Visual and Performing Arts: Upper School

To meet the one-credit arts requirement for graduation, students may take any of the classes listed in this Course Description Booklet under “Visual and Performing Arts” with the exception of Woodworking, and Computer Animation. Additionally, Web Design, Yearbook Design, and the yearbook Digital Imaging courses do not satisfy the requirement. Students may also earn 1/3 credit for the requirement through performance in a concert or play. Students interested in this option should contact the appropriate instructor for information about the process.


Studio Dance in Beginner Tap (fall term course) This is a technique course in which students will learn basic tap steps and terminology, use basic steps in combinations and extended tap routines, and investigate straight-time and syncopated rhythms. Students will also view films of professional artists in concerts and read selected literature. The students are required to have tap shoes. No previous experience required.

Studio Dance in Advanced Tap (fall term course) This course is for serious dancers who appreciate the artistry of tap dance. It is designed in the format of a repertory dance class, i.e., the primary focus is to learn and perform advanced choreography. Students review and perfect technical skills acquired in the intermediate tap course and expand them by learning increasingly difficult steps and rhythmic arrangements. Great emphasis is placed on performance style, musicality, dexterity, speed, rhythmic accuracy and clear, articulated sound production.

The instructor also pays considerable attention to proper body alignment and optimal use of arms and the upper body in an appropriate stylized manner. Students practice to various musical forms including: ragtime, big band/swing, pop, rock & roll and classical jazz. The class as an ensemble, or in small groups, will perform one or more tap dances on the program of “McDonogh Dances,” the annual Upper School dance concert. It is expected that students will attend all classes prepared to participate with energy and enthusiasm. The final grade will reflect a student’s individual progress as a tap dancer. This course should provide a sense of satisfaction which comes with the completion of a process that requires focused, sustained effort, as well as a renewed appreciation of the aesthetics of tap dancing. Class time will be arranged and is generally scheduled after regular school hours. Previous experience is required to enroll in this course. If students have trained in tap somewhere other than McDonogh School, then permission of the instructor is required to enroll. Students may take this course more than once. Students must provide tap shoes.

Studio Dance in Jazz (winter term course) This technique course will include floor work to increase flexibility and strength, standing and across-the-floor exercises, and movement combinations that incorporate the classical jazz dance styles of Matt Mattox and Luigi. Some Funk or Hip-Hop styles may appear from time to time. Students will also view films of professional jazz dance artists in concert and read selected literature. Students are required to wear jazz or ballet dance shoes.
Prerequisite: Previous experience in jazz dance and/or ballet.

Studio Dance in Intermediate Tap (spring term course) This is a technique course that will advance beginner students to the intermediate level. New skills will be taught and old skills will be perfected. Students must have tap shoes.
Prerequisite: Previous experience in tap.

Visual Arts

Art I—Foundation (year course) This course establishes the foundation for all upper level courses in the visual arts. Students learn about the processes in art making using a variety of techniques and materials. Teachers guide students towards greater confidence in synthesizing their knowledge through their personal expression in two-dimensional (drawing, painting, collage) and three-dimensional (sculpture, clay, bookmaking) works. A generic set of art supplies must be purchased from the school store. A set of acrylic paints, brushes, drawing pencils, charcoal and sketchbook will be included for purchase ($55.00). The art department will supply all other art supplies and equipment.
Note: Students requesting to bypass Art I are required to present a portfolio of ten to fifteen works demonstrating their maturity and involvement in a program of studies in visual arts.

Art II (year course) Students who are seriously interested in visual arts will have an opportunity to experience an intensive course in drawing and painting and explore a variety of concepts and media. Students should contact Ms. DeVane, Head of Visual Arts, to schedule a portfolio review. Because of limited enrollment, this class is on a first come, first served basis.
Prerequisite: Portfolio of ten to fifteen works demonstrating skill or involvement in a program of studies in visual arts. McDonogh Middle Schoolers must receive recommendation of Head of Middle School Art.

