Visual and Performing Arts

The Visual and Performing Arts Department’s goal is to expose students to a breadth of artistic styles and build a solid foundation in a variety of artistic and performance techniques so that they can apply creative skills and begin to find a personal artistic style.

Learn to employ creative problem solving and detailed planning in the studio and digital art experience, the creation and performance of musical scores and the application of acting techniques on the stage. Projects allow you to explore, express and develop your creativity. Your teachers will create project opportunities that enhance your critical and creative skills and your well-rounded development. You may participate in art exhibits, musical concerts, and theatrical performances to demonstrate your skills, talents and ability to communicate effectively through the arts.

Two years (20 units) of Visual and Performing Arts are required for graduation. Unless otherwise noted, all Visual and Performing Arts courses are UC-approved as college-preparatory core/elective courses. 

Available Courses in 2017-18

Art 1: Visual Expression
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

In this course, students explore the exciting world of visual arts through hands-­on projects. They will learn about famous artists and the art of different cultures. Students improve their 32 skills with step-­by-­step demonstrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics. The lessons include some of the the tricks that professional artists use to create optical illusions, like how to draw a drop of water on a piece of paper. Students will learn how to talk about art with their peers using the elements and principles of design. This course is for students who want to develop their artistic skills and improve their ability to express their thoughts and feelings through art making.

Art 2: Desktop Publishing and Design
Semester Course; 5 Units

In this course, students make a variety of printed matter including posters, cards, books and even currency, while they study design masters from the past and present. The course provides training in the elements of the design process and the industry standard programs Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Students learn how to identify the way text, illustrations, and photos are used in advertising, commerce, and publicity, while they design, print and construct works of their own creative expression.

Art 2: Digital Illustration
Semester Course; 5 Units

Digital Illustration is the class for students who enjoy computers and like to draw. Students will use Wacom tablets and pens to paint landscapes and life­like portraits in Photoshop, learn to use vector graphics to create abstract and realistic designs in Illustrator, and bridge the divide between what they can imagine and what they can create. Students will identify the elements common to both the graphic and fine arts and see how these relate to various means of personal expression through digital illustration.

Art 2: Drawing
Semester Course; 5 Units

In this course, students gain the skills to draw what they see and make the scenes that they imagine come to life. Students will experiment with many different drawing materials and artistic styles. The opportunity to freely explore of a variety of personal and social topics is provided through sketchbook assignments. Students learn to draw realistic still lifes, symbolic images, and expressive portraits that combine real and imagined subject matter. Each project unit invites exploration of key artistic techniques, terms, theories, and styles. In a supportive classroom community, students will discuss and evaluate each other’s work. The study of art from other cultures and time periods will help them discover a personal artistic voice. This course prepares aspiring artists for advanced studies in art.

Art 2: Painting
Semester Course; 5 Units

In this course, students will create eye catching art using expressive color and energetic strokes of paint.  They will build confidence and skill in the use of color and will have fun experimenting with tools that range from brushes and fingers to wads of paper.  Students will work in a relaxed atmosphere accentuated by music and create projects ranging from striking abstract designs to convincingly realistic scenes.  Students will form a supportive classroom community in which the discussion and evaluation of each other’s work will help them discover their artistic voice.  Aspiring artists should take this essential step in preparing for advanced studies in art.

This course is available to qualified students. It is recommended that students pass Introductory Art: Visual Expression in advance of taking this course or receive instructor approval.

Art 2: Photography
Semester Course; 5 Units

Photography investigates the art and fundamentals of visual communication through the digital image. Students practice artistic expression through the principles of design and the narrative qualities of photography as they learn advanced photo composition and enhancements. The course covers skills to control DSLR cameras, Photoshop editing, studio lighting, and inkjet printing. The history of photography as it relates to society and culture is reviewed in presentations, written, and creative assignments. Through fine art photography and photojournalism students demonstrate their understanding of the media and build a portfolio of work.

Mixed Media Art and Design
Semester Course; 5 Units

This course pursues sophisticated work in Photography and Digital Illustration. Students explore more complex elements of these digital media and will create work including video art, alternative process photography, printmaking, and 3D modeling/printing. This course introduces new technical skills and continues to develop personal expression, composition, and fine art techniques along with critical evaluation and art history. The intention of the course is to support development of work for the AP Studio Art Design portfolio.

Pre-AP Art (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This course is designed to meet the needs of two different groups of students, high achieving student-artists preparing to take Advanced Placement Studio Art or student-artists with a passion to study art at an advanced level.  This course encourages motivated students to work on a semi-independent basis to create a portfolio of art works which demonstrate mastery in one or more of the following mediums: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and/or two-dimensional design. Both instruction and the choice and use of subjects, techniques, and materials are highly personalized. A strong emphasis will be placed upon critiquing for self- evaluation, discovering an individual style, studying art history, and applying the working habits used by professional artists.  Exclusive benefits of this class include the opportunity to take two field trips to a bay area museum and to show art at various on-campus locations and at a local public gallery.  This course is highly recommended for students who are interested in a career in the visual arts or who plan to study art in College.

This course is available to qualified students.  In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in two Advanced Art courses.

