Performing Arts Faculty

Frederick Geiersbach

Frederick Geiersbach

Director of Instrumental Music
Avram Gold

Avram Gold

Director of Dance
Peter Hoopes

Peter Hoopes

Director of Information Services, Film Studies, Music Composition, Tennis
Quinn Kerrane

Quinn Kerrane

Director of Choral and Vocal Music
Emily Pressman

Emily Pressman

Chair, History Department, Theatre
Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor

Arts Department Co-Chair, Director of Theatre Program, Drama, Public Speaking

Performing Arts

The performing arts program at St. Andrew's seeks to foster an understanding and appreciation of dance, drama, and choral and orchestral music, while also encouraging students to discover and pursue interests in any or all of these art forms, and to develop personally as adventurous, expressive, and creative individuals.

Performing arts courses provide both formal training and instruction in the theoretical, historical and cultural background of each discipline. This intensive training and instruction, combined with close contact with established faculty artists who create and perform their own works with and for our community, allows the student grow in their own artistic understanding, creative capabilities, and free expression. This dynamic interaction allows our students to gain a strong sense of the arts as a means for investigating and celebrating the world in which they live.

Read more about the individual performing arts disciplines offered at St. Andrew's on the Arts section of our website.

Arts Requirement

Students are required to participate in a curricular or co-curricular aspect of the arts program before graduation. Incoming III Form students are required to take Introduction to the Arts.


Performing Arts Courses

Introduction to the Arts

Required for III Form students

Half-credit course

Team-taught by visual and performing arts faculty, this course introduces all III Form students to the breadth of the arts curriculum at St. Andrew's through six-week long workshops in dance, music, theatre, and art (students will have rotated through all four by the completion of the course). Developing an appreciation of art patronage is also a strong component of this course; students are asked to attend and reflect upon both peer and professional performances and exhibits offered at the School throughout the year.

Choral & Instrumental Music

Orchestral Methods

Half-credit elective

This course is intended for all orchestral instrumentalists, from beginning to advanced levels, who wish to participate in the School orchestra.

The course develops and practices techniques specific to the instrumental musician; separate class periods are offered for strings, winds, and percussion sections. The course develops solid technique in students through the practice of scales, sight-reading, and rehearsal of the orchestra repertoire. Open to all forms, this course may be repeated.

Chamber Music

Half-credit Elective

This course allows advanced instrumental musicians to grow musically through deliberate preparation of appropriately challenging repertoire. Students develop their artistry through small ensemble rehearsals and regular performances in student recitals. All students in this course are also members of the orchestra and are required to audition for the Delaware All-State Orchestra and the Delaware Solo and Ensemble Festival (both organized by the Delaware Music Educators Association). Open to all forms, this course may be repeated.

Jazz Improvisations

Half-credit elective

Devoted to the study of jazz improvisation, this course allows students the opportunity to develop informed stylistic practice of their instrument through rehearsal and performance in small jazz combos. Students develop their jazz literacy by reading arranged compositions from a wide array of jazz styles and through careful study of chord/scale relationships in their improvisations. All students in this course are also members of the jazz ensemble. Open to all forms, this course may be repeated.

Music Theory

Half-credit elective

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of music, including reading notes and rhythm. Students learn to construct melodies and to work with basic harmony. Regular ear-training exercises as well as music history listening assignments prepare students both to compose their own music and to analyze selected repertoire, ranging from the Baroque through the modern eras.

Music Composition

Prerequisite: Music Theory

Half-credit elective

Students study various methods of music composition and work in various styles, including jazz, classical, and rock. This course also introduces students to the School's digital composition studio and allows them to work with multimedia (such as composing music for TV and film). Students complete composition projects using computer programs including Sibelius, Finale, and Logic Pro.

Advanced Study in Music Theory and History

Prerequisite: Music Theory

This full-credit course is open to students who have demonstrated proficiency in the fundamentals of music (the ability to read and perform written music at a strong level; the possession of a working knowledge of all chord and scale types). Regular ear-training and part-writing assignments help students develop as composers; students produce original works on a monthly basis. Score analysis supplements readings as students develop interpretations of important repertoire, ranging from the medieval through the modern eras. Texts: Donald J. Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music; Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne, Tonal Harmony.

Choir

Half-credit elective

Choir is open to all students regardless of prior vocal experience and focuses on building individual and ensemble singing skills. Students learn basics of healthy singing through performance of a wide range of musical styles, as well as weekly small group or individual voice lessons, plus sight singing and theory practice. Students will performs as a choir at school gatherings, in the School chapel, and at our annual Service of Lessons and Carols. This course also prepares singers who would like to sing in Choral Scholars or Noxontones.

