Visual & Performing Arts

Active participation in an arts program is a critical component in every child’s education. Arts programs enrich students’ lives and provide a vehicle for them to communicate and to express human emotion and ideas beyond the limits of language. In addition, study in the arts prepares students to be successful in a 21st century world that demands innovative thinking and creativity in an increasingly competitive global society. We believe that all students are capable of growth in the arts and that there are skills and concepts inherent in the arts that cannot be taught in other disciplines. Participation in an arts program allows students to make connections across content areas and cultural boundaries. The courses listed below provide sequential instruction in each art discipline, challenging each student to reach his or her potential. All courses listed in this department satisfy the Visual and Performing Arts requirement unless otherwise stated. 

VISUAL ARTS COURSES

All students who are interested in visual art at PHS must first enroll in Studio Art I, our foundational course. For students who plan to take visual art classes for four years, the following sequence is suggested:
Studio Art I
Studio Art II 2D or Studio Art II 3D
Studio Art III 2D or Studio Art III 3D
Studio Art IV 2D
Student may also wish to enroll in AP Art History during their junior or senior year.

STUDIO ART I: H74009

Grades: 9-12 5.0 Credits Year Prerequisite: None

This course is a full year studio experience that emphasizes the art process: learning to see, interpret, and make. Participants will work in both two-and three- dimensional formats on projects designed to improve technical skills and further develop personal expression. Students will be exposed to a range of materials and methods including but not limited to: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, carving, clay forming and glazing, and using a wide variety of sculptural materials. Visual presentations, demonstrations, critiques and field trips will supplement the primarily hands-on studio course. Open to all, from beginners to experienced artists, this class is the prerequisite for all subsequent studio art classes at PHS.

THE ART OF CRAFT: H74007

Grades: 10-12
5 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Studio Art I

This course is focused on making aesthetically functional objects. Student will explore the history and technique of various craft processes, both traditional and non-traditional, in two and three dimensions. Students will work in a wide range of materials and with a variety of techniques, with approximately four projects per semester. This hands-on course utilizes videos, demonstrations, field trips, and previous student work as instructional supplements.

STUDIO ART II (2D): H74001

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Studio Art I

This course will allow students to expand their technical and conceptual skills by utilizing the principles of two-dimensional media and design. Projects will build upon students’ experience in Studio I through a widening range of materials and techniques. Emphasis will be placed on the development of each student’s individual initiative and capacity for self-investigation and expression. Opportunities to display completed works at both in-school and outside-of-school exhibits will be provided. Those wishing to prepare an admissions portfolio for college or art school will be assisted and advised throughout this course. 

STUDIO ART III (2D): H74002

Grades: 11-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Studio Art II 2D

This course offers an intense and focused investigation into drawing and painting. The class is designed for the serious student who is motivated, disciplined, and intellectually mature. The course work is based upon the investigations in Studio II 2D and the first year studio arts requirements at competitive art schools and/or universities that offer a BFA degree in studio art. This course emphasizes, in a coordinated and chronological way, the transition from teacher assignments to a student-generated conceptual approach. Small group projects and individual works will be explored. 

STUDIO ART IV (2D): H74003

Grade: 12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Three years of Studio Art (2D or 3D) or review of portfolio

This Studio IV (2D) course is the culminating studio arts offering at Princeton High School. The purpose of Studio IV (2D) is twofold. One purpose is to prepare serious visual arts students for admission to colleges, art schools, or universities offering four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts programs. It will also prepare the student who is interested in pursuing the arts as an essential part of an overall four-year undergraduate degree. Class work in the first semester is focused on reinforcing studio basics, technique, and skills. The rest of the year is an ongoing process of individual and group critique. Each student’s individual artistic and developmental needs will be addressed; these needs form the basis for each student’s studio assignments. Throughout the year much emphasis will be placed on historical and contemporary arts issues. Trips to museums, galleries and other out of school work will be planned. The year will culminate in the presentation of each student’s individual portfolio and exhibit in Numina Gallery.

STUDIO ART II (3D): H74005

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Studio Art I

This course is for students who have successfully completed Studio Art I and wish to continue their study of sculpture on an advanced level. More in-depth assignments and processes will be introduced, and individual styles and interests will be encouraged and explored. Field trips, visiting artists, and slide/lectures will supplement this studio course. Opportunities to display completed works in a variety of settings will be offered and those wishing to prepare a college portfolio will be assisted and advised throughout the year.