Senior Portfolio (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

In special cases, to be determined by and arranged with the instructor, students who have completed Pre-AP Studio Art and still have the passion and drive to continue developing their skills but do not want to enroll in AP Art Studio, may continue to pursue their personal artistic path in Senior Portfolio. Students will work on a semi-independent basis and will work individually with the instructor to determine their assignments. A minimum of four projects will be completed each quarter. Exclusive benefits of this class include the opportunity to take two field trips to a bay area museum and to show art at various on-campus locations and at a local public gallery.  Support will be provided to help students succeed in developing and discovering possible directions for their artistic talents both professionally and personally.

This course is available to qualified students. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of Pre-AP Studio Art.

Portfolio Workshop
Semester Course; 5 Units

This course is designated for junior or senior art students who would like to continue building a portfolio of Art work, but do not have the capacity to complete the number of projects required in an advanced level art course. In addition to portfolio work, Students will assist with the organization and maintenance of the art studio. It is required that students complete a minimum of two portfolio quality art works, preliminary sketches per quarter and assist the teacher with tasks in the studio.

This pass/fail course may be assigned to qualified students by the Assistant Principal of Academics with approval from the VAPA Department Chair.

Studio Art (AP)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

AP Art Studio is designed to guide outstanding art students to the completion of a portfolio that they can submit to colleges of their choice and to the College Board for college credit.  The students will be prepared for the types of expectations that they will encounter in college art programs.  A strong emphasis will be placed on the development of self-evaluation skills, developing an individual style, and good working habits.  Students will work on a semi-independent basis and choose between two portfolio options: The Drawing & Painting Portfolio (focus: traditional media and freehand digital illustration) or the Two-Dimensional Design Portfolio (focus: digital media, photography, and traditional media).  Exclusive benefits of this class include the opportunity to take two field trips to a bay area museum and to show art at various on-campus locations and at a local public gallery. 

This course is available to qualified students.  Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. Students who take this course must submit a portfolio that meets the Advanced Placement requirements to the College Board in May. In order to be eligible to take this course, students must receive department approval (which may include a separate application and/or examination of student work) and attend the mandatory AP Information Night.

Concert Band 1
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

In this course, students will learn about the wonderful and exciting world of band.  Students will receive hands-on experience with a band instrument while learning how to read and write music.  Students will explore the broad and extensive world of many styles and genres of music through daily rehearsals, listening examples, and performances.  

Concert Band 2
Year-Long; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to all students.  There are no pre-requisites associated with this course.

In this course, students will learn about the wonderful and exciting world of band.  Students will receive hands-on experience with a band instrument while learning how to read and write music.  Students will explore the broad and extensive world of many styles and genres of music through daily rehearsals, listening examples, and performances.  

Symphonic Band 1
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. In order to take this course, students must have completed Concert Band 2 or have demonstrated course eligibility on the band placement exam AND receive instructor approval.

Music is the pathway to success and this course is designed to support and develop the advanced player.  In a mature setting, students can excel in their skill as an instrumentalist and explore higher levels of performance, music notation, sight reading, musicianship, analysis, critiquing, composition, arranging, history, theory and small ensemble work.  As leaders in the music program, students will successfully gain a deeper understanding of numerous musical genres and styles in a fast-paced and professional setting.  Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings  are an integral part of this class.

Symphonic Band 2 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This course is a continuation of Honors Symphonic Band 1.  Student knowledge of different genres and styles of music will be expanded. Other core factors of the class such as:  musical notation, composition, arranging, analysis, critiquing, self analysis, historical context, theory, sight-reading, technical skill, musicianship and musical interpretation will be expanded.  Students are encouraged to take on leadership roles in the class and are expected to participate in small group ensembles and as a soloist. Presentations,  music portfolio, written work and a comprehensive final exam are required.  Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings  are an integral part of this class. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in Pep Band and the Musical Orchestra.

Symphonic Band 3 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of Honors Symphonic Band 2 AND receive instructor approval.

This course is a continuation of Honors Symphonic Band 2. Core factors of the class such as: musical notation, composition, arranging, analysis, critiquing, self analysis, historical context, theory, sight-reading, technical skill, musicianship and musical interpretation will become more complex. Students are expected to take on leadership roles in the class such as student conductor and section leader. Ability in soloing and improvisation will be expanded and  students will be encouraged to audition for outside musical groups and expected to participate in small ensembles, Pep Band and the Musical Orchestra. Presentations,  music portfolio, written work and a comprehensive final exam are required. Students are expected to assist other members of the band with theory and aspects of playing an instrument. Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings are an integral part of this class.

Symphonic Band 4 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of Honors Symphonic Band 3 AND receive instructor approval.

This course is a continuation of Honors Symphonic Band 3.  Students in this class will take on higher levels of leadership and demonstrate mastery of: musical notation, composition, arranging, analysis, critiquing, self analysis, historical context, theory, sight-reading, technical skill, musicianship and musical interpretation. Ability in soloing and improvisation will be mastered and  students will be encouraged to audition for outside musical groups and expected to participate in small ensembles, Pep Band and the Musical Orchestra. Presentations, music portfolio, written work and a comprehensive final exam are required. Students are expected to assist other members of the band with theory and aspects of playing an instrument. Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings are an integral part of this class.

