Curriculum (2014)

1. Interdisciplinary Artistic Studies

The Interdisciplinary (ID) course at Missouri Fine Arts Academy

  • Is facilitated by a team of teachers from different artistic disciplines
  • Is composed of a student group, including artists from various disciplines, that stay together throughout the duration of the class
  • Revolves around a broad theme that embraces all of the following disciplines: vocal music, instrumental music, visual arts, theatre, and dance
  • Provides all students with active participation experiences in each of these disciplines, facilitated by peers and by teachers with artistic expertise
  • Allows student to shape, in great measure, the course experiences
  • Recognizes the facilitators have valuable experience, insights, knowledge, and talents
  • Includes a concept-based interdisciplinary presentation that encompasses student participation in all the fine arts areas and addresses the broad theme
  • Culminates in an evaluation session that includes evaluation of the presentations themselves, group processes, and student learning

Each student will spend every class day morning working in an innovative course of an interdisciplinary nature.

Each interdisciplinary group is composed of about 25 students, including vocalists, instrumentalists, visual artists, dancers, and actors. Each group experience is facilitated by two faculty members with specialties in different artistic disciplines. Students and facilitators in each group work collaboratively to explore a single broad theme. The process of exploration naturally involves students’ participation in experiences that meet Missouri’s performance standards for students in its schools

  • Gather, analyze and apply information and ideas
  • Communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom
  • Recognize and solve problems
  • Make decision and act as responsible members of society

Each of the five interdisciplinary groups creates a unique presentation that illustrates the Academy theme and that incorporates all the artistic disciplines represented at the Academy. These presentations are shared with the rest of the Academy community. A reflection and evaluation session follows the presentations.

Course Objectives (.doc, 39K)
Rationale, Plan and Strategies (.doc, 46K)

 

2. Discipline-Specific Artistic Studies

All students participate in a class focusing on the discipline in which they were accepted to the Academy:

Acting

Instructors: Kurt Heinlein and Maggie Marlin-Hess

Actor training is sometimes defined as the "discovery and development of the actor's expressive behavior." This course will provide practical application of acting, voice, and movement techniques through a wide host of methodological approaches. Students will be exposed to a variety of different artists and teaching outlooks with the goal of developing self-confidence, improvisation and listening skills, moment to moment awareness, irreverence, and foundational work with text. The primary objective is to assist young artists in developing core performance skills for the stage through the presence of a trusting and collaborative classroom environment. Students should come to class prepared to move.

Creative Writing

Instructor: Ian Merrigan

Prose, poetry, dramatic dialogue, and essay will comprise the bulk of our work but we’ll tackle other forms as they arise. We will read some published authors for inspiration and discussion. Our focus will be with our own observing, writing, and creating. This class is aimed at developing process and attack. We will share our work and our ideas daily but won’t strive for polish. Bring a pen, a notebook, and an open mind.

Dance

Instructor: Susan Rieger

This course is a dancer's workshop emphasizing modern technique with supplemental ballet technique. Students will develop a structural understanding of how the body initiates and performs movement and will discover static and dynamic body alignment. They will also develop physical stamina, strength, flexibility, articulation, coordination, musicality, and phrasing. Through this training, dancers will find themselves grounded, centered, and secure.

In conjunction with these physical and intellectual pursuits, they will explore the performance energy that goes beyond the body; call it “stage presence”, or “projection”. Modern dance technique may be less familiar to most students than is ballet. In modern dance, strengthening the core and lengthening through the spine and appendages are primary. Based in the concept of Fall and Recovery, this athletic style of dance emphasizes grounding and gaining energy from the earth into full-out momentum and locomotion. Musicality and phrasing will also be emphasized to assist in capturing the largest dynamic range.

Dancers must dress in tights and a leotard, a unitard, or close fitting sweat pants and t-shirt. Hair must be secured. Bare feet for class with socks available.

Instrumental Music

Instructor: Tom Polett and Eric Schultz

Instrumental music study explores the musician's goals of technical mastery and effective expression. Class activities will include solo and ensemble presentations/performances, peer observance/criticism, lecture-demonstrations, and informal discussions. Topics will include interpretation, practice and performance strategies, and music history, literature, and theory. Please prepare two etudes or solo pieces to play for master class sessions.

Visual Art

Instructors: Joey Borovicka, Rich Cline, Megan Frauenhoffer, and Kyle McKenzie

Principles of Design is the required core curriculum for visual arts students at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. In small groups and individually, students will explore the roles that artistic foundations such as context, intention, voice, materials, and content play in contemporary art making.

