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Arts

THE MISSION OF THE ARTS AT BRENTWOOD SCHOOL IS TO INSPIRE PERSONAL AND INTELLECTUAL GROWTH THROUGH THE EXPLORATION, CRITICAL ANALYSIS AND DISCIPLINED PRACTICE, AND ULTIMATELY THE SHARED EXPERIENCE OF CREATIVE EXPRESSION.

Middle School Arts Gallery

Our arts faculty, artists and performers themselves, offer instruction in visual arts, dance, music, and theater. In every course, our teachers strive to foster self-knowledge, a willingness to experiment and take risks, an understanding that through art we create and reflect culture, and a commitment to the creative process. Exhibits, recitals, and productions throughout the year celebrate our students’ accomplishments.

In the Middle School, during both their 7th and 8th Grade year, students are required to develop their skills and creativity by choosing from one of the following performing arts offerings: Choral Music, Instrumental Music, dance, and drama. They will also select one of the following visual arts offerings: digital art, sculpture, and studio art.

Dance

Movement

In Movement, we will explore fundamentals of all dance forms. These are space, time, and levels. In order to explore these concepts, we will use an eclectic mix of dance styles such as: contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, African and Michael Jackson week, and break dancing. We will focus on choreography in which the students will do a deep exploration in to how to make a dance. Students will learn about all the tools that are needed to create a successful dance. Students will investigate how to make a dance through the viewing of live and recorded performances. Students will create small pieces throughout the semester which will be developed into a final piece that will be performed for the class. Students will explore creative movement with props such as skate boards. We will also use improvisation, live and recorded performances to understand these concepts. At the end of the semester the students will perform in the winter or spring dance recital.

Middle School Dance Company

Middle School Dance Company is a year long class designed for students who are passionate and dedicated to dance and movement. In this course students will study classical and new forms of movement (Such as ballet, jazz, break dancing, and contemporary). Students will have a chance to experience traditional forms of movement (ie: African) and pop dance (ie: Hip Hop). We will also learn about the history and cultures that surround each of the dance styles studied. In addition to investigating dance technique the students will explore choreography, costuming, lighting, and set design. Students will have multiple opportunities to create their own dance pieces and share them with the Brentwood community. Students will not only perform their own works but the works of professional dancers. We will use the tools of live and recorded performances as well as guest artists to further our understanding of the diaspora of dance. This class is by placement only.

Digital Art

During this semester long course, the students will develop their electronic imaging and digital art skills. Using Photoshop and Illustrator the students will learn to manipulate images, create digital collages and apply typography using the principles of design. Working with layers, masking, restoring photography and computer generated painting are among the skills that will be covered. A range of open ended themes and expressive possibilities will allow students to explore a variety of subject matter while learning the elements and principles of art. All the basic technical skills necessary to create art using digital media will be incorporated as well.

Drama

Drama

The art of drama is an exploration and communication of the human experience. From improvisation to character creation to acting technique, becoming a student of drama will encourage your creative side to emerge. You will develop the ability to relax, to trust, to expand your capacity for empathy and to look at the world through a creative lens. You will learn how to be confident on stage through playing theater games, performing scenes from plays and by writing monologues and dialogues with your classmates. Through collaboration, you will discover new ideas and skills and you will share these discoveries with our community through performance.

Middle School Theater Company

To stand before an audience and tell a story through dramatic art is a thrill unlike any other. To learn how the dramatic form of expression can enlighten, surprise and inform an audience is truly exciting. Through dramatic study, each student can define their point of view on the world while studying acting techniques and the history of theater. As an advanced performance ensemble, you will learn to connect with others and explore the creative process through scene work, character analysis and performance. The year will begin with an introduction to acting technique and an exploration of ensemble work. Through improvisation games and story telling exercises, the students will develop their creative voice both individually and as an ensemble. In small groups, they will develop scenes and stories to bring to the stage. The year will include a rehearsal period and performance of a dramatic production. This course is intended to be an advanced level study of theater in the Middle Division, open to students who are committed to participating in a production and being a dedicated member of a performance ensemble.


Filmmaking

Each student who takes the Filmmaking course will take on an important role in the creation of a several projects including writing, developing, filming, and editing original pieces of their own creative work while working toward an overall end of the semester short film. Each collaborative group project will begin with a screenwriting brainstorm to encourage strong and interesting stories and will write a short script with a strong beginning, middle and end. Students will take part in in the complete pre-production, production, and post-production process by designing sets, determining wardrobe, and storyboarding that will guide them through the shoot. The process of shooting will involve using locations around campus, inviting actors and faculty to join scenes and using the school's film equipment respectfully and responsibly. Our final product will be fully edited using computer equipment and professional editing software. To enhance their creative storytelling, the students will add music, titles and special effects.