Photography I (year course) This course will engage students in the full experience of basic black and white photography. Students will learn how to operate a 35mm single lens reflex camera, process black and white film, and make traditional black and white photographic prints in a darkroom setting. Photography assignments will initially explore the creative controls of the 35mm camera and grow into projects that focus on composition, portraits, architecture, and other photographic genres. Students will also be introduced to flatbed scanning, film scanning, Adobe Photoshop, and basic movie making programs. A strong emphasis is placed on individual expression and the value of Photography as a fine art.
Note: Students are expected to have a 35mm S.L.R. camera that can be used for photographic assignments. The Art Department has (4) 35mm S.L.R. cameras available for temporary checkout for those students who do not have their own camera.
Prerequisite: Art I or by permission of the instructor

Honors Photography II (year course) Building on the foundations of Photography I, this course explores advanced photographic techniques and seeks to develop a student’s personal vision in photography. Students will experiment with sequential imagery, portraiture, personal narrative, non-silver printing, and digital color photography. At the culmination of this course, students will have created work using alternative output for their imaging, such as fiber paper, watercolor paper, and archival inkjet prints, resulting in a portfolio that is diversified in both technical skill and conceptual ideas.
Prerequisite: Photography I or permission of the instructor.

Honors Photography III (year course) This course blends traditional black and white photography with studio lighting, alternative processes, book making, and image and text format, which allows the advanced student to truly express themselves through the photographic medium. Specific problems are designed to facilitate investigations into one’s personal insight. Students will be expected to produce a portfolio that exemplifies the mature artist using fine art photography as the primary medium.
Prerequisite: Photography II or permission of the instructor

Drawing and Painting I (year course) This course will concentrate on developing observational and technical skills. Students will practice active seeing using still life objects, landscape and the human figure while developing personal expressions and strategies in drawing and painting. Using wet and dry media such as graphite, watercolor, charcoal, pastels, and acrylic paint, the student will explore light/dark studies, composition, color theory, and perspective. Students will maintain a sketchbook for presentation at the end of each term. Works will be photographed during the year to be used for portfolios for future college application.
Prerequisite: Art I or permission of the instructor

Biological Structures and Observational Drawing (fall term course) (Elective: 1/3 credit science and art) This inter-disciplinary course is offered by the science and art departments for the purpose of improving observational skills through drawing using insects, skeletons, plants, etc. as subjects for intense biological studies. Students will study the scientific form and function of the subject(s) collected from outside or chosen by the instructors. Students will produce a series of studies in a variety of mediums (charcoal, pencil, pastels, watercolor and clay). The work will be judged on both perceptual drawing skills and accuracy. A scientific research paper is due at the end of each drawing study.
Prerequisite: Biology and Art I

Honors Drawing & Painting (year course) This course will build on the drawing and painting skills covered in Drawing and Painting I. Students will be introduced to a variety of new techniques including silkscreen and mixed media. The focus in the class will be on the development of concepts. Each student will solve the problem of how to visualize a given concept. Students may be required to purchase materials such as oil paints, brushes and specialty papers during the course of the year. Students can bring their own oil paints and brushes, or purchase studio supplies from the art department. All work from this course will be photographed for portfolio and college application purposes.
Note: This course will provide the opportunity for the student interested in completing the AP art portfolio.
Pre-requisite: Drawing & Painting I

Mixed Media (year course) This course extends the framework for art-making beyond the use of one medium and is based on concept development. Using paint, book making, sewing, construction, photography, drawing, digital media, and found objects, students will be uniquely challenged to respond to the assignments with personal expression. Experimentation and risk taking are encouraged. However, technical competency and the desire to learn new skills are required. Some projects require special materials that are not part of the art department general supplies and must be purchased by the students. All work from this course will be photographed for portfolio and college application purposes. Museum and gallery visits will be used to intensify the studio experience.
Prerequisite: Art I and preferably another course

Art Video (year course) (junior/senior elective) This course will explore the expressive capacity of digital imagery, video technology, and the concepts behind film. A historical overview of moving images will be introduced and students will learn the basic techniques of video production, composition, lighting, editing, and sound editing. They will examine the artistic and conceptual ideas used in contemporary art video and develop creative projects based on the themes covered in class.

