses are currently in the Fine Arts department curriculum. Specific offerings may vary from semester to semester.

Courses in this department:

Sixth Grade Fine Arts

This full-year arts sampler provides each student with an experiential introduction to dance, drama, visual arts, and music. Students spend one semester exploring vocal and instrumental music; the other semester is split evenly between dance, drama, and visual art. Dance includes basic movement and an introduction to the elements of dance through a variety of dance styles and techniques. Drama focuses on two basic elements of theater: story and character. Students explore their inherent theatricality using improvisation, theater games, storytelling exercises, and other tools. Visual Art focuses on self-expression and exploration via the elements of line and color, exposing students to a variety of ideas, styles, media, and techniques. The semester-long music segment introduces and develops fundamental vocal and instrumental skills that enable students to explore and express their creativity through sound.

Dance

Middle School Dance

Seventh and eighth grades

This class teaches a variety of dance styles and techniques ranging from basic ballet, modern, hip-hop, break dancing, social dances, and creative movement. The class emphasizes alignment, postural support, and movement through space. In addition, students create their own movement styles through improvisation and creative explorations. Students may participate in performance events.

Drama

Middle School Play Production

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

This course is designed to develop an understanding of the theatrical production process from mounting a script to post-production critique. Students participate in auditions, research, rehearsal, and performance and work with the Stagecraft class to produce the Middle School play. The Play Production class will include one non-performing student who serves as the stage manager for the production, assisting the director throughout the semester. Prior experience in Stagecraft preferred. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four to six after school or evening rehearsals, one matinee and one evening performance.

Middle School Stagecraft

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

Working in conjunction with the Play Production class, Stagecraft students study the technical aspects of theater, including the design and production of scenery, lighting, sound, properties, costumes, and publicity. During the semester, students research, design and construct all elements of the set. Students serve as the stage crew during tech rehearsals and performances, providing production support, technical direction, and stage management. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four to six mandatory after school and/or evening rehearsals and performances.

Middle School Play Production - Musical

Seventh and eighth grades
Second semester

This course is designed to develop an understanding of the theatrical production process from the first reading of a script to post-production critique. Students participate in auditions, research, rehearsal, and performance and work with the Stagecraft class to produce the Middle School play. The class will include one nonperforming student who serves as the stage manager for the production, assisting the director throughout the semester. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four to six mandatory after school and/or evening rehearsals and performances.

Middle School Stagecraft - Musical

Seventh and eighth grades
Second semester

Working in conjunction with the Play Production class, Stagecraft students study the technical aspects of theater, including the design and production of scenery, lighting, sound, properties, costumes, and publicity. During the semester, students research, design and construct all elements of the set. Students serve as the stage crew during tech rehearsals and performances, providing production support, technical direction, and stage management. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four to six mandatory after school and/or evening rehearsals and performances.

“Yes and…”: Making Theatre with Improv

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

“Yes and…” develops confidence, flexibility, adventurousness, and performance skills through the medium and playfulness of improv theatre. The ability to improvise – working with what you have, responding to changing circumstances and going with the flow – is a skill that is as applicable to daily life as it is to theatre. This class uses two classic forms of improvisation – games and long-form – to explore character development, build the ability to think quickly and respond readily to prompts and learn to tell a story in an improvisatory way. In these ways, the course prepares students for experiences in which quick thinking, comfort and ease in presentation is required. The final performance is a low-key, lightly-produced event presented during the class period. The performance is open to family but does not require any special scheduling.

Music

Orchestra & Band I

Sixth grade; year-long class

Beginning sixth grade musicians can develop their abilities in this year-long instrumental instruction course. Instruction in winds, strings, and percussion will allow young musicians to select the correct instrument, develop skills and technique, and prepare to become part of the jazz and/or orchestral performance groups. Students in this course will not participate in the sixth grade Fine Arts rotation.

Orchestra & Band II

Seventh – twelfth grades; semester or year-long class

This class is intended for intermediate-level instrumentalists seeking to advance their technique and musicianship. We will build fundamentals, working on ensemble playing, practice techniques, basic theory, and listening skills in order to prepare and present a performance. The course is designed to prepare students for participation in the jazz and/or orchestral performance groups.

