Arts Curriculum


Through Shattuck-St. Mary’s Performing and Visual Arts programming, students can pick up a guitar or lace up
tap shoes for the first time, hone their craft in our premier ensembles, or study through private lessons and Advanced Placement offerings.

Middle School Courses

  • Beginning Dance (Grades 6-9)

    Beginning dance will introduce the student to a variety of dance forms through movement, performance viewing, group work, and corresponding history and terminology. Class will include a warm-up, locomotors, and a movement combination, also called a phrase. Students will further be encouraged and challenged to express themselves through writing, class discussions and student choreography. All enrolled students will be required to perform in the term Performing Arts or Dance Showcase.

    • Prerequisite: None. Students are encouraged to take more than one term of Beginning Dance before advancing to Intermediate Dance

    One-term course

  • Chorus 1

    Chorus 1 is an ensemble made up of students with varying degrees of singing experience. A variety of musical styles is utilized in learning vocal technique, music reading, and other skills necessary to become an independent musician. There are several performance opportunities for this chorus throughout the school year as well as opportunities for travel.

    One-term or Year-long course

  • Introduction to Digital Video

    Introduction to Digital Video provides a hands-on, age-appropriate introduction to digital video production. Students will produce a variety of projects including a fake newscast, a video poem, a pixilation project, and a one minute narrative film. Students will experience all phases of video production from the Pre-production stages of proposal writing and storyboarding to the Production stage, which includes learning about lighting and composition and operating digital video equipment.The Post-production stage will give students the opportunity to explore video editing.

    This video course exercises planning and organizational skills and stresses collaboration and resourcefulness. It is intended to prepare students to excel in the Upper School Digital Video 1 elective and offers valuable skills that can be applied to creative projects in other classes. The course will give students the opportunity to analyze a variety of films, advertisements, and television content which will serve to develop media literacy and provide a new vocabulary for critiquing visual culture.

    One-term course-9th Grade

  • Introduction to Drawing and Painting

    The focus of an Introduction to Drawing and Painting course is developing basic drawing and painting skills and techniques. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of two-dimensional media, including drawing pencils, colored pencils, charcoal, watercolors, and acrylic painting.

    Students in Drawing and Painting will be engaged in several art and design projects that demonstrate their understanding of the Elements and Principles of Art. The elements of art include Form, Line, Shape, Color, Texture, Space, and Value. The principles include Emphasis, Balance, Harmony, Variety, Movement, Rhythm, Proportion, and Unity. Students develop a new vocabulary for talking and writing about the visual arts and visual culture. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of artists as they explore and analyze relevant art movements and significant art works.

    One-term course-9th Grade

  • Middle School Art A

    The focus of Middle School Art A is drawing, painting, illustration and book arts. Art historical background is provided to give artwork a broader cultural context. Students will learn how to use line and value to draw what they see. Making drawings from observation will help strengthen this foundation. They will develop an understanding of color theory that will help them make paintings.

    Collage and mixed media techniques will introduce playfulness and juxtaposition. Illustration is introduced when students are asked to illustrate a story visually using three collages. We will explore the history of illustration and book arts as we create illustrations for stories. The final project is an illustrated book that students write, illustrate and bind themselves.

    One-term course

  • Middle School Art B

    The focus of MS Art B is the exploration of sculpture, ceramics, and three-dimensional design. Students will develop skill in utilizing line in a 3 dimensional context with a wire sculpture project. The wire sculpture is presented as a three-dimensional line drawing. For the assemblage project, found objects and other materials will be transformed into sculpture, giving new meaning to unique combinations of things. Students will use hand-building techniques to create ceramic sculptures and pottery.

    The final project will be a three-dimensional design project ranging from architecture to product design to fashion design. Students will use drawing, words and model-making to communicate their concepts. We will also investigate relevant connections between the fine arts and design.

    One-term course

  • Middle School Art C

    Students in MS Art C have the opportunity to explore a variety of printmaking processes. Four major printmaking techniques including silkscreen, monotype, relief printing and lithography will be introduced. Students will design patterns and use batik techniques to dye fabric. Batik, a wax-resist dyeing technique used on textile, is a printmaking process applied to cloth. For a silkscreen project, students will develop simple graphics and print in several colors using separate screens.

