Fine Arts Education

DRAWING                                                                        1 CREDIT   For the first half of this course students will be solely completing observational drawings combined with application of the Art Elements and Design Principle through the use of different drawing materials, subject matter and techniques. Portraits, still life, figure and landscape drawing will be included along with the development of a drawing vocabulary and a working sketchbook.  In the second half of this course students will continue to develop technical drawing skills, with added emphasis on composition and content. Students will review working with line and value as a form-building tools, with the addition of color media. There will be further emphasis on the awareness of the picture plane as a major unifying factor in pictorial art, as well as exploration of a greater variety of drawing materials.

PAINTING                                                                              1 CREDIT Prerequisite:  Students must have earned an 83 or better in Drawing I.  Teacher permission is also required.

This class focuses on learning how to paint representational imagery.  A solid grasp of observational drawings is imperative; understanding spatial relationships, the difference between real and imaginary space and value.  The goal is to demonstrate, with paint, how to portray light traveling across the surface of an object. Color theory and color mixing will be emphasized as the vehicle to attain realism.  In this course, students will use watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints as mediums. The second half of this course will be a continuation of approaches learned in the first half of this course.  Students will be addressing issues presented through still life, portrait, landscape, abstraction, and color theory while using a multitude of painting mediums. Students will also focus on developing content and personal expression.  Painting can be highly frustrating so this class is very challenging. Light source, value, tints, shades, realism, positive and negative space, and ground all must be integrated into each painting. Careful observation of each object and accurate drawing of each object prior to painting will be as important as the actual painting.  Each aspect will be evaluated.

SCULPTURE AND DESIGN                                              1 CREDIT Prerequisite:  Drawing I. Teacher permission is also required.

This is an excellent class for students interested in understanding how to make any project involving layout work better, from graphic design to crafts, yearbook to set design and everything in between.  Learning the qualities of positive and negative space and the interaction between the two is crucial for successful design work. This portion of the course will contain a large amount of drawing and compositional planning.  There will also be a sketchbook component to this course.

In the sculpture section of this course students will be creating 3-D form as it is the basic premise of this exploratory.  The class will use a variety of materials to investigate positive and negative space, modeling, additive vs. subtractive, and combining multiple objects.

ADVANCED ART - Honors                                                  1 CREDIT Prerequisite:  Successful completion of Drawing and Painting.  Teacher permission is also required.

Advanced Art offers sophomores through senior students with studio experience that will  more thoroughly prepare them for a career in visual arts. These students may be considering further study at an art school or university.  Advanced Art is designed to develop a stronger sense of craftsmanship, artistic and aesthetic maturity and a responsibility to one’s personal growth.  Through focused individual and group studies of works of artists from the second half of the century, the students will make identifications with contemporary issues.  The will find their own voice as artists through experimentation with various mediums of their own choosing as well as assigned projects. The technical skills that were developed in the previous classes will continue to be enhanced through experiences that require a variety of media and processes.

ADVANCED DRAWING - Honors                                         1 CREDIT Prerequisite:   Teacher permission is required.

During this course students will be building off of prior knowledge that was acquired during Drawing.  This course is a top tier drawing course in the fine arts program. The Advanced Drawing course is built around a strong foundation in visual understanding and problem solving.  The main focus in this course will be the combination of new techniques and materials as well as experimentation through trial and error and self-exploration. Weekly reflection and critique sessions will be an integral part to this course and the overall development of the advanced drawing portfolio.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT STUDIO ART                                  2 CREDITS Prerequisite:  Successful completion of Advanced Art or Advanced Drawing.   Teacher permission is required.

The AP Studio course is geared towards the development of becoming an independent thinker as well as an informed and critical decision-maker through the development of a portfolio that is personal to your individual talents and interests, while demonstrating at a mastery level through the development of a Drawing portfolio, 2-D design portfolio, or 3-D design portfolio.  Students must be driven and understand this will not be like any art class you have ever taken before. This course is the highest level of rigor in the fine arts program at BHS.