STUDIO ART III (3D): H74007

Grades: 11-12
5.0 credits
Year
Prerequisite: Studio Art II (3D)

This course requires a high level of student interest and self-motivation in pursuing further exploration of 3D materials and methods, utilizing the skills and experience from the two previous 3D courses. Students will be expected to interpret the assigned projects both literally and metaphorically. Students will have the opportunity to include many mixed materials methods in their work, such as sound, light, found objects, and casting multiples. Art history from ancient through contemporary work will be studied and discussed. Individual and group critiques will be an integral part of this course. Field trips, videos, visiting artists, and slide lectures will supplement this primarily hands-on studio course.

AP ART HISTORY: H74006

Grades: 11-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Approval of the instructor and/or department supervisor

This course examines creative works in the visual arts from the Paleolithic Age to the present. The major directions of painting, sculpture, and architecture in each culture are surveyed to grasp the significance of creative expression for the time period. Material is presented chronologically and with cross-cultural comparisons. In addition to a text, slides, reproductions, filmstrips, and video materials make each class period unique. Supplementary field trips enrich the units of study. AP Art History is strongly recommended for students wishing to continue study in any field of art. 



INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC COURSES

 

TIGER BAND I: H74010

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

Tiger Band I is a performing ensemble class for novice level students with limited experience in jazz repertoire. Students will concentrate on sight-reading as well as appropriate style playing including standard swing patterns and jazz articulations. Students will be introduced to all major, dorian and mixolydian scales. Students will be introduced to jazz band literature that will promote student achievement and performance ability that is level appropriate. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette.

TIGER BAND II: H74011

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

Tiger Band II is a performing ensemble class for novice level students having some prior experience with jazz repertoire. Students will concentrate on sight-reading as well as appropriate style playing including standard swing patterns and jazz articulations. Students will be introduced to all major, dorian, mixolydian and blues scales. Students will be introduced to jazz band literature that will promote student achievement. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette.

NASSAU BAND I: H74012

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

Nassau Band I is a performing ensemble class for intermediate level students with limited experience in jazz repertoire. Students will concentrate on sight-reading as well as appropriate style playing, including standard swing patterns and jazz articulations. Students will be performing all major, dorian, mixolydian and blues scales from memory. Students will be studying medium level jazz band literature that will promote student achievement and performance ability. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette. In addition to the playing requirements, students in Nassau Band I will be introduced to chord theory and analysis as it pertains to their literature and as an introduction to improvisation.

NASSAU BAND II: H74013

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

Nassau Band II is a performing ensemble class for intermediate level students that have had prior experience with jazz repertoire. Students will concentrate on sight-reading as well as appropriate style playing including standard swing patterns and jazz articulations. Students will be performing all major, dorian, mixolydian and blues scales from memory. Students will be studying medium level jazz band literature that will promote student achievement and performance ability. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette. In addition to the playing requirements, students in Nassau Band II will be introduced to chord theory and analysis as it pertains to their literature and as an introduction to improvisation.

PHS JAZZ ENSEMBLE: H74014

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

PHS Jazz Ensemble is a performing ensemble class for advanced students that have had prior experience with jazz repertoire. This group will perform at the big band dances held at Princeton High School as well as other community events. PHS Jazz Ensemble will also participate in a limited number of jazz festivals, which may include the New Jersey State Festival. Students will concentrate on sightreading as well as appropriate style playing including swing patterns, several Latin styles and jazz articulations. Students will be performing all major, minor, dorian, mixolydian and blues scales from memory. Students will be studying medium-advanced level jazz band literature that will promote student achievement and performance ability. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette. In addition to the playing requirements, students in PHS Jazz Ensemble will study chord theory and analysis as it pertains to their literature and as part of their improvisation training.

PRINCETON STUDIO BAND: H74015

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Placement audition is required.