John McDonogh “Slave Memorial Project” (spring term elective) This course will examine John McDonogh’s life and his relationship both with his slaves and with the institution of slavery using the letters from McDonogh School’s archives. The course will be unique in that the students will explore the meaning of monuments/memorials and look at contemporary works. A guided tour of monuments will shed light on the kinds of monuments and memorials that exist in Maryland and students will research examples of monuments. Afterwards, the students will propose and render their ideas in a scale model in an attempt to correlate their ideas with the current efforts to build a slavery memorial on McDonogh’s campus. The final products will be presented in an exhibition.
Instructor: Ms. DeVane

Environmental Design (year course) This course is intended for students in the 11th and 12th grades interested in the fields of architecture, furniture, clothing and graphic design. Students create and interpret the environment in which we live. The course is based on a project each term. Students will design and build a scale model of a livable dwelling, create a life size cardboard chair, and redesign a “product design” or graphic using technology. All work from this course will be photographed for portfolio and college application purposes. Museum and gallery visits will be used to intensify the studio experience and provide a reality-based experience of careers in the field.
Prerequisite: Art I
Instructor: Mr. Zimmerman

Honors Advanced Art Studio (year course) We do not offer AP Art Studio as a separate course; however, any student interested in pursuing the AP should begin asking about the requirements in their sophomore year. The courses offered at McDonogh in painting, drawing, photography and clay sculpture have been used to prepare for the AP Art portfolio, and we encourage students to take MICA’s pre-college summer program to enhance their portfolios. McDonogh instructors have all taught at MICA and will provide critical guidance in order for students to develop and organize a concentrated body of work to make up a portfolio. The portfolio can be used for liberal arts or art college applications, and passing the AP studio art exam with a 4 or above will sometimes increase chances in receiving scholarships.
Prerequisite: Art I, at least two courses from the visual arts curriculum, or recommendation of art instructors.

Introduction to Clay (year course) Clay is one of the most popular materials of traditional sculpture. The goal of this course is for students to learn basic hand building skills: pinch, coil, soft and hard slabs. Students will learn to operate the slab machine and the clay extruder and be able to test fire glazes to use as a color palette. As part of this class, students will focus on creating sculptural forms. Projects will be approached in a progressive step-by-step process to completion. Students will use these basic hand-building skills to create personal clay forms and objects.
Note: This class may only be taken for one term.
Prerequisite: Art I

Ceramics II (year course) This is a second level course designed for students continuing into their second year in clay. Students will focus on creating sculptural forms and investigating other ceramic processes such as mold making, press molds, tile making, mosaics, and glazing. This course covers the exploration of textual surface and glaze color palettes. Students will be encouraged to express their personal point of view to create their work.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Clay

Ceramic III and 3-D Design (year course) This is an advanced level ceramic class involving a general overview of some basic techniques in making three-dimensional art. Students will continue to explore their unique personal imagery using clay. We will be experimenting with wire, wood, plaster, foam, found objects, and more to help students understand the relationship of forms in space. We will look at both traditional and contemporary sculptors as inspiration. Gallery visits will be used to intensify the studio experience. Senior students will work towards creating an exhibition at the end of the school year. All work will be photographed for portfolio and college applications for a fee.
Prerequisite: Ceramic Studio 2 or recommendation of instructor.