Concert Band 0.5/1 CREDIT

Prerequisites: Participation in ⅞ Grade Band with a grade 85 or higher, or ability to play an instrument at at least a level 2 proficiency, or teacher permission.

Planned as a 4 year course, Concert Band is designed to build and improve instrumental and general musical skills from a student's freshman year to their senior year through the practical application of performance, practice, group work and independent study.  Students are given the opportunity to participate and excel in several off campus music festivals and workshops, in addition to the community events that the Concert Band is required to participate in each year, such as Memorial Day events, Holiday events, Sporting events, Concerts, and Graduation.  The specific learning goals/competencies that students are working to improve throughout their time in Concert Band are musical literacy, expression and interpretation, technique, tone quality, practice techniques and active participation and following.   These learning goals are assessed through the use of formative and summative assessments within each concert/ performance period by method of recorded playing tests, sectional assessment, performance attendance, individual and group growth and enthusiasm.

Concert Band Honors 0.5/1 CREDIT

Prerequisites: Participation in ⅞ grade band with a grade of 95 or higher, participation in Concert Band with a grade of 95 or higher, or teacher permission.

In addition to meaningful participation in Concert Band, students interested in receiving embedded honors credit must be able to play all major scales with varied articulations, perform a level III solo (NYSSMA manual) at our solo night, and submit all reflections in a timely and detailed manner.

Introduction to Piano 1 CREDIT

Prerequisites: none- open to all!  **A great class for band and chorus students to take.

Designed as a one term course, Intro to Piano will start from square one and teach you how to read music, chord charts, vocab and much more!  You will gain the ability to create, perform and record your own songs in a friendly and supportive environment. Music Literacy, basic theory, vocal techniques, performance, composition, and time management will be the primary skills that are focused on throughout the course.  

Introduction to Guitar 1 CREDIT

Prerequisites: participation in Intro to piano with a 2.5 or higher, or teacher permission.

Also designed as a one-term course, intro to guitar will teach you how to read guitar music, play chords and sing and play at the same time.  Culminating in a relaxed performance where the student sings and plays guitar as accompaniment, the course is intended to give you the guitar skills necessary to continue on your own.  You will use classical, acoustic and electric guitars, and will learn how to properly use a pick in addition to finger plucking. Different strumming patterns will be learned, as well as different chord-picking techniques.  

Jazz Band 1 CREDIT

Prerequisites: participation in concert band (wind instruments) or teacher permission, or ability to read chord charts (guitar, bass)

Jazz Band is a course that experiments with, and performs, a wider variety of jazz, pop and rock music.  Required performances include, but are not limited to, all concert band concerts, cabarets and extracurricular events.  Improvisation, solo skills, and ensemble skills will be the primary focus for this course.

CHORUS                                                                         1 CREDIT  

Chorus is an elective class for high school students who desire either to sing or to learn about singing both individually and in a group.  The course is open to all who wish to take it, having demonstrated some basic musical abilities such as pitch comprehension (ability to match a pitch) and a desire to expand energy creating and learning the choral art.  Students may take the course regardless of any amount of prior musical experiences. The course centers around the arts of vocal and choral singing, vocal aspects focusing on solo singing and choral on group singing. Throughout a year’s participation in the course, the student will be required to show proficiency and improvement in choral skills, musical knowledge and vocal production.  Chorus can be taken for a half year, a whole year, four years or any combination in-between. The course is not sequential, and so can allow the students to add or drop at appropriate times during their matriculation at Belmont High School. Musical vocal expression is an outlet for many students of varying musical ability. The process of learning how to use this tool of self-expression requires a course of study involving different methods of its creation and knowledge of the art itself.  Learning how to vocally express oneself involves, among other things, knowledge of how to match pitches to a piano and other vocalists, how to create a pleasing vocal tone that fits into the specific style of song sung, how to make sure that one’s expression can be interpreted correctly by the listener and how the grouped singing of a chorus differs from a solo performance basis: one must perform musically in a trial and error format in order to learn how best to express exactly what one is trying to express.  Classes in the performing arts, such as Chorus, are in place to give the student these opportunities. Attendance at concerts and performances is required and absence from events will affect final grades.


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