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 Program
Emily Pressman

Emily Pressman

Chair, History Department, Theatre, Honor Committee Chair
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

Jazz Improvisation

Open to all forms

saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, piano, drums, and vibraphone 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. Open to all forms, this course may be repeated.


Open to all forms

Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, and Piano students


Learn how to practice effectively and efficiently and how to collaborate vibrantly with all members of the orchestra in order to create well-rehearsed performances of music repertoire for major school concerts and recitals. This course is designed for all string players in the Orchestra, including meetings for Chamber Music groups and sectionals for learning all technical aspects of each of the instruments.

Winds and Percussion

Open to all forms

flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, mallet percussion, timpani and all other percussion students


Student will develop his/her ability as a wind or percussion player by improving his/her practice effectiveness in collaboration with other members of the “band.” This course is designed to support groups for Chamber Music and sectionals for learning all technical aspects of each of the instruments.

Music Theory

open to IV, V, VI Form students

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.

Advanced Study in Music

Prerequisite: Music Theory

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

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.


Introduction to Dance

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.

Intermediate Classical Ballet

open to all forms



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.

    Intermediate Contemporary Dance

    open to all forms

    Semester-Long 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

    Open to V & VI Form Students

    Prerequisites: Intermedia Contemporary Ballet or Intermediate Classical Ballet, plus permission of instructor

    This structure of this yearlong 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.


    Acting 1

    Open to IV, V, VI Form students

    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

    Semester-long Half-credit elective

    Prerequisite: Acting 1 or instructor permission

    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.

    Acting 3

    Open to IV, V, VI Form students

    Semester-long Half-credit elective

    PREREQUISITE: ACTING 1 & Acting 2 or instructor permission

    Acting 3 is for the serious acting student and will be formatted to match that students’ specific interests and talents. Courses in the past have included student teaching, formal performances, and workshops on directing.

    Public Speaking

    Open to IV, V, VI Form students

    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.