Chamber Orchestra

Seventh – twelfth grades; year-long class

Chamber Orchestra is UPrep’s classical instrumental performing group. Each year we play at the Solo and Ensemble competition and perform at either the Western Washington University Orchestra Festival or the Northwest Orchestra Festival in March. The festivals will be preceded by our annual Orchestra Retreat at the beginning of second semester. Because of our performance exposure, the commitment level and expectations for student preparedness are high. The class is open to all orchestral instruments. The Puma String Quartet is drawn from this class each year. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Rehearsal and performance requirements: after-school rehearsals once a week for 2.5 hours during the last two weeks of February and the first two weeks of March, and two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Sinfonia

Seventh – twelfth grades; semester or year-long class

This introductory orchestra is designed for all string players as well as woodwind, brass, and percussion players who are familiar with note reading and rhythms and who demonstrate competence on their instrument. We will build our group-playing skills and work on music that is both fun and challenging. We will play for the local Solo and Ensemble competition and perform at either the Western Washington University Orchestra Festival or the Northwest Orchestra Festival in March. Full-year participation is strongly encouraged. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three concerts and open houses, four after-school rehearsals to prepare for the March festivals, as well as weekend performance trips.

Intermediate Jazz Ensemble

Intermediate Jazz Ensemble is UPrep’s intermediate jazz instrumental group. This class is designed for intermediate-level instrumentalists who are familiar with note reading and rhythms. The focus of this class is on building skills playing in a group setting, basic improvisation, jazz articulations, and preparation for the advanced jazz ensemble. We will participate in two jazz festivals each year and perform twice a year at a Seattle area jazz club. This class is open to students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, and guitar. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Advanced Jazz Ensemble

This is UPrep’s advanced jazz instrumental performing group. We participate in three or four regional jazz festivals and perform twice a year at a Seattle area jazz club. Because of our performance exposure, the commitment level and expectations for student preparedness is high. This class is open to students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, and guitar. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Vocal Music

Seventh through twelfth grades
First semester

This class is an opportunity to learn more about voice and build community and confidence through group singing. Students will improve vocal technique, learn to read music, sing songs from a variety of places around the world, learn about ways that music is being used to engage and inspire people, and develop unique student-driven performances. Vocal Music is a great way to increase group singing skills, expand knowledge of music, and share songs with others in the University Prep community. Performance requirements: Music Day and end-of-semester concert.

Visual Arts

Art Foundations

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

This course is a creative journey into the foundations of making art. Students will explore self-expression while learning basic techniques for drawing, painting, design, and building three-dimensional forms. Projects may include cardboard sculpture, papier mâché, abstract painting, drawing from observation, and comics/cartooning. Students will also explore how their projects fit into the context of art history.

Book Arts

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

Book Arts explores the tradition, evolution and use of the book. With a focus on book structures, students learn decorative techniques, materials, tools, hand skills, inspiration, history, and contemporary trends in book arts. Completing as many as a dozen different book structures, students merge inspiration, design, content and structure. Students compare the book to other media for communication and storage of information, and explore the current artistic explosion of book as art. Each student creates their own small library of handmade work in a physical and digital portfolio, and completes independent and collaborative projects.

Photography

Seventh and eighth grades
First or second semester

This course is an introduction to photography in which students explore the basics of traditional black and white photography and transition into digital. Students learn basic camera functions for film and digital cameras, exposure, lighting, composition, darkroom usage, and film development. Through weekly assignments, themes, and portfolios, students develop observational skills, improve critical and creative thinking, and learn a variety of photographic applications.

World Art

Seventh and eighth grades
Second semester

Students create a portfolio of original artwork based on techniques from diverse locations around the world. They learn about global culture while gaining a wide variety of art skills and exploring the ways in which they can express their own experiences, memories, and stories through art. Projects may include media such as henna, paper cutting, various types of painting, Celtic knotwork, and sand art. The course emphasizes both the artistic techniques and the cultural significance of each project as it relates to students’ own lives and cultures.