Instrumental Music

Concert Band (year course) This ensemble is dedicated to the performance of material composed or transcribed specifically for Concert Band. Music selection will be from both standard and popular repertoire. Students should expect to compete at the district and state levels. There are two major, mandatory concerts: one in December and one in May.
Prerequisite: Recommendation by the director or audition required.
Instructor: Mr. Hengen

Percussion Ensemble (year course) This ensemble will meet one period a week and be dedicated to the performance of material composed or transcribed specifically for percussion ensemble. Percussion students enrolled in Concert Band or Jazz Band will attend this course as part of the Band requirements. Music selection will be from standard and popular repertoire.
Note: This course counts for only 1/3 credit.
Instructor: Mr. Hudson

Jazz Band (year course) There are two and sometimes three jazz ensembles (stage bands) depending upon enrollment. All Jazz Band courses are designed to explore those styles of music not normally associated with concert bands, including swing, rock, bebop, Latin and contemporary selections. These ensembles provide fundamental skills and knowledge of this music through performance. Study includes solo improvisation and ensemble performance. Participation is required in Jazz Band concerts and performances outside of the regular school day. These performance dates, including the major December and May concerts, will be identified at the beginning of the year.
Prerequisite: Recommendation by the director or audition.
Director: Mr. New

Music Technology (year course) This course is designed to introduce students to digital music systems and digital music synthesizers. Students will learn about MIDI, modern music, composition techniques, digital audio recording, digital audio editing, and digital synthesis. Students will be granted studio time and will be expected to spend time in the studio practicing and creating. Collaborations with other arts (dance, art, film, theatre, performance) throughout the semester will be encouraged.
Prerequisite: Recommendation of instructor.
Instructor: Mr. New

String Orchestra (year course) This ensemble will be dedicated to learning and performing material composed or transcribed specifically for String Orchestra (violin, viola, cello, and bass) or string ensembles (trios, quartets). Students should expect to compete at the district and state levels. There are three major concerts. Students should demonstrate the mastery of skills presented in the middle of Suzuki Book Three or higher. Note: Private lessons are strongly encouraged.
Prerequisite: Recommendation by the director or audition.
Instructor: Mr. Shaud

Choral Music

Concert Choir (year course) This select group of students performs pieces from different periods in music history and different geographic areas in multiple languages. There is an emphasis on vocal techniques and sight singing. Class members have opportunities to perform both on and off campus, including participation in the annual AIMS Choral Festival. There are two yearly concerts, one in the winter and one in the spring. Students have the opportunity to travel as part of an International Performance Tour every two years.
Prerequisite: Audition with the director.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen

Senior Singers (year course) This select group of senior students performs with the Concert Choir at all concerts in addition to preparing its own repertoire. The group is responsible for providing music at graduation.
Prerequisite: Prior Concert Choir experience or audition with the director.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen

Maestrillo (year course) This course is provided upon request as a practicum for budding student conductors. The student conductors hand-select a group of vocalists from upper school performance groups and work with them to practice conducting skills for classical repertoire. The group performs at the annual spring concert.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen

Music Theory I (year course) This course introduces the student to the elements of music. Among the topics covered are: scales and intervals, key and time signatures, chords and progressions, and four-part choral writing. Work will be done in developing listening skills for writing rhythms and pitches. No prior knowledge of music is required.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher, or with permission of the instructor.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen

Advanced Placement Music Theory (year course) This course continues the study of eighteenth and nineteenth century harmony, counterpoint, and form begun in Music Theory I. Listening skills in melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic dictation are geared to the Advanced Placement examination. Additionally, the students’ creative skills are explored through an investigation into twentieth century compositional techniques.
Prerequisite: Music Theory I or permission of instructor.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen

Post-Advanced Placement Music Theory (year course) This course continues with topics not covered in Advanced Placement Music Theory. Among those topics are counterpoint, composition, arranging, conducting, music history, and advanced harmony.
Prerequisite: Advanced PLacement Music Theory or permission of instructor.
Instructor: Mr. Olsen


Basic Theatre (fall term course) This course is designed to introduce the student to the world of theatre. The first part of the course focuses on improvisation, character development, and monologue study, which is followed by studies in makeup design, costume design, and set design. This background is then applied through critique of one professional regional performance.
Instructor: Ms. Tanury