PHS Studio Band is a performing ensemble class for advanced students that have had prior experience with jazz repertoire. This group will perform at the big band dances held at Princeton High School as well as other community events. PHS Studio Band will also participate in a limited number of jazz festivals, which may include the NJ State Festival. Students will concentrate on sight-reading as well as appropriate style playing including swing patterns, several Latin styles and jazz articulations. Students will be performing all major, minor, dorian, mixolydian and blues scales from memory. Students will be studying advanced level jazz band literature that will promote student achievement and performance ability. The literature and supplementary materials will promote a sequential development of the following skills: note reading, tone production, breath control, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, blend, balance, rhythmic analysis, music terminology, proper rehearsal and performance etiquette. In addition to the playing requirements, students in PHS Studio Band will study chord theory and analysis as it pertains to their literature and as part of their improvisation training.

REPERTOIRE ORCHESTRA: H74020

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

This course is the preparatory orchestra of the high school orchestral program; it will serve to develop the musical skills that are a prerequisite for membership in Sinfonia. Emphasis will be placed on improving individual technique, tone production, ensemble skills, and sight-reading. All Repertoire Orchestra members will participate in the regularly scheduled high school orchestral concerts.

SINFONIA: H74021

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Placement audition is required; please contact director via email during registration process.

Designed for freshmen through seniors, this course will serve to develop the musical skills that are a prerequisite for membership in the PHS Orchestra. Emphasis will continue to be placed on developing individual technique, tone production, ensemble skills, ear training and sight-reading. All Sinfonia members will participate in the regularly scheduled high school orchestral concerts.

PHS ORCHESTRA: H74022

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Placement audition is required; please contact director via email during registration process.

Designed for advanced musicians, this course provides the opportunity to study and perform the varied orchestral literature of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In addition, emphasis will continue to be placed on developing individual technique, tone production, ensemble skills, ear training, and sight-reading. Repertoire will vary annually.

AP MUSIC THEORY: H74023

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisites: Ability to read and write musical notation, basic performance skills in voice or on an instrument, and approval of instructor and/or the department supervisor.

This course is designed to enhance a student's ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. The student will develop aural skills, sight-singing skills, written skills, compositional skills, and analytical skills. The content will include mastery of the rudiments and terminology of music, which include: notation, intervals, scales and keys, chords, metric organization, rhythmic patterns, harmonization of a melody, realization of a figured bass, analysis of repertoire, functional triadic harmony in four-voice texture, tonal relationships, modulation, phrase structure, and small forms (e.g., rounded binary, simple ternary, strophic). Students will gain, in addition to technical knowledge and skills, exposure to and familiarity with a wide variety of musical literature and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills. 



VOCAL MUSIC COURSES

PHS CHOIR H74033 Grades: 10-12 5.0 Credits Year Prerequisite: Audition This course includes the study of advanced musical compositions and seeks to develop a high level of vocal proficiency through special concerts given throughout the year. The Princeton High School Choir's repertoire spans the ages, with a range of choral music from Gregorian Chant to contemporary literature. The Choir performs a cappella and with all forms of accompaniment: piano, organ, instrumental, ensembles, and full orchestra. Repertoire varies from year to year

FRESHMEN WOMEN'S CHOIR: H74030

Grade: 9
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

This course covers basic theory, harmony, sightreading, phonetics, vocal techniques, ear training, and music appreciation. All styles of music are sung including music written for the female voice in unison or for two or three parts, as well as major works written for choirs of men and women (SATB). Repertoire varies from year to year.

MEN'S CHOIR: H74031

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

This choir is open to all men. The course covers basic theory, harmony, sight-reading, phonetics, vocal techniques, tone production for the un-changed and changed voice, ear training, and music appreciation. All styles of music are sung, from glees to chants, in two, three, and four parts, as well as major works written for choirs of men and women (SATB). Repertoire varies from year to year.

HIGH SCHOOL WOMEN'S CHOIR: H74032

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

This chorus is open to women in grades 10-12. The course offers a review of basic theory, harmony, sight-reading, and phonetics, developing more advanced vocal technique and repertoire. Repertoire varies from year to year so that students may choose this more than one year and receive credit for each year it is selected. PHS CHOIR H74033 Grades: 10-12 5.0 Credits Year Prerequisite: Audition This course includes the study of advanced musical compositions and seeks to develop a high level of vocal proficiency through special concerts given throughout the year. The Princeton High School Choir's repertoire spans the ages, with a range of choral music from Gregorian Chant to contemporary literature. The Choir performs a cappella and with all forms of accompaniment: piano, organ, instrumental, ensembles, and full orchestra. Repertoire varies from year to year.



