Arts

Students must earn a total of six credits from courses in the Visual and Performing Arts. To fulfill this requirement, students must take a minimum of one course in each department. The number of credit hours required in the Arts for graduation is prorated in the following way: Incoming freshmen must earn a minimum of six credits; sophomores and juniors new to the Upper School must earn four credits.

Performing Arts Faculty

Visual Arts Faculty

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts curriculum assists students in developing the vocabulary, skills, and attitudes necessary for a high level of accomplishment and a deep understanding and appreciation in music, dance, and theater arts. Courses emphasize the historical and theoretical foundations of these three related disciplines. In addition to exploring a myriad of performing opportunities, students come to view the arts through a number of different lenses, acting as creator, interpreter, and critic. Students apply theory directly to performance in class and before audiences.

Performance-based ensembles are offered for students who have the desire to perform outside of the classroom. These ensembles include the Jazz Band, Orchestra, Choir, Guitar Ensemble, and Dance Ensemble. While students receive credit for their participation in the ensembles, they can only use one year’s worth of each ensemble’s credit (three credits each) toward their graduation requirement. Ensemble members will still likely need to take non-performance-based Performing Arts elective courses in order to complete the graduation requirements.

Music

Songwriting
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. Did you ever listen to a tune and wonder why it’s a hit? Did you ever hear a song or a lyric and think, “I could write a better song than that?” Through analyzing all styles of famous tunes through the years, paying careful attention to the art of writing a hook, performing specific writing exercises, and developing your listening habits, students can unlock their Ray Charles genius.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Music (But Were Afraid To Ask!)
Trimester - 2 credits

What do Mozart, McCartney, and Miles have in common? What is a “scale,” and what does it have to do with the music I hear every day? Can I really create a “hit song” at the computer? Who are those old guys that called themselves “The Beetles?” (Is that spelled correctly?) What is Be-Bop and Hip-Hop, Punk and Baroque, Alternative and “6415?” All these questions and so many more to be answered in “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Music (But Were Afraid To Ask!).

Music Technology and the Recording Experience
Trimester - 2 credits

This class is designed for students to learn to use the computer and piano keyboard to compose, notate, analyze, and improvise music, as well as give students real time and real life experience in a major recording studio. We have partnered with Mr. Small’s Recording Studios, Larry Luther, recording engineer, through our City as Our Campus field trips over the past four trimesters. In Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), students will compose original pieces, both in performance playback and printed material formats. Finale and Garage Band are the primary software programs use. The topics for exploration in the studio include: MIDI, basic audio theory, equipment, studio design, mixing with pro tools, and the mastering process. This class, for both musician and non-musician, hopes to release the creative energy and talent within each individual student.

Chorus
Year - 3 credits

Open to all grades. This course is designed for students interested in performing as a member of a vocal ensemble. Students learn music of various styles, languages, and time periods as they prepare for on and off-campus performances. Repertoire may include selections from, but not limited to, the great Western art music (sacred and secular), folk and multicultural music, vocal jazz, pop, and musical theater. Students strengthen individual vocal technique and enhance music listening and reading skills. This course requires some evening and weekend commitments. All dress rehearsal performances are required and are part of the student’s grade.

Orchestra
Year - 3 credits

Open to all students who play string, wind, brass, percussion, and keyboard instruments at the level of advanced-beginner or higher. Students play in an ensemble and perform various repertoire from concert bands, wind ensembles, and symphony orchestras. Some members may be asked to play for the Upper School musical. Performances include a winter performance in December, a performance in March, Commencement, and occasional outside performances. This course requires some evening and weekend commitments. All dress rehearsals and performances are required and are part of the student’s grade.

Guitar Ensemble
Year - 3 credits

Open to all grades. Students play in a group and perform different styles of music such as contemporary rock, classical melodies, and light jazz compositions. Ability to read music on guitar is required, even at beginning level (basic position). Performances include a winter performance in December, a spring performance in May, and occasional outside performances. This course requires some evening and weekend commitments. All dress rehearsals and performances are required and are a part of the student’s grade.

Jazz Band
Year - 3 credits

Open to all students playing brass, woodwind, percussion, and keyboard instruments. Students play in a group and perform various styles of music such as traditional and contemporary jazz, big band swing, and pop and rock classics. Ability to read music is required. Performances include a winter performance in December, a spring performance in May, and occasional outside performances. All ensemble members are required to perform at daytime assemblies and some evening performances, including Commencement. Requires some weekend commitments. All dress rehearsals and performances are required and are part of the student’s grade.