    The process of lithography will be explored using Xerox photocopies coated with a resist that are inked and run through a press. Students will ink plates by hand and transfer several layers of color from the same plate to paper for a Monotype project. Relief printing will be explored by making linocut reduction prints, a process similar to woodcut. Students will also have the opportunity to discover the Japanese art of fish printing.

    One-term course

  • Private Lessons: Instrumental and Vocal

    Lessons can be arranged in voice, piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, violin, viola, cello, bass, and guitar. There is an additional fee for private lessons, and highly qualified instructors are drawn from a wide region including nearby St. Olaf College, the Twin Cities area, and the Shattuck-St. Mary’s School community.

    • No credit is received for private lessons.
  • String Ensemble I

    This is a beginning level course open to all students, grades 6-9, who would like to play a string instrument (i.e., violin, viola, cello, bass). Students will explore note reading, playing position, pizzicato, bowing techniques, and left hand techniques. Repertoire will include music form a vast array of styles. Students will participate in a concert during the year as they progress.

    • Private instruction is available for an additional fee.

    Year-long course

  • Theatre Arts 1 (Grades 6-9)

    Introduction to Theatre Arts will give students the opportunity to discover their creative abilities in acting, while being given an overall appreciation of the theatre space and process. Through acting exercises, improvisations, and film study, students will be introduced to the world of the actor, including physical and vocal warm-ups, stage direction, character analysis, theatre vocabulary and history, and basic stage combat.

    We will explore and examine works of drama, comedy, and musical theatre. Students will also have the opportunity to perform short scenes and monologues for their peers. The focus of this class will be on creativity and communication.

    One-term course

  • Wind & Percussion Ensemble

    The Winds and Percussion class focuses on the fundamentals of music theory, ear training, and large and small ensemble playing. Rehearsal and performance etiquette are also taught. Repertoire is tailored to meet the needs of the students, and small ensemble playing is emphasized throughout. Occasional written homework is assigned to reinforce music history and theory.

    Students are given opportunities to perform throughout the year in concerts, recitals and at various assemblies and functions. Students are expected to practice outside of class, both for their individual development and to prepare ensemble music before rehearsal. Private instruction is available for an additional fee.

    • Additional Expenses: Text, Instruments, Supplies, Private lessons

    Year-long course

     

Upper School Courses

  • Advanced Dance

    Advanced Dance class is designed for students looking to develop an advanced understanding of the concepts of Modern Dance including additional dance styles: jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and cultural dance forms. Students will further practice choreography techniques and learn to develop a personal choreographic style, practice improvisation and be introduced to creating dance for video.

    All enrolled students will be required to perform in the term Performing Arts or Dance Showcase.

    • Prerequisite: A minimum of one term of Beginning Dance and Intermediate Dance or admittance by teacher approval.

    One-term course, may be taken multiple terms.

  • Advanced Placement Studio Art

    The Advanced Placement portion of this course involves artistically advanced students developing a portfolio that shows the breadth of their artistic experience as well as their ability to explore, in a series, one particular concentration. Over the course of the year AP students work on building this portfolio, and in the spring their work is sent to the College Board of Advanced Placement for evaluation.

    • Prerequisite: Advanced Studio Art 1 or II

    Year-long course

  • Advanced Studio Art I

    The Advanced Studio portion of this class can be begun in the student’s sophomore or junior year. In this class students are given focused assignments that are open to a high level of personal creativity. Some of the work completed in this course can be used in the students’ AP portfolio.

    Prerequisite: at least two first level classes and one second level course, or permission of the instructor

    Year-long course

  • Advanced Studio Art II

    Advanced Studio Art II is a precursor to AP Studio Art or can be taken as a final level art class instead of AP Studio Art. In this course the students are required to work on two series of works. The first series has four artworks developed around a concept. The second, and final series, has five artworks developed around a different concept than the first. This course is an excellent way to build a college portfolio or to build a body of work which can be used in the AP portfolio the next year.

    Year-long course

  • Arch Dance Company

    The Arch Dance Company supports the school and extended community by scheduling numerous performances throughout the year with a repertoire that includes a wide variety of dance styles. The group enjoys visits from touring companies, takes master classes from guest artists, and performs off campus at various venues. Additionally, on campus performances are given several times each year. Additional, after-school rehearsals are required and fulfill the boarding student co-curricular activity requirement.