THEATER ARTS COURSES

 

DRAMA I: H74040

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

Activities in this introductory drama course promote spontaneity, creativity, self-confidence, body and vocal flexibility, concentration, cooperation and discipline. Exercises and assignments include group devising of original short play scripts, oral and written critiques, conflict resolution through dramatic role-play, storytelling, stage combat, clowning, improvisation, mock interviews, and persuasive speech. Students will perform scenes from Greek mythology, Shakespeare, commercial copy, daytime drama (soaps), and adaptations of classic literature. Students learn the basics of the art of theater performance including stage directions, voice projection, relaxation, line memorization techniques, and handling stage fright. Students examine scripts and build characters by combining their own life experiences with the demands of the texts they are studying. All students taking this course will perform/participate in a fully produced play as part of Spectacle Theatre’s season of productions.

DRAMA II: Exploring Theater History: H74041

Grades: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Drama I

Through research, discussion, and practical application, students will understand theater as the reflection and evolution of the social, religious, political, and economic influences throughout history. Students actively journey through theater history by performing improvisations, monologues, and scenes from dance and ritual of Primitive Theater to Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Japanese, Medieval, Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, Restoration, 19th Century Continental and American, 20th Century, and 21st Century Theater. Students will master acting styles, manners, and stage movement appropriate to each period and culture. Using the Acting with an Accent Audio programs of David Alan Stern and the International Phonetic Alphabet system, students will learn three dialects (Standard British, Irish, and American Southern) to further enhance character development. All students taking this course will perform/participate in a fully produced play as part of Spectacle Theatre’s season of productions.

DRAMA SEMINAR: Advanced Acting and Performance Technique: H74042

Grades: 11-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Audition/Teacher recommendation or successful completion of Drama II.

This advanced course first focuses on the study of acting as a craft through the practical exploration of theories and methods of creating character and atmosphere. By utilizing numerous approaches including those of Stanislavsky, Chekov, Hagen, Meisner, Morris, Yakim, and Viewpoints, students acquire a working knowledge of sense memory, objectives, obstacles, “magic if," psychological gesture, and emotional recall. Secondly, students are introduced to the principles and techniques of playwriting including plot structure, dramatic action, point of view, mood, character development, setting, written dialogue, and stage directions. Finally, the study of the fundamentals of directing, such as composition, movement, picturization, rhythm, and pantomimic dramatization prepares students to confidently assume the director's duties in preparation for Senior Student-directed Plays. All students taking this course will perform/participate in a fully produced play as part of Spectacle Theatre’s season of productions.

MUSICAL THEATRE: Acting, Song, and Dance: H74043

Grade: 10-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: Audition/Teacher recommendation or successful completion of Drama II.

The musical theatre performer must be a master of many styles of acting, singing, and dancing. This advanced course combines these separate disciplines into a complete program of study and training in all elements of the craft, including fundamentals of acting applied to musical theatre; script, score and character analysis; personalizing a performance; acting styles in musical theatre; and practical steps to pursuing a career. Through solo, partner, and group work, students will handle a wide range of performance conventions and training requirements unique to musical theatre while developing a clearly articulated methodology for integrating all of the elements of musical theatre into performance. Exercises and assignments include choosing audition material, how to use subtext and monologues to make the performance of a song more believable, phrasing from lyrics rather than the music, using facial expressions and gestures to communicate emotions, staging a song, and how to overcome stage fright. Students will also learn basic dance steps and choreographic styles universally used in musical theatre choreography. All students taking this course will perform/participate in Spectacle Theatre’s annual Spring Musical.

DANCE: H74016

Grades: 9-12
5.0 Credits
Year
Prerequisite: None

In this class, you will be introduced to a variety of dance styles, including salsa, waltz, hip-hop, country line dancing, Broadway, jazz, ballet, cha-cha, modern, square dance, tap, swing, and character dance. The class is entirely a kinesthetic course, with no paper, pencils or books required. Weekly assessments consist of performing dance combinations in class, with ample opportunities to practice and perfect beforehand. The class includes teacherchoreographed combinations set to teacherselected music as well as teacherchoreographed combinations set to music and dance styles chosen by the members of the class. There will also be opportunities for students to choreograph. Students may repeat this course from year to year for additional performing arts credits.