Choral Scholars

Admission is by audition

Half-credit Elective

Our Choral Scholars program challenges students with some previous vocal or choir experience. This course develops the complete choral singer through instruction in vocal development, sight-reading, ear training, music theory, and choral style. The Choral Scholars perform as the School's choral ensemble in the School chapel, at off-campus events, and on tours. Choral Scholars is open to all forms, but students must audition to join the program.

Dance

Dance 1

Half-credit Elective

This course builds a basic foundation for the beginning dancer by focusing on the fundamental positions and movements of a variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern and jazz. Students learn proper dance technique while developing physical and artistic awareness. Coursework addresses an overview of dance elements, including:

  • line;
  • form;
  • body placement;
  • movement quality;
  • musicality;
  • muscle control; and
  • artistic expression.

The course is designed to inspire an appreciation for the art of dance, while also preparing students for a more advanced study of dance technique. No previous dance experience is necessary.

Beginning Male Dance: Technique, Conditioning, and Analysis

Half-credit elective

This course is designed to introduce male students to the athleticism and technique of dance. A physically demanding course, it focuses intensely on elements of dance specific to male dancers, including:

  • jumps;
  • turns;
  • tricks;
  • strength-building;
  • flexibility;
  • agility;
  • stamina;
  • isolations, and
  • coordination.

Students divide their time between two major areas of focus: strength training, conditioning, and flexibility; and development of technical abilities in various styles of dance, including ballet, contemporary, and folk dances such as capoira and gopak. Using various technologies, including film, the class analyzes ways of maximizing the efficiency and dynamics of each step. If time allows, students learn basic skills of partnering as well.

Dance 2: Ballet

Half-credit Elective

Building on the foundation of students’ previous ballet experience, this course explores more advanced theories of classical ballet technique. Students increase their ballet vocabulary and perform more complex and advanced ballet combinations as they continue to refine their use of:

  • core control;
  • movement quality;
  • body placement; and
  • aesthetic line.

Increasing strength, agility, coordination, flexibility and stamina is emphasized. The aim of the course is to develop the discipline to combine the physical demands of ballet with artistic freedom of expression.

Dance 2: Contemporary

Half-credit elective

Building on the foundation of students’ previous modern dance experience, this course explores more advanced theories of modern and contemporary dance. Movement and creativity are highlighted with an emphasis on personal expression. Students practice floor exercises and center combinations designed to increase their:

  • core strength;
  • flexibility;
  • use of weight and momentum;
  • body isolation;
  • improvisation; and
  • freedom of movement.

Utilizing these tools, students develop their own personal styles through self-expression, movement and choreography, and ultimately have the opportunity to create their own choreographic piece.

Advanced Study in Dance

Prerequisites: Dance 1 and Dance 2: Ballet or Dance 2: Contemporary

This structure of this course is a working model of the professional dance world; students experience what it means to be a professional artist in the field of dance. Students will continue their training in advanced classical and contemporary technique while discovering other aspects of the profession. Each student will learn how to prepare a dance class from start to finish as well as the skills necessary to teach the class. They will also learn how to compose a piece of choreography and take that piece from conception to the stage. This process will require students to develop a concept, choose music, find dancers, schedule rehearsals, produce sets and props, create costumes, develop a lighting design and rehearse the piece until it is ready for the stage. Students will be doing the work of professional dancers, teachers and choreographers, and will develop a foundational understanding of the inner workings of the dance world.

Theatre

Acting 1

Half-credit elective

This course exposes students to the essential aspects of acting, and emphasizes acting as technique rather than emotion. Students study plays and selected scenes by Ibsen, Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Williams, and other more contemporary playwrights. They explore:

  • expanding vocal techniques;
  • physical alignment;
  • theatrical make-up;
  • stage combat;
  • script analysis; and
  • the First Folio technique of performing Shakespeare.

Time permitting, students attend at least one professional theatrical production during the course.

Acting 2

Prerequisite: Acting 1

Half-credit elective

Essentially a continuation of the Acting 1 class, this course delves deeper into the techniques of acting, focusing on script and character analysis as well as directing and improvisation. Student work is more individual and performance more frequent. By the end of the first semester, students will have three audition-quality monologues ready for performance and possible videotaping for college applications.

Public Speaking

Half-credit Elective

This course focuses on the fundamentals of speaking in public. Coursework seeks to enhance students' ability to use effective and engaging vocal dynamics and strategies, including:

  • emphasis;
  • pace;
  • pitch;
  • tone;
  • volume; and
  • clarity.

Assignments include:

  • experimenting with famous speeches;
  • conducting interviews;
  • preparing persuasive advertising;
  • sonnets;
  • theatrical monologues; and
  • impromptu speaking.

The course also explores techniques for calming and masking the nervous habits often provoked by public performance.

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