Dance

Dance Ensemble
Year - 3 credits

This fun-filled, upbeat class will get your heart rate going and your creativity flowing because here at WT we don’t just think we can dance … we know we can dance! Dance Ensemble is a performance-based course where much of the class time is devoted to learning and developing specific choreography for performance. No previous training or experience is required—just an interest in learning dance skills, getting in shape, and experimenting with dance styles you’ve always wanted to explore. A variety of dance genres and skills are covered including but not limited to: jazz, musical theatre, tap, hip hop, and modern dance. Student choreographers and soloists are encouraged to stretch their talents and to challenge themselves both physically and creatively. All students in the dance ensemble are required to perform in the annual spring dance performance and participate in the mandatory dress rehearsal that takes place after school prior to the performance. The dates for the dress rehearsal and the dance show are announced in September so that students and families can plan accordingly. This class may be taken for P.E. or Fine Arts credit.

Theater Arts

Non-performance electives will be offered each trimester based on student interest.

Theater: Basic Acting and Improvisation Technique
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. If you enjoy the comedy improv of “Who’s Line is it Anyway,” you might be interested in this course. Areas of study include basic improvisation technique, pantomime, basic movement and stage directions, ensemble work, voice production and articulation, creating characters and script work, and storytelling. It is a fast-paced and fun-filled trimester.

Theater: Acting and Script Analysis
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. Students work on creating characters in comic and dramatic roles, scenes and monologues, Shakespearean acting, audition techniques, and a fascinating look at theater history all in a fun, performance-based format.

Theater: Directing and Writing for the Stage
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. Students explore production concepts from the perspectives of the creator, interpreter, and critic. Students study directing, producing, playwriting, dramaturgy, and theater criticism through class exercises and individual projects that may include writing one-act plays performed at WT. If you enjoy filmmaking, writing, organizing events, and being the boss, this course is right up your alley!

Technical Theater: Theatrical Production
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all students. This course is for students who want to avoid the spotlight and explore the behind-the-scenes, hands-on, technical aspects of theater production. Areas of study include drafting, set construction, stage management, props, lighting, sound, costumes, and stage makeup effects. This is a hands-on course in which students use building tools, run sewing machines, operate lights and sound equipment, learn basic wiring, apply stage makeup, and much more!

Technical Theater: Theatrical Design
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all students. This course is for students interested in theatrical design. Students create scenic designs for a show, including renderings and a model, and can choose similar projects in the areas of lighting, sound, props, costumes, and makeup. Students are involved in some aspects of creating the design concepts for the musical.

Technical Theater: Practicum
Trimester - 1 or 2 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Theatrical Production or Theatrical Design. This course is designed as a practical extension of Theatrical Production or Theatrical Design. Students apply their technical theater knowledge working on various aspects of the Upper School musical production. Practicum students set their work schedules independently, in consultation with the Stage Director and Technical Director of the production. To receive 1 credit, students must log 24 hours of practicum time over the course of the trimester. To receive 2 credits, students must log 48 practicum hours.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts curriculum develops students’ understanding of the visual language of master artists and the vocabulary, skills, and attitudes necessary for self-expression in a variety of media. Art History points out the relationship between the artist’s choices and the culture; the studio courses guide students to develop their own visual language through increasingly complex projects. Various options are available for students who wish to pursue more advanced work in their chosen media. Not all courses run each year.

Intro to African Art
Trimester – 2 credits

Open to all grades. Intro to African Art will be a studio course exploring the art and architecture of the continent of Africa from the prehistoric to the present. Students will be introduced to the various aspects of traditional and contemporary African Art through lectures, film screenings, field trips, music, class art assignments, and guest artist presentations. The objects, images, and sites featured in this course represent a small cross-section of the diverse ethnic and artistic cultural traditions found in Africa. Students will create art pieces using methods such as: textiles, sculpture, and painting that respond to the subjects covered in class. The class will include a student research assignment, reading assignments, student visual art projects, and City as Our Campus experiences inspired by the thematic studies of the rich and diverse expressions found within this vast continent.