    • By audition only

    Year-long course

     

  • Beginning Dance (Upper School)

    Beginning dance will introduce the student to a variety of dance forms through movement, performance viewing, group work, and corresponding history and terminology. Class will include a warm-up, locomotors, and a movement combination, also called a phrase. Students will further be encouraged and challenged to express themselves through writing, class discussions and student choreography. All enrolled students will be required to perform in the term Performing Arts or Dance Showcase.

    • Prerequisite: None. Students are encouraged to take more than one term of Beginning Dance before advancing to Intermediate Dance

    One-term course

  • Guitar I

    These courses are designed to teach the students the basics in playing the guitar. The instructor covers music literacy by educating students to learn to read notes on a staff, (tab) tablature, and chord symbols. The students are given the opportunity to learn and perform several basic and intermediate chords which will allow them to play a variety of songs. The students also learn several short songs, melodies, and riffs used in classical, blues, rock, and popular music. Students are encouraged to bring songs to class that they want to learn. This course is graded on attendance, effort, and completion of in-class performances.

    One-term course

  • Guitar II

    These courses are designed to teach the students the basics in playing the guitar. The instructor covers music literacy by educating students to learn to read notes on a staff, (tab) tablature, and chord symbols. The students are given the opportunity to learn and perform several basic and intermediate chords which will allow them to play a variety of songs. The students also learn several short songs, melodies, and riffs used in classical, blues, rock, and popular music. Students are encouraged to bring songs to class that they want to learn.

    • Prerequisite: Guitar 1 or instructor’s permission.

    One-term course

  • Intermediate Dance

    Intermediate Dance is a continuation of Beginning Dance. Students will further develop their understanding of different dance styles and corresponding backgrounds through daily technique, improvisation, performance viewing and choreography. Additionally, we will explore the importance of dance in different cultures. All enrolled students will be required to perform in the term Performing Arts or Dance Showcase.

    • Prerequisite: A minimum of one term of Beginning Dance or admittance by teacher approval.

    One-term course

  • Introduction to Screenwriting/Film Making

    Introduction to Screenwriting/Film Making is for students interested in the craft of writing, shooting, and editing a film. Students can expect to complete between 15 and 20 pages of an original screenplay, workshop their writing in class, view a variety of films, and participate in class discussions regarding story and scene structure, dialogue, character development, and cinematic conventions.

    Students will study a variety of filming techniques, including shot composition and scene transitions, for the purposes of filming and editing a short film, either independently or collaboratively, with the goal of submitting it to a short film festival. Students will be able to use the many school resources at hand to complete their work.

    One-term course, not offered every year

     

  • Music Theory

    Music Theory is an intermediate to advanced level course designed for the student who wants to pursue further study in the area of music. The course will emphasize material in the areas of musical notation, major and minor key signatures, musical styles, sight singing, musical dictation, and figured bass four-part voice leading. After completing the course the students can elect to take the MMTA theory exams. Music theory is designed to introduce elements of music through reading, writing, listening and analyzing music of all styles. This class meets twice a week year round.

    • Prerequisite: currently enrolled in pre-conservatory or vocal performance program.

    Year-long course

  • Piano I

    Topics covered include: introducing the piano (acoustic and digital), orientation to the staff, bass clef notes: middle C, B, A, G, F; 3rds (skips) on the staff, eighth notes; bass C position: C, D, E, F, G; treble space notes: F, A, C, E; treble C position: treble C, D, E, F, G; intervals: 4th and 5th; sharps and flats; I and V7 chords; three G positions. Accelerated piano will meet daily for one class period.

    This is an introductory course, and no previous experience is necessary.

    One-term course

  • Piano II

    Topics covered include: review of book 1, major pentascales: C, F, G, D, A, E; tempo marks, major pentascales, minor pentascales, ledger line C’s, cross-hand arpeggios, the sixth, the C major scale, primary chords in C major (I, IV, and V7), pedaling, eighth rest, dotted quarter note, the G major scale, the F major scale. Accelerated piano will meet daily for one class period.

    One-term course

  • Players

    This year-long commitment is for students who are truly attracted to all aspects of theatre arts. The focus of this class will be on acting, as well as on overall theatre production. Players will have the opportunity to explore, in depth, important aspects of theatre such as auditioning, character development, improvisation, script writing and analysis, playwriting, directing, marketing, and acting for the camera. They will also explore, in the form of independent studies, new and personal avenues of interest such as set construction, puppetry, stage combat, masked theater, children’s theater, lighting, and sound.