Vocal Music

Instructors: Melinda Lein and Chris Thompson

This course is designed to allow students to explore the kinesthetic and psychological skills that contribute to success and confidence as a singer. A combination of class discussion, lecture, practical application, and master classes will serve to introduce students to pertinent topics such as the vocal mechanism, breath management, vocal health, and basics of diction, practice and discipline, and preparation of vocal literature.

Participating students should arrive at the Academy with two pieces (at least one in English) prepared and memorized for performance, and two other pieces to work on. Selections may come from art song or musical theater repertoire and may be in English, French, Italian, or German. During master classes, all students watch and listen as the instructor works with one student at a time. This gives students the benefit of learning from their peers as well as individual attention from the instructor. This class meets regularly on each academic day for the duration of the Academy.

 

3. Elective Classes

Each Academy student takes three elective classes, one each from "A" Day, "B" Day, and "C" Evening courses. Students may use the course selection form to submit their top three course choices for each elective period. The deadline for the course selection form is May 12, 2014.

A Day —

Broadway Babies

Instructor: Chris Thompson

Discover the roots of musical theatre and explore its history through the most current Broadway shows. Participants will learn about influential composers/writing teams, sing in a variety of musical theatre styles, and discover source materials/websites for inspiration. Participants should bring any musical theatre music they own, be prepared to sing, and engage in class discovery and discussions.

Open to any student with vocal music experience.

Copy, Synth, Morph

Instructor: Joey Borovicka

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.” –Yohji Yamamoto. As artists, each of us is a mash-up of our influences. We find artistic heroes to worship, and we devour their work, one by one. The process of emulating our heroes is an important part of developing a unique artistic identity. In this class students will begin by copying the work of two different artists of their choice. They will then synthesize the work of these artists into a new work of art. Finally, students will add elements of their own creative personalities to this mixture in order to morph the previous artworks into something unique and personal. Through drawing and painting projects, light research, and discussions, students of this class will discover many new artists while, perhaps, discovering more about themselves in the process. This class is adapted from an assignment by Ellen Mueller, Visual Artist and Assistant Professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Open to any student with visual art experience.

DIY Printshop

Instructor: Megan Frauenhoffer

Become a printmaker! Students will work with relief, silkscreen, spray paint, stencils, instazines and assorted other print media and techniques. Students will learn low-tech and hand-printed approaches that they can emulate outside of class and printshop environment. Along with techniques, the class will investigate ephemeral art, print culture, and street art. The class will culminate with a print exchange, trading prints or zines and become budding art collectors.

Open to any student with visual art experience.

Jazz Improvisation: An Historical Approach

Instructor: Tom Polett

The study of jazz improvisation is often treated as an extension of harmonic and melodic musical theory. Because of this, many people are intimidated by the task of learning the seemingly endless combinations of chords, scales, and harmonic progressions. By studying improvisation from an historical perspective, much of the mystery is lifted, and a more melodic approach to finding one's creative voice emerges. This course is designed to introduce any musician (yes, string players, woodwinds, pianists, and vocalists are welcome!) to this melodic/historical approach to jazz improvisation. Beginning with the early pre-cursors of jazz through Dixieland, the Blues, Swing, Bebop, Cool, Spanish, Latin, Fusion, Rock, and Free Jazz, we'll use examples as models to enable each student to understand more and to create unique melodic jazz solos in many styles.

Open to any student with a background in instrumental and/or vocal music.

Lend Me Your Vocal Chords

Instructor: Melissa Harper

Can you lend me your vocal chords, I am not allowed to have any. Can you attach a tongue to the rear of my mouth, I am told mine was a dangerous weapon, so it was confiscated. With one last request, I ask that you attach your jaw to my skull at the hinge, they couldn't take any chances that I might bite.

The minorities, the oppressed, the silenced. This course explores theatre as a tool for subversion. Social change disguised as entertainment. A voice for those who have had theirs removed. Broadcast strongly encouraged to apply.

Open to any student.

Mixology: Intro to Audio Production

Instructor: Eric Schultz

Using a hands-on approach, students will learn the fundamentals of digital audio, including recording, mixing, signal processing (reverb, compression, EQ), and music composition and production. We will primarily work in the Avid Pro Tools® digital audio platform. Opportunities for collaboration will be abundant. No prior computer, recording or musical experience is required.

Open to any student.