Intro to East Asian Pottery
Trimester – 2 credits

Open to all grades. This studio course serves as an introduction to the role of traditional and contemporary ceramic forms from China, Japan, and Korea. It is organized into three units that focus on the ceramic art forms of China, Japan, and Korea respectively. Each unit is structured chronologically and will explore the interaction between art, politics, and culture. Students will study these ceramic forms through various formats: lectures, guest artist presentations, field trips, student ceramic projects, and City as Our Campus experiences. The course will introduce specific styles and techniques that highlight the various ceramic arts forms in relation to the history and culture of their respective time periods and places.

Sculpture
Trimester – 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course is an introduction to traditional and non-traditional sculpture techniques. Students will learn how to create three-dimensional works inspired by the city’s visual arts offerings and various other sculptors. Field trips will occur to view and discuss sculpture masterpieces, both ancient and contemporary. Students will explore wood, plaster, clay, mixed media, and paper to broaden their understanding of contemporary sculptural art trends in Pittsburgh and beyond.

Graphic Art
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. Students explore various projects intended to enhance their visual skills and graphic art (drawing) abilities through the careful observation and rendering of the natural world and also through the rendering of personal imaginative concepts. Projects covered in this course may include gesture and contour drawings, negative space, figure studies, and perspective drawings. A City as Our Campus initiative with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is a component of this course. Students will use a variety of drawing media such as ink, charcoal, pencil, and pen. Students are encouraged to develop their own expressive style.

Basic Acrylic Painting
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course is designed to build on the Graphic Art course but may be done independently of that course. Students explore the powerfully expressive potential of color through the technique of acrylic painting. The course includes discussion of relevant contemporary painters, the technical and visual aspects of painting, and ample opportunities for self-expression. Provisions are made for more advanced students to attempt creative, personal innovations and more advanced expression in art-making.

Decorative Glass
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course introduces students to the use of glass as an artistic medium. The students create a variety of colorful, imaginative projects using the following techniques: decorative mosaics and stained glass.

Decorative Mosaics: The students explore the potential of mosaics as a medium of personal expression. Color, pattern, and texture combine to make mosaics visually appealing art forms. Each student uses materials such as glass, beads, pebbles, shells, china, and ceramic tiles to create a variety of projects, including mirror/picture frames, pots, coasters, wall plaques, or paving stones.

Stained Glass: The students use the copper foil technique of stained glass art (used to produce the famous Tiffany windows). Each student draws patterns, cuts and foils the glass pieces, solders the pieces together, and applies patina finishes. This results in a variety of projects, such as unique sun-catcher window hangings or picture and mirror frames.

Photography 1
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. This is a practical and theoretical course that introduces students to the art of taking, developing, printing, and evaluating black-and-white photographs. Students will learn to use a 35mm camera and the darkroom techniques for developing film and printing from negatives. Shooting and printing assignments teach students basic principles of design, including visualization, composition, and perspective. For this course, students will use 35mm SLR film cameras (the traditional manual cameras with a full range of aperture settings and shutter speeds).

Photography 2
Trimester - 2 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Photography 1. Open to all grades. This course allows students to further develop the photography skills they learned in Photography I. Shooting and printing assignments involve topics/themes of personal interest. Creativity and the application of good design principles and darkroom techniques are encouraged and expected in this course. For this course, students will use 35mm SLR film cameras or digital cameras, depending on the projects pursued.

Digital Art
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course introduces students to the use of the computer as a tool for making creative, artistic, and personal images. Students learn about different types of cameras, scanners, storage devices, and printing techniques used in the imagery industry. They learn how to capture, store, manipulate, and output images. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will be used as students create original images, design for print materials or webpages, and manipulate existing images or photographs artistically. This course will also provide opportunities for students to design and produce projects such as posters, brochures, and presentations for their other classes and/or extracurricular activities.

Filmmaking
Trimester - 2 credit

Open to all grades. This course provides an opportunity for students to learn and apply skills involved in filmmaking digital video production. Students focus on planning, shooting, and editing a variety of creative projects. They will explore the aesthetic and technical aspects of writing scripts, drawing storyboards, capturing images with still and video cameras, and editing content properly and creatively. Students will concentrate on subject matter of personal interest while producing their media projects. A major video assignment will culminate in shooting footage on a site off-campus, and students may visit institutions such as Pittsburgh Filmmakers for inspiration.

