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 grade students engage in a year-long introduction to the four disciplines of the fine arts, including one semester of dance, drama, and visual arts, and one semester of instrumental and vocal music. Sixth grade students who wish to pursue instrumental music for the full year rather than one semester may indicate this preference on the course request form. Placement into advanced music classes 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 vary from term to term.

Sixth Grade Fine Arts

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 (Orchestra & Band I); 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 of Orchestra & Band I introduces and develops fundamental vocal and instrumental skills that enable students to explore and express their creativity through sound.

Dance

Dance

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

Students deepen technique, movement expression, and choreographic experience. The course includes a variety of dance styles including modern, ballet, hip-hop, breakdance, salsa, swing and more. Students practice skills in choreography and composition, working both individually and collaboratively with peers. Guest artists enrich the learning with special classes and performances. In addition, students may participate in performance events throughout the semester to share their creative work. Dance class is both an opportunity for students to learn more about their own artistic voice and to build community and confidence through group collaboration.

Drama

Play Production: Dramatic Play

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.

Stagecraft: Dramatic Play

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: six to seven mandatory after school and/or evening rehearsals and performances.

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.

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: six to seven mandatory after school and/or evening rehearsals and performances.

Music

Orchestra & Band I

Sixth grade
Semester or full year

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 full year

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
Full Year

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 full year

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

Seventh - twelfth grades
Full Year

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
Second semester

This class is for students who are interested in gaining experience in a group vocal setting. Over the course of the semester, we focus on vocal technique, sight-reading, group singing skills, and performance. We explore a wide variety of styles and genres, reflect on the role that music has played in our own lives, and deepen our understanding of what singing is all about. This class is for students of all experience levels and backgrounds. Performance requirements: Music Day and Spring Concert.

Visual Arts

Semester Classes

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.

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.

Yearbook

Seventh and eighth grades
First semester

This class introduces layout, design, and photography. Students acquire advanced skills in appropriate computer applications to successfully create and publish the school’s yearbook.

Intensive Classes

Art Lab

Seventh - eighth grades
First intensive

This course develops essential skills in creative thinking and art making. Classes offer immersive, exploratory projects for students to nurture their personal creativity and imagination. Lessons explore creative process through exercises in writing, poetry, dance, improvisation, photography and visual art. In addition, students practice technique and form creative habits through work with improvisation, play, observation, collaboration and mindfulness. Students’ creative work during the course develops their art making skills, deepens their understandings of personal creative identity, and provides exposure to many ways of creating. Students practice sharing their work with others and develop skills in responding critically to the work of their peers.

Field trips to explore creative spaces, art studios, and museums in the larger Seattle community as well as guest lessons by professional artists add depth to students’ experiences. During the intensive, students keep an online journal to share their understanding, reflect on lessons, and document their projects and thinking. The course culminates in a Final Showcase in which students share selections of their creative work with an audience.


Filmmaking in Seattle

Seventh and eighth grades
First intensive

Students learn the basics of film production from idea generation to final edits. The course integrates the creative and practical forms of visual communication through experimental, dramatic, and documentary filmmaking. Technical skills with an emphasis on scripting, storyboarding, and digital editing enable students to conceptualize ideas and explore image, motion, sound, and time. Student voice and creative expression are strongly encouraged. The central project of the course includes students choosing to tell a true story from their life (they can choose documentary, narrative, or experimental to express this story). Final projects will be shared in a Film Festival at Northwest Film Forum or Seattle International Film Festival and online. Submitting films to NFFTY will be an option as well.


The Graphic Novel

Seventh - eighth grades
First intensive

This course focuses on the conception, design, and production of a visual narrative piece. Students read examples of comics and graphic novels that bring together writing and visuals to tell their stories. Using these pieces as inspiration, students then develop their own characters and storylines, write and draw the piece, and produce an anthology series distributed at UPrep.

Turning Pages: An Introduction to Book Arts

Seventh - twelfth grades
First intensive

Students are both producers and presenters of information in this hands-on course. With a focus on creating a portfolio of book structures, students learn the basic elements of bookbinding by creating models that build progressively. They learn about multicultural history, construction, materials, tools, skills, inspiration, and decoration as well as contemporary trends in book arts. This immersive class, covering the fundamentals of paper, adhesives, and technique, is a perfect introduction to book arts representing multiple cultures and time periods.


UPrep Middle School_Theater