Music and Drama: The Great Experiment

Instructor: Melinda Lein

Designed to give a practical and historical foundation to musicians and dramatists alike, this course will allow us to examine how music and drama interact to enhance the artistic experience. Genres ranging from ballet, melodrama, musical theater and film will be considered but special focus will be placed on the development of the unique and often strange concept of opera. In a workshop setting in which we will create our own opera, classes will also include discussion, lecture, viewing, listening, and writing to explore the various ways music and drama are linked. Students should come to class with an inquisitive mind and a desire to be challenged. While helpful, no musical background is necessary, although willingness to sing/make music in class is expected (instrumentalists, you may be asked to “sing” with your instrument). Enter at your own risk!

Open to any student.

The Mutable Flow

Instructor: Rich Cline

Every day is a work of art. A mutable flow exists in objects and routines that often go unnoticed. Prepare to step out of your comfort zone and explore these everyday items and daily undertakings as a revolutionary works of art. We will explore the Fluxus phenomenon, Arte Povera and the works of Allen Kaprow in an effort to develop a conceptual vocabulary in relation to art. Students will be expected to create “scores,” construct flux boxes, games and symphonies that serve to interpret the world using metaphors based upon the power and sensual density of new, unorthodox and often clashing materials.

Open to any student.

Spoken Word Poetry

Instructor: Ian Merrigan

"They say that I am a poet
I wonder what they would say if they saw me from the inside I bottle
emotions and place them into the sea for others to unbottle on
distant shores I am unsure as to whether they ever reach and for
that matter as to whether I ever get my point across
or my love."
—Saul Williams

Open to any student.

— B Day 

The Abominable

Instructor: Rich Cline

You're not bored. You're boring. Isn't there something that can be taken away from any experience? Are you passively disengaged in life or are your antennae consistently up and alert, ready to grasp the creative potential in things often taken for granted. We will explore the creative possibilities of ordinary items, simple tasks, and articles of popular culture. We will engage in the acts of music composition, instrument construction, choreographed performance, collaborative installation and theatre. The works of Futurism, John Cage, Vito Acconci and Meredith Monk will serve as reference points for our creations. We will engage in exercises using deconstruction, reconstruction, structuralism, and isolation to reach our goal of developing a metaphysical tool box that can be used as a source of creativity for years to come. Bring nothing but an open mind, a writing utensil, and a notebook, as everything else that you will need to create already exists.

Open to any student.

Color Lab

Instructor: Kyle McKenzie

Color has always been deeply imbedded in the artistic process, but it remains enigmatic. In this course, we will join the great tradition of artists and theorists who have devoted so much attention to color. We will explore color in paint and in light. We will go way beyond the basic color wheel to explore the huge world that artists can open with color.

Open to any student.

Discovering Song

Instructor: Melinda Lein

More than pleasing melodies and catchy lyrics, song is a timeless and meaningful means of communication. Within this course, singers will delve deeply into both the textual and musical elements that make up this powerful genre. Emphasis will be placed on poetic expression, verbal and musical interpretation of text, and artistry of the singer in re-creating this text-music fusion. Participating students should bring at least one art song (no opera arias, musical theater songs, or pop songs, although arrangements of folksongs, hymns, or spirituals are acceptable), preferably in English, of which some musical preparation has already been accomplished. Expect to memorize and perform this piece in class.

Open to any student with vocal music experience.

Green Onions

Instructor: Eric Schultz

In this course, students will learn to peel back and dissect the many layers of a rock/pop/hip-hop song and find out more what is going on under the surface. Students will undertake discussions of form and structure, lyrical content, instrumentation, production, and perhaps most importantly, the cultural and historical setting in which a song lives. You do not have to read music or play an instrument to take this course.

Open to any student.

Flashmobs

Instructor: Susan Rieger

A flashmob is defined as a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act for a brief time, then disperse quickly. The purpose of a flashmob includes entertainment, satire and/or artistic expression. In this class, we will learn about the brief history of Flashmobs, with the first one being created in Manhattan in 2003. We will look at a variety of examples, including The Big Freeze in Grand Central Station to a recent performance of Beethoven's Ode to Joy in a fish market in Odessa, Ukraine. The class will design movement, music or theatrical performances, appropriate for 2-3 sites on campus and perform them. All disciplines welcome. No previous dance or music experience is necessary.

Open to any student.

Process / Play

Instructor: Megan Frauenhoffer

This elective will focus on using sketchbooks to explore the ideation process of art creation. Whether it is used for sketching, writing, or pasting inspiration such as photos or found objects, the sketchbook becomes a vital tool in the art production. Learn to avoid the creative blocks and enjoy the process as the class will explore and share different ways of thinking and recording ideas. Sketchbooks will become visual journals, investigating new methods as the student receives challenges or prompts at the beginning of class. Along the way, we will survey modern and historical artist examples that show off their artistic process. As a group, students will share their observations and themes found in their journals.