The Art of the Book
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course introduces students to various techniques for constructing handmade books. Students will experiment with various contemporary and traditional bookmaking methods and material. A strong emphasis will be placed on creating books that are sculptural. Each project will be inspired by specific material, method, and theme. Students are encouraged to incorporate drawings, photography, collage, and other materials into their works. This class will cultivate innovation and experimentation. A field trip to Carnegie Mellon University’s Rare Books Collection will be incorporated into the course to offer inspiration.

Ceramics 1
Trimester – 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course introduces students to various handbuilding techniques for constructing ceramic forms: pinch, coil, and slab building methods. Students will learn to glaze, carve, and add texture to their projects. The class will view and discuss the techniques used in both ancient and contemporary ceramic masterpieces. Student projects will include explorations of figurative sculptures, functional pottery, and decorative tiles.

Functional Pottery: Intro to Wheel Throwing
Trimester – 2 credits

Open to all grades. This course introduces students to a variety of fundamental techniques for throwing clay forms on the potter’s wheel with an emphasis on function, form, and surface. Students will learn to throw cylinder, bowl, teapot, and vase forms of various sizes. Instruction will also be given on how to construct functional forms using traditional hand building methods. Students will also explore the history of ceramics through the ages by viewing original works, screening demonstration videos, and interacting with a guest ceramic artist.

Urban Art: Pittsburgh Canvas
Two trimesters - 4 credits

Pre-requisite: successful completion of one Upper School Visual Arts course. This is an advanced art course that builds on previous art experiences, design aesthetics, and creative thinking skills. Students will work in depth with traditional and non-traditional methodologies to explore the multiple facets of public art and street art forms. Mediums such as stencil art, street photography, painting, yarn bombing, graffiti, found object sculptures, outdoor installations, and sticker art will be explored. Student projects will challenge and expand their personal interests, while also creating opportunities for creating art that communicates ideas to an audience that exists beyond the classroom setting. This dynamic course will integrate the expertise of regional artists and other local resources. The course culminates in an exhibition and/or installation that will allow the students an opportunity to express their ideas in a public venue.

Metalsmithing
Two Trimesters – 4 credits

Open to all grades. This course will explore an array of techniques for metalsmithing, glass lampworking, and enameling. The course will begin with learning basic metalsmithing skills. These skills will be used to create enameled works and jewelry designs. Enameling will introduce students to ways to fuse layers of colored glass onto a metal surface. Glass beadworking will include heating, shaping, and decorating colored glass onto a metal rod. Through this course, students will gain knowledge of how to manipulate metal and glass using torches, metalsmithing equipment, and power tools. Students will also have an opportunity to study with a regional artist from a local arts organization to learn a traditional method that has a contemporary twist.

AP Art History
Year - 6 credits

Open to eleventh and twelfth graders. AP Art History is a course in the history of western and non-western art that examines works of art and architecture from the time of prehistoric peoples to the present. This course focuses on relating these works of art to the historical contexts within which they were created. The course, therefore, is designed to facilitate the student’s understanding of how works of art and architecture may be interpreted as historical documents or cultural artifacts, and as vital aspects of the human experience. The course will follow both a chronological approach and a thematic approach to the study of the history of art. There will be class discussions on themes such as art and society, patronage, censorship, women in the arts, art and the environment, social protest and affirmation, and the sacred in the arts. Advanced Placement exam preparation is a fundamental aspect of the course.

The following courses are offered on a rotating basis:

Introduction to the History of Architecture and Architectural Design
Trimester - 2 credits

This course offers a brief overview of the stylistic qualities and structural significance of some of the world’s most important buildings. Buildings will be discussed with particular emphasis placed on understanding the visual characteristics and relevant design principles that underlie each structure. Students will understand fundamental developments in architecture and will be able to make critical judgments on buildings. This course will also cover the history of architecture and urbanism in Pittsburgh and its impact on the shaping of the city. Students will engage in creative design projects and will visit significant buildings in the Pittsburgh area.

Printmaking
Trimester - 2 credits

Open to all grades. Printmaking is a course that encourages students to develop their two-dimensional artistic skills by using a variety of printmaking techniques. A City as Our Campus initiative with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is a component of this course. This course is intended to develop visual literacy and an appreciation of the printmaking process through the exploration of a basic relief technique, monotype techniques (subtractive additive, transfer methods), a Japanese print-inspired linoleum block project, and a dry point project. Students are encouraged to develop their own expressive style.

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