Music

Band I

Band I is a beginning concert band of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone horn, French horn, electric bass, and percussion players. The number of percussion and bass players is limited. We develop musical skill and perception through rehearsing and performing a varied repertoire of music. Students will master the instrumental and music reading skill to audition for jazz band or orchestra for the following year. This class may only be taken once. Students ordinarily provide their own instruments, but the school has some instruments to borrow. Contact Mr. Crocker by August 1, about selecting which instrument to study.

Chorus

Chorus is a full-year performing and learning ensemble of young men and women. Through the study and performance of many styles of music, students will learn how to share musical patterns, emotional communication, and awareness of culture and history with an audience. Our activities in chorus center around the goals of improving individual vocal technique as the voice changes, learning to read and write musical notation, building effective group rehearsal and performance behavior, practicing ear training and musicianship, and developing musical style and perception through a varied repertoire of music.

Orchestra

Orchestra is a full-year, intermediate level performing and learning ensemble of string, wind, brass, and percussion players. Through the study and performance of many styles of music, students will learn how to share musical patterns, emotional communication, and awareness of culture and history with an audience. Our activities in orchestra center around the goals of improving individual instrumental technique and practice skills, learning to read and write musical notation, building effective group rehearsal and performance behavior, practicing ear training and musicianship, and developing musical style and perception through a varied repertoire of music.

Rhythm Section Workshop

Rhythm Section Workshop is a performing and learning ensemble of drum, piano, guitar, and electric bass players. Through the study and performance of many styles of music, students will learn how to share musical patterns, emotional communication, and awareness of culture and history with an audience. Our activities in rhythm section workshop center around the goals of improving individual instrumental technique and practice skills, learning to read and write musical notation and charts, improvisation, building effective group rehearsal and performance behavior, practicing ear training and musicianship, and developing musical style and perception through a varied repertoire of music.

Sculpture

With a basis in three dimensional form, a variety of sculptural concepts and materials will be explored. Techniques in clay, plaster, wire sculpture and mixed media assemblage will be introduced, as well as concepts like sculptural maquettes. By exploring how artists develop ideas three-dimensionally, students learn about issues addressed by contemporary art, and complete work on a series of individual and collaborative projects.

Studio Art

This course offers an experience of drawing, painting, and design in order to expand students’ fluency in the visual language of art. Building on skills learned, assignments will explore the ideas behind art making in historical and contemporary art forms. Drawing, composition, form and color are the basis of two-dimensional hands-on projects. Techniques of drawing, painting, printmaking and design will be introduced, giving students opportunities to develop their skill level. A range of materials and expressive possibilities will allow students to explore a variety of subject matter.

Middle School Arts News

Sculpture students in the Middle Division visually explored emotional intelligence by creating sculptures that represented an emotion on the mood meter. Students first charted their mood on the mood meter and explained why they were feeling that way. They delved further into these emotions by answering the question, "What happens to our bodies and minds when we feel this way...?"

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The ripple effects of Upper School teacher Rob Michelson's travels to Cuba in recent years continue to be felt at Brentwood. During Upper School Arts Week, we welcomed Cuban artist Lázaro Salsita to conduct hands-on workshops in all three divisions.

Rob explains: "Lázaro Salsita warmly invited Brentwood students into his home and workspace for a two-day collaborative art project in Havana during our Spring Break trip to Cuba. We talked briefly then about how exciting it would be to return the favor and welcome him to our school. At the time, he had just secured a tourist visa to visit New York City to see his teenage son and, after arriving in the U.S. last summer, Lázaro began connecting with artists and educators. He soon realized that a world of opportunities unimaginable for him in Cuba was opening up for him here in America. By September, he had made the decision to stay in the United States and support his ongoing community art project in Havana with money earned here. Over the past 6 months, Lázaro has conducted workshops at several schools and colleges in New York and New England and has participated in a two-week artist retreat in North Carolina. He's so busy, in fact, that we were very lucky to lure him to Los Angeles for Upper School Arts Week."

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On Wednesday night, Middle School ensembles took the stage in the Pavilion to show off their many talents in front of a packed audience of parents, faculty, and fellow students. The concert marked the end of a year of collaborations, where students supported each other in a musical setting, learning from each other while growing their instrumental skills. In their own words, Middle School music teachers Gregg Barnes and Jonah Blumstein, elaborate on the event...
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Middle School Arts Events

MSTC Performance: "Monster Mash"
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MS Pool Patio, Stairways, and MS Field
MSTC Performance: "Monster Mash" CHANGED: moved from 10/27
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MS Pool Patio, Stairways, and MS Field
MS Music Ensembles Concert
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EC Theater
MSDC Performance
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EC Theater
MS Performing Arts Festival
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EC Gym
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