Open to any student with visual art experience.

Songwriting

Instructor: Ian Merrigan

Music and lyrics by . . . YOU! No experience necessary but bring what you've got. We'll create, co-write, and find our voices as songwriters. Any instruments will be helpful but aren't required.

Open to any student.

We Read Stuff We Is Smart

Instructor: Melissa Harper

"The blue curtains represent the sadness the author was feeling over the loss of their Akita Evita and so show the actor that a single tear should fall from their cheek during their recitation of the line." WHAT?! The interpretation of text has long been a running joke during each painful reading of Romeo and Juliet as well as those ridiculously boring units on poetry. Here's the thing though, text is amazing, it's us that makes it boring. This course helps to explore the reading of text in a way that benefits you as an actor, director, or designer. You should come expecting to deepen your understanding of character development as well as how each character works together to form a cohesive piece. So say we all.

Open to any student.

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!

Instructor: Chris Thompson

Dive into foreign language pronunciation used in singing. We will cover the basics of Italian, French, German, and Latin in classical art songs and opera arias. This class is for beginners, no experience necessary. However, a love of singing and a fearless attitude will help immensely!

Open to any student with vocal music experience.

— C Evening

Art and Music of Change

Instructor: Tom Polett

This course will examine the rich history of music and all of the arts; how they have responded to society and have been the catalyst for social change. Examples from the distant and recent past will be studied that demonstrate how artists have changed the world by raising public awareness of injustice, presented models of peaceful co-existence in times of war, and provided a mirror of ourselves in our best and worst moments. Students will work in groups to create new art of all forms that provides a commentary on the world we live in. What do you feel strongly about? Find that way to show the world through your art instead of saying it.  

Open to any student.

Dive Into Choral Music

Instructor: Robert Battle

Dive into choral music will explore ensemble singing in a whole new way. Singers will perfect the art of singing pop, blues, and classical music while striving for tight harmonies and rich ensemble tone.

The ability to match pitch and willingness to sing with others is required. While previous choral experience is not necessary, musical ability and an understanding of singing is needed to be successful in this fast paced a cappella explosion. Dive into the vast ocean of choral singing and the many possibilities it offers.

Open to any student.

Ctrl+Shift+S

Instructor: Joey Borovicka

From the camera lucida to the iPhone, artists throughout history have used new technology for expressive means. In this class we will explore the way digital technology is changing the way we make, display, and think about art. Students will have the opportunity to make digital paintings, animated gifs, short videos, and other forms of digitally influenced art while also using more traditional forms of photography, stop-motion, and hand-drawn animation to serve their ideas. We will investigate the work of contemporary artists who use digital media as their primary means of expression, and discuss the role of social media in the art world today. All the work produced will be displayed on a tumblr blog dedicated to this class. Students may bring digital cameras, tablets, or laptops, which will be used solely for artistic purposes during class.

Open to any student.

Devised Staging of Literature

Instructor: Maggie Marlin-Hess

Through ensemble collaboration, adapt a piece of children’s literature to the theatrical stage using movement, text, and sound. We will employ a variety of techniques to create new work including Viewpoints, Devised Theatre, and the approaches of Dah Teatar of Belgrade, Serbia. Come ready to move as we will be on our feet. A variety of skills are appreciated for creating this work including but not limited to actors, dancers, movers, musicians, and writers.

Open to any student.

Introduction to Stage Combat

Instructor: Kurt Heinlein

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of unarmed stage violence, with focus upon an approach that emphasizes a solid methodology, sound technique, physical listening, and most importantly, safety. Students will be exposed to a broad range of skills, including kicks, punches, slaps, rolls, dives, throws, and grappling techniques.

Open to any student who is prepared for the demands of a physically intensive class.

Movement Improvisation/Sound Improvisation

Instructor: David Ollington

In this workshop, we'll work on developing interdisciplinary performance work that incorporates vocalization, instrumental music, and physical movement. Using breath, rhythm, interactive exercises, and imagery, we'll develop methods of creating and expressing ideas with sound and motion. Theatre, vocal music, and instrumental music will be incorporated. Please be willing to step into another discipline, to try something new.

Open to any student with experience in dance, theatre, or music.

Positive/Negative

Instructor: Kyle McKenzie

Light and dark construct our visual world. We understand our physical surroundings and our relationship to it because light exposes portions and darkness obscures others. Using projections, colored lights, silhouettes, and shadows we will explore traditional and unconventional means of making images. Media will include paper, paint, digital photography, and installation.

Open to any student.