Improvisatory Theatre (fall term course) Improvisatory theatre serves as an excellent foundation for all acting, scripted or otherwise. In this course, we will learn the fundamentals of improvisatory theatre and explore baseline elements of acting like choosing and articulating an objective, making specific choices, committing to the moment, etc. Constant active participation is required of all students throughout the term.
Instructor: Dr. Costa

Theatrical Production (winter term course) This course is an introduction to the major historical elements and theory of theatrical production including, but not limited to, back of house administration and organization, various design disciplines, basic collaboration, and an overview of current trends and technologies. The course will place specific emphasis upon the stage manager component and the basic procedures involved with mounting a performing arts production and “calling” a show.
Instructor: Ms. Tanury

Shakespeare (winter term course) “[M]any actors, particularly if they’re not familiar with Shakespeare, very understandably look at the verse as some kind of threat…But no, it’s there to help the actor. It’s full of little hints from Shakespeare about how to act a given speech or scene. It’s stage direction in shorthand. So let’s try to find out how his verse works...Shakespeare was an actor, and I believe that his verse is above all a device to help the actor.” —John Barton, director with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and author of Playing Shakespeare: An Actor’s Guide
I preface my course description with the words of John Barton because this passage represents the approach towards Shakespeare that our class will adopt; we will learn how to use his language to help us become more sophisticated, truthful actors. The first part of the course will be largely concerned with text work, and the second half will focus on analyzing, preparing, and performing monologues. No prior knowledge of Shakespeare or of acting is required.
Instructor: Dr. Costa

Light Design (spring term course) Students learn basic theory and techniques of light design for the stage. Students will learn how to hang, focus, and circuit instruments. Emphasis is on color interpretation and rhythm through the use of metaphor and music. The course will conclude with a final project. No prior knowledge of theatre is required.
Note: Students should not fear heights.
Instructor: Ms. Tanury

Acting (term course) What does it mean “to act”? This will be the question we interrogate in this course as we work on short scenes, one-act plays, and exercises throughout the term. Among other things, we will seek to understand that acting isn’t a mysterious, cerebral enterprise, but rather a craft that engages our whole person in action. To this end, we will practice what it means to – in Sanford Meisner’s phrase – “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” Regular attendance, active positive participation, reading, scene analysis, and in-class performance is required.
Instructor: Dr. Costa

Advanced Studio Workshop (as needed)This course is designed for students who wish to develop their acting skills at the pre-professional level. Intended for students who demonstrate a serious commitment to the theatre, this course typically focuses on rehearsing a studio production of a complete play.
Note: Enrollment is by invitation of department head.
Instructor: Dr. Costa

The Institute for Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies (two-year sequence) The Institute for Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies is a two-year intensive program in which students will use a Shakespeare play as the nexus for a varied and extensive study in the humanities. In year one, students immerse themselves in the themes and concerns of one Shakespeare play. From this starting point, students will research and build a list of correlative readings from other works of literature, study the history of the Early Modern period, and gather other appropriate material. Year two will explore the conditions of Elizabethan playmaking, with concentrated study of playhouse design, original practices staging, and the business of theatrical production.
Prerequisite: An application process requiring a resume, a letter of intent, an audition, and an interview with an Institute instructor. No former theatre experience is required; students are considered based on proficiency with verse and vocal ability.
Instructors: TBA

Visual and Performing Arts: Middle School


Fifth and Sixth Grades As part of a rotation designed to provide exposure to the arts, students spend various weeks throughout the year in dance as part of their physical education class. Rather than being centered on performance, this course focuses on creative movement and improvisation, allowing the students to explore the possibilities their bodies provide for art and expression. This discovery is accompanied by basic technique, but the goal is to put the students in touch with their expressivity. No previous experience is necessary to enjoy this course.
Instructor: Ms. Kessell

Seventh and Eighth Grades This course is designed for students who are enthusiastic about the art of dance. Emphasis is placed on learning the formal elements and technical skills associated with jazz, modern, and character dance. Students create their own choreography when they investigate how “inspiration” leads into the process of original dance composition. This course promotes the ideals necessary to produce the sense of ensemble required for successful classroom and performance experiences. No previous experience is necessary to enjoy this course.
Instructor: Ms. Kessell