    Players will produce a small show from start to finish, covering all the essential aspects. Students will also serve as MC/hosts, or perform, for a variety of on-campus events. Players participate in each school play/musical in some capacity, and will have the opportunity to travel to other theaters to encounter, analyze, and learn from their productions, as well.

    • Prerequisite: Previous experience, interview and/or approval from the instructor.

    Year-long course

  • Scenes and the Stage

    Scenes and the Stage will offer a theatre opportunity to students whose exhaustive time commitments don’t afford them the time to be involved in the school’s larger main stage
    productions. Students will learn the craft of acting through general theatre process, theatre vocabulary, and improvisation. They will also explore character development through scene work, from the realms of theatre, TV, and film. This class culminates in public performance pieces, either in the WeCreate Center or in Newhall, depending on availability.

    One-term course

  • Shattuck-St. Mary’s Chamber Choir

    Shattuck-St. Mary’s Chamber Choir is an extension of the Upper School choir and members are selected through an audition process. The Chamber Choir performs a wide variety of musical styles including pop, jazz and musical theater. Participation in concerts and school wide events is mandatory. Parents will be responsible for the purchase of a concert dress for female students and a tuxedo for male students who will be participating in this class.

    Year-long course

  • Shattuck-St. Mary’s Chamber Orchestra

    Any student who has played an orchestral instrument for at least one year is eligible to participate in the orchestra. The core repertoire is taken from composers Bach, Handel, and Mozart, among others. The students in Chamber Orchestra have the opportunity to perform small ensemble chamber music, string orchestra music, and full symphonic orchestral music when combined with the Wind Ensemble. Great attention is given to musical expression and orchestral precision.

    Performance opportunities are offered on the Shattuck Campus, honors orchestras, and Twin Cities Youth Orchestras. Students are expected to practice outside of class, both for their individual development and to prepare ensemble music before rehearsal.

    • Private instruction is available for an additional fee.

    Year-long course

  • Theatre Arts 1 (Upper School)

    Introduction to Theatre Arts will give students the opportunity to discover their creative abilities in acting, while being given an overall appreciation of the theatre space and process. Through acting exercises, improvisations, and film study, students will be introduced to the world of the actor, including physical and vocal warm-ups, stage direction, character analysis, theatre vocabulary and history, and basic stage combat.

    We will explore and examine works of drama, comedy, and musical theatre. Students will also have the opportunity to perform short scenes and monologues for their peers. The focus of this class will be on creativity and communication.

    One-term course

  • Theatre Arts II

    Theatre Arts 2 will take students to a more sophisticated level of the theatre world, while continuing to refine skills they have already acquired. Students will work to home their acting techniques and constructively evaluate their own performances and those of others. They will continue to explore scene work, as well as various other forms of theatrical presentation, including acting for the camera and auditioning. Furthermore, students will explore areas related to theatre history, playwriting, and directing.

    • Prerequisite: Theatre Arts I or previous experience and approval from instructor.

    One-term course

  • Upper School Choir

    The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Upper School Choir is a non-audition ensemble made up of students, in grades 9-12 with varying degrees of musical experience. Students study choral literature encompassing all musical styles while developing good vocal technique, music reading skills, and other skills necessary to become an independent musician. The Choir performs regularly at Chapel, and at community, alumni, and student activities. Attendance at concerts is required.

    Year-long course

  • Upper School Wind Ensemble

    The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Wind Ensemble is open to any student, grades 9-12, with at least one year of experience. Placement will be determined by experience, skill level and student goals. Emphasis is placed on performing a wide variety of ensemble repertoire. The Wind Ensemble class focuses on the fundamentals of music theory, ear training, and large and small ensemble playing. Rehearsal and performance etiquette are also taught.

    Students in the Wind Ensemble play a large variety of music genres including, standard wind repertoire, jazz, and orchestral works when combined with the Chamber Orchestra. Students are given opportunities to perform throughout the year in concerts, recitals and at various assemblies and functions.

    The students have the opportunity to audition for various honor bands and youth orchestras throughout the Twin Cities. Students are expected to practice outside of class, both for their individual development and to prepare ensemble music before rehearsal.

    • Private instruction is available for an additional fee.

    Year-long course