Performing Arts Faculty

Frederick Geiersbach

Frederick Geiersbach

Director of Instrumental Music
Avram Gold

Avram Gold

Director of Dance
Peter Hoopes

Peter Hoopes

Senior Developer and Database Administrator, Film, Music
Quinn Kerrane

Quinn Kerrane

Director of Choral Music Program
Emily Pressman

Emily Pressman

Dean of Faculty Development, Dean of Honor, Chair, History Department, Theatre
Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor

Co-Chair, Arts Department, 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.


 

Performing Arts News

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

Choral & Instrumental Music

Music Theory

open to all forms

Semester-long 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.

Instrumental Music Methods

Open to all forms

Semester-long half-credit elective

This course is a studio instrumental music practice course designed to help students in the Orchestra and the Jazz Ensemble to progress in their technique. Comprising individual coaching and structured practice time, the course addresses all techniques and concepts that arise throughout the repertoire of the school’s two large performance ensembles. Students document and describe their practice over the course of each semester they are enrolled, and they participate in weekly evening rehearsals and concerts.

Chamber Music

Open to IV, V, VI Form students, and III Form students with instructor permission

Semester-long Half-credit elective

This course designed for intermediate to advanced members of the Orchestra and/or Jazz Ensemble. Students are placed in groups of three to five members to study repertoire for their particular instrumentation. Typical examples of chamber music groups include, but are not limited to: string quartets, woodwind trios, brass quartets, piano trios, and other common configurations. The focus is on the study of appropriately challenging repertoire with the goal of developing the artistry of collaboration, including interpretation, communication, and unified, polished performances.

Jazz Improvisation

Open to IV, V, VI Form Students

Semester-long Half-credit elective

Learn how to play jazz, including reading ensemble parts, learning chords and scales, and how to accompany and solo in various rhythmic styles. This course is designed to support Jazz Combos and studio support for members of the jazz ensembles. This course may be repeated.

Music Composition

Open to IV, V, VI Form students

Prerequisite: Music Theory

Music Composition course is a studio course that introduces students to the practice and art of writing and arranging music. The class uses a project-based format to provide the students with opportunities to write their own melodies, harmony, and rhythm in a number of instrumental and vocal styles. Students also practice creating a piece of music for film. For past projects, students have written jazz pieces, vocal art songs, popular music, covers of existing songs, and even a symphony for orchestra. The class also introduces students to quality audio recording and mixing techniques.

Advanced Study in Music Theory & Music History

Open to V & VI Form Students

Prerequisite: Music Theory

Yearlong course

This yearlong 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.

Founders Choir

Open to all forms

Semester-Long 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, individual voice lessons, and sight singing and theory practice. The choir performs 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 Andrean Ensemble or Noxontones.

Andrean Ensemble (previously Choral Scholars)

Open to all Forms by permission of instructor

Yearlong Course

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

 

Dance

Dance 1

open to all forms

Semester-Long 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

Dance 2: Ballet

open to all forms

Semester-Long HALF-CREDIT ELECTIVE

PREREQUISITE: Beginning Dance OR PERMISSION OF THE INSTRUCTOR

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

    open to all forms

    Semester-Long Half-credit Elective

    PREREQUISITE: Beginning Dance OR PERMISSION OF THE INSTRUCTOR

    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: Classical Ballet

    Open to V & VI Form Students

    Prerequisites: Dance 2: Ballet, plus permission of instructor

    Yearlong course

    The 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 ballet technique while discovering other aspects of the profession. Following a three-pronged approach to their dance training, students take a weekly technique class, skills & mastery class, and a choreographically focused class. Advanced Studies: Classical Ballet allows students the freedom to pursue their technical and artistic interests in dance as well as focus on developing specific dance-based projects. 

    Advanced Study in Dance: Contemporary

    Open to V & VI Form Students

    Prerequisites: Dance 2: Ballet, plus permission of instructor

    Yearlong course

    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 contemporary dance techniques while discovering other aspects of the profession. Following a three-pronged approach to their dance training students take a weekly technique class, skills & mastery class, and a choreographically focused class. Advanced Studies: Contemporary allows students the freedom to pursue their technical and artistic interests in dance as well as focus on developing specific dance-based projects. 

    Theatre

    Acting 1

    Open to all forms

    Semester-long 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

    Open to IV, V, VI Form students

    Prerequisite: Acting 1 or instructor permission

    Semester-long 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.

    Musical Theatre

    Open to IV, V, VI Form students, and III Form students with Instructor permission

    Semester-long Half-credit elective

    This course will make it possible for students who excel and focus on one performance genre (singing, acting, dancing) to broaden the depth of their work in others artistic areas. Coursework will include body mechanics, movement quality, stage presence and improvisation, instruction in all genres of dance, partner and group dance, improvisation and props, the Laban Technique, timing and dialogue, healthy vocal habits, sight singing, and private voice lessons. The course will conclude with a final solo performance by each student comprised of two songs, a pre-choreographed dance and an improvised dance, and a theatrical monologue.

    Public Speaking

    Open to ALl Forms

    Semester-long 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.