Visual Arts

Art Select, Seventh Grade This course introduces students to an array of art concepts. Beginning with a solid foundation in drawing and design, students in this course then explore a variety of media including charcoal, paint, and pastels. Emphasis is placed on art projects that encourage personal exploration and examination of varied cultures.
Instructor: Mrs. Wolf

Art Select, Eighth Grade This course combines aspects of traditional fine arts with contemporary crafts and digital media. Painting with acrylics and watercolor, drawing in a wide variety of materials, and use of mixed media are explored, with a strong emphasis on observational drawing. Fibers and polymer clays will be utilized in crafts projects. Flash animation and programming for interaction, 3-D modeling and animation, and many aspects of Photoshop will make use of the Computer Arts Lab. Students are expected to be prepared to develop strong, developmentally appropriate proficiencies, particularly in observational drawing and Photoshop, during the course of study.
Instructor: Mr. Detwiler

Digital Media, Seventh Grade Digital Media I is a year-long course that will introduce students to basic digital media literacy including photography, video, audio, design, and presentation skills. In particular, the course will focus on technology and its application for self-expression. Students will work individually and in collaborative groups in order to design, evaluate, and operate different hardware and software to demonstrate their ability to create audio-visual projects.
Instructor: Mr. Goode

Digital Media, Eighth Grade Digital Media II will extend the application of the technical and artistic skills developed in the Seventh Grade course in order to focus on aspects of the production and publication of digital media. In particular, the course will continue the focus of technology and its application for self-expression. Students will demonstrate their mastery of literacies including photography, audio, video, aspects of good design, and presentation skills, in order to produce individual and collaborative projects.
Note: Students who have not taken Digital Media I will be accepted on application and completion of a summer portfolio.
Instructor: Mr. Goode

Instrumental Music

Band, Fifth Grade Learn to play a musical instrument! In this course, we will divide into Brass and Woodwind sections to cover basic technique, musical notation and terminology, music reading, and sight reading, all on an instrument of your choice. Available instruments include: Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba. Percussion is available only as an exception and will require the playing of bells and xylophone. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available. There is an in-school concert in November and an evening concert in May.
Instructor: Mr. Hengen

Band, Sixth Grade Building upon skills learned in fifth grade, we will continue to become familiar with our instruments and learn how to perform both as individuals and as part of the larger ensemble. Students should have at least one year of experience or must agree to private lessons along with acceptance into the band. Instruments available include: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba. Percussion is available by recommendation and/or audition. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available. There is an in-school concert in November and an evening concert in May.
Instructor: Mr. Hengen

Band, Seventh Grade Equipped with a foundational knowledge, we will begin to explore musicality and expression along with a more challenging repertoire. By this time, we will also be well-versed in music reading and use of musical terminology. Students should have one or two years of previous experience on a wind or percussion instrument. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available. There are two evening concerts, one in December and one in May.

Band, Eighth Grade Advanced Band serves as a performance group and offers preparation for entrance into the Upper School Instrumental Music Ensembles. The focus of this course is students’ ability to perform as an ensemble, with concentration on intonation, listening, and blend. Students should have two or three years of previous experience. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available. There are two evening concerts, one in December and one in May.

String Orchestra, Fifth Grade In the fifth grade string orchestra, students practice good technique and posture for their instrument. Music written for groups with different levels of experience is used to provide a challenge for every member. String ensemble builds teamwork and gives each student an outlet for self-expression. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available.

String Orchestra, Sixth Grade The sixth grade string orchestra builds upon the skills learned in the fifth grade. Students learn shifting and vibrato and continue more advanced theory. Ensemble skills and intonation are further developed. One year of prior experience is required. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available.

String Orchestra, Seventh Grade The seventh grade string player is proficient in basic instrumental technique and music theory. This ensemble studies advanced positions and bow technique. The repertoire includes music by the major composers, ethnic music, and popular themes from movies. There are opportunities for concerts both on and off campus. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available.