Percussion Ensemble 1
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students.  In order to take this course, students must have completed Concert Band 1 or Concert Band 2 AND receive instructor approval.  

This course will take students on a whirlwind tour of countless percussion instruments both traditional and non-traditional, including the drum set and mallets.  Percussion Ensemble is about more than just reading rhythms and playing drum rolls.  This course is designed to introduce students to many styles and genres of percussion music as well as full-ensemble band music.  Styles of playing and technique are essential in this class. Students will develop skill as a player and gain full understanding of music notation, musicianship, theory, history, composition, arranging, critiquing, analysis, improvisation, soloing, and small ensemble work. Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings  are an integral part of this class.

Percussion Ensemble 2 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of Percussion Ensemble 1 AND receive instructor approval.

This course is a continuation of Percussion Ensemble 1.  Skill and technical ability will be extended and refined through playing numerous percussion instruments. Students will be expected to have a more complex understanding of musicianship, theory, history, composition, arranging, critiquing, analysis, improvisation, self analysis, soloing, and small ensemble work. Students will be encouraged to take on leadership roles in the class and soloing and improvisation will be expected and enhanced. Students are also expected to participate in small group ensembles and as a soloist. Presentations,  music portfolio, written work and a comprehensive final exam are required. Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings  are an integral part of this class. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in Pep Band, and the Musical Orchestra.

Percussion Ensemble 3 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of Honors Percussion Ensemble 2 AND receive instructor approval.

This course is a continuation of Honors Percussion Ensemble 2. Complexity of technical skill is expected through playing numerous percussion instruments. Students will be expected to demonstrate a mastery of musicianship, theory, history, composition, arranging, critiquing, analysis, improvisation, self analysis, soloing, and small ensemble work. Students will be expected to take on leadership roles in the class and help other students with technique and theory. Soloing and improvisation will be enhanced and mastered and participation in small ensembles will be expected. Students will also be encouraged to audition for outside ensembles. Presentations, music portfolio, written work and a comprehensive final exam are required. Festivals, field trips, and numerous performance settings  are an integral part of this class. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in Pep Band, and the Musical Orchestra.

Ensemble Workshop
Yearlong Course; 0 Units

This year-long (zero credit) pass/fail course is available to interested students. Students who would like to continue studying music outside of their scheduled 70 units may enroll in this course with approval from the music teacher.

This course is designated for junior or senior music students who would like to continue pursuing music, but do not have the capacity to fit Symphonic Band in their schedules.

Musical Theater 1
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

In this course, actors will explore, investigate and experiment with the tools of acting, ensemble singing, and theater production. Actors will learn improvisation, scene study, Stanislavski and Meisner technique, basic music theory, vocal techniques, theater & musical theater history and play analysis. Actors will demonstrate a command of text, language, voice, physical awareness and comfort on stage. This in-depth and versatile training program is dedicated to bringing professional theater training to students in order to promote truthful, intuitive, and passionate artists with an appreciation for theater.

Musical Theater 2
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This course expands on students’ introductory acting skills and provides an in depth exploration of musical theater as a vibrant medium of human expression. Students will investigate and experiment with the tools of acting, singing, and dance technique. The student will explore the craft of acting in a conservatory approach that involves improvisation, scene and song study, Stanislavski & Meisner technique, vocal techniques and practices, musical theater history and basic dance technique, styles and choreography. This course is recommended to students who have taken Musical Theater 1 or have previous theater experience.

Musical Theater 3 (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This course provides an advanced, in depth exploration of musical theater and theater production. Students will explore with the tools of directing, audition technique, solo performance and play production. Actors will demonstrate a command of text, language, voice, physical awareness and comfort on stage and in an audition setting. Additionally, Honors Musical Theater 3 students will direct, produce, and perform in a Mini-Musical Night in May that will serve both as a showcase for student learning and as summative assessment of that learning. This course is recommended to students who have take two years of musical theater courses or the equivalent in theater experience.

Theater: Play Production (Honors)
Yearlong Course; 10 Units

This year-long (10 unit) course is available to qualified students. Students who earn a C- or higher in this course will earn an extra grade point toward their grade point average. In order to take this course, students must have earned a B- or higher in both semesters of  Honors Musical Theater 3 OR receive instructor approval.

In the first semester, students will work together to direct, produce, and perform a one-act play or musical of their choosing to be performed for the public. Class time will be used for preparation and rehearsal. In the second semester, students will focus on theater for social change, investigating how theater can be used and experienced beyond the audience-performer relationship. The class will explore and participate in service learning opportunities that theater can be highlighted.

Department Faculty: 
Paula Cekola
Teaches: Beginning Band, Concert Band, Advanced Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble
Director of Technology and Integration
Teaches: Desktop Publishing, Photography, Digital Illustration, Intro to Art, Drawing
Teaches: Introductory Art, Painting, Pre-AP Studio Art, AP Studio Art
Teaches: Musical Theatre, Advanced Musical Theatre, Lifetime Fitness