String Orchestra, Eighth Grade This orchestra is a performance-based course for string players with a command of the basic techniques. These include note reading, shifting, and vibrato. Students practice and perform music to challenge them and improve their abilities. The music is chosen from classical and popular repertoire. Instrument rentals are handled through the school, and financial help is available.

Performing Arts

Behind the Curtain (non-performance based) What do stars like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez have in common? They all have a fabulous team of costume designers, makeup artists, casting agents, directors, and music producers working to make them great. Available to fifth and sixth graders, this course will go “behind the curtain” to see what it’s really like to design costumes, apply stage makeup, cast actors, direct shows, and produce music for theater, movies, and TV. Students will explore the “nuts and bolts” of production, including sound effects, set design, and Halloween effects. A field trip to a professional local production will be included.
Instructors: Ms. Bratz, Ms. Senich

Fifth Grade Onstage I is a singing and acting class that teaches how to be a performer. In order to develop acting skills, we will participate in theater games, acting improvisation, and use of speaking voice relating to a character. We also study techniques such as breathing, tone production, and expression to develop singing voice, accompanied by practical skills like music reading and basic musical theatre movement. After seeing these skills applied in performance by professionals, we will apply them to a variety of styles arranged in two parts, including jazz, classical, spirituals, foreign language, and folk, as well as partaking in audition workshops for the spring musical and beyond.
Instructor: Mrs. Eldridge

Sixth Grade Building on Onstage I, we will explore further foundational elements of acting and singing in Onstage II. We will learn about characterization, or the process of becoming a character rather than acting like one, and begin to use that practice in short scene and monologue exercises. Vocal arrangements will be written in three parts, and individual and small group repertoire will include selections from Broadway shows, art songs, and, for those who are interested, jazz repertoire.
Instructor: Mrs. Eldridge

Seventh Grade Foundational skills will progress in Onstage III to a more performance-based, practical application. We will explore scene work and monologues from a variety of sources including stage plays, movies, musicals, Shakespeare, and student-written works. Vocal arrangements will be written in four parts, and we will study intermediate music reading skills accordingly. Dedicated students will have the opportunity to audition for the Honors Choir, a select, competitive performance group that meets in addition to Onstage.
Instructor: Mrs. Eldridge

Eighth Grade Onstage IV/Eighth Notes provides the transition from middle school skill-building to preparation for auditions for Upper School performance groups. As an ensemble, we will write, rehearse, direct, and perform short scenes and monologues. We will study advanced music reading skills and musical theatre movement that will help with entrance into Upper School plays, as well as the Concert Choir, Gentlemen Songsters, Women of Note, and Clef Hangers. Dedicated students will have the opportunity to audition for the Honors Choir, a select, competitive performance group that meets in addition to Onstage.
Instructor: Mrs. Eldridge

Visual and Performing Arts: Lower School


At a young age, children are insatiably curious and have a unique attentiveness to the detail of a world they are just beginning to discover. The lower school art curriculum is designed to maximize on that inquisitiveness by showing students how to use forms and colors for expression. The program includes real-life situations that require creative problem solving in a comfortable environment, which lay the foundation for the creative risk-taking and artistic responsibility.
Instructor, Grades K-2: Beckie Lamborn
Instructor, Grades 2-4: Joan Newcomer

Music and Movement

The lower school music curriculum is developed from the theories and practices of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Zoltan Kodaly, and Carl Orff. Through a multifaceted approach, teachers use a wide range of assistive tools to help the students tap into their expressive capability, including incorporation of other disciplines into the curriculum. In the later grades, students also learn basic music reading skills. The diverse experiences in the curriculum are aimed at helping the students develop a love and respect for music and become aware of its all-encompassing nature.
Instructor, Grades K-1: Kara Zimmerman
Instructor, Grades 2-4: Javon Morris-Byam

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McDonogh School | 410.363.0600 |
8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117