Curriculum

The curriculum of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy is divided into three distinct categories of study:

  1. Interdisciplinary Artistic Studies
  2. Discipline-specific Artistic Studies
  3. Elective Classes

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

Each student is placed in a class focusing on the discipline in which they were accepted to the Academy:

  • Dance
  • Creative Writing
  • Theatre Studies
  • Instrumental Music
  • Visual Art: Principles Of Design
  • Vocal Music

3. Elective Classes

Each student takes two elective classes; one "A" Day elective, one "B" Day elective. Students may use the course selection form to submit their top three course choices for each elective period.

— "A" Day Electives

Tuesday (6/14) and Friday (6/17)
2-4:15 p.m.

Stop Motion Animation

Instructor: Dr. Fatih Benzer

This course is designed to offer an opportunity for youth to develop skills in an innovative and impactful experience. The course focuses on "sustainable living" as the main topic for students to learn and discuss the meaning of sustainable living while creating "story boards" and "stop motion animations" to express their ideas and concerns about the environment, natural resources, and technology. Students can choose from several sub-topics such as global warming, waste management, recycling, energy saving, environmental pollution to create their story lines. Students will work in groups of two to create their animations using tripods, iPads, various props, and apps such as "Stop Motion Creator." While the instructor will provide some of the props, students will be encouraged to bring their own props based on their specific area of interest within the topic of sustainable living. Students will use some modeling clay (plasticine non-hardening) and some plastic or wooden sculpting tools to build and animate some of their props. This course aims to teach students how to use the specific software with all of its features such as importing and sequencing media elements, multi-media presentations, image editing, sound editing, onion-layering, and using digital green screen. This course takes the students through various aspects of stop motion animation using a variety of materials and techniques such as claymation and moving collages. Developing advanced concepts, detailed storyboarding and rendered production of several stop motion animations will be accomplished and shared on social media if they choose to do so. Students will learn how to apply appropriate frame rates, manipulate animation production equipment, create aesthetically appealing animation, describe characteristics of well-designed and executed animation, learn about the history of animation, and critically analyze their work and the work of their peers.

Self Portrait: Beyond Representation

Instructor: Meganne Rosen

In this class we will study our most accessible subject matter in new and challenging ways. You see yourself in the mirror and in your phone every day. Within this familiar and comfortable subject matter, we will explore techniques, media, and styles. We'll learn about abstraction and expressionism by studying masters from art history and then creating our own masterpieces. Charcoal, graphite, acrylic, monoprint, ink, cardboard...we'll explore a variety of traditional and experimental media to change the meaning of "selfie" forever.

Singing on the Stage: Creating Memorable Moments with Your Voice

Instructor: Dr. Heather Nelson

In this course students will learn principles of acting for singers, including blocking that takes vocal acoustics into consideration, character development, stylistic considerations in music theater and opera, diction, and how to sing with the story in mind. Students will workshop a scene from musical theater or opera with colleagues for a final project that will include learning dialogue/recitative and songs in a short amount of time. Rehearsal helps will be provided, but independent music-learning skills will be a great advantage. Students should also expect that they will be challenged to expand their listening, watching, and interacting skills to be able to fully embody the character they are portraying in a believable way, while still singing spectacularly.

— "B" Day Electives —

  Thursday (6/16) and Wednesday (6/22)
2-4:15 p.m.

Beadwork: Sequencing and Color

Instructor: Erin Tyler

Throughout history we have crafted wearable objects using materials as accessible as macaroni to as rare as precious gemstones and diamonds. In this class, we will observe jewelry making through a historical and contemporary lens and use beads as a way to experiment with sequencing, composition, visual weight, symmetry, and color. Through jewelry, we will discuss the function and purpose of wearable art through multiple cultures, times, and trends. As a result, students will learn the basics of beading and jewelry making and leave with a unique finished necklace or bracelet. 

Musical Improvisation

Instructor: Jacob Hiser

"Music is the universal language." That phrase may seem cliché, but current music education practices tend to focus solely on being able to read the written language of music. When it comes to spoken languages, reading is an important skill, but the majority of our communication is through listening and speaking. We originally learn to speak by listening to what we hear and imitating it, eventually internalizing the words until we can communicate our own thoughts. To be strong improvisers, musicians must build their lexicon of musical "words" by critically listening to and internalizing a wide variety of music by ear. Once a vocabulary is established, the improvisers then work to "speak" their own ideas in a clear, coherent way in any musical situation they find themselves. In this course, we will listen closely to excerpts from classical, jazz, rock, and folk traditions, and learn them by ear, building our musical vocabulary and understanding of each genre's internal logic. Using that vocabulary and understanding, we will improvise as a group, arrange previously existing music, and compose new pieces and improvisatory structures. We will also explore improvisation beyond the boundaries of genre, experimenting with unfamiliar sounds, atypical formal structures, and using extra-musical materials as prompts for improvisation/composition. Knowledge of music theory is helpful, but not necessary. All instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome. 

Out of the Box Vocal Masterclass

Instructor: Kaleb Patterson

The course is for students who are interested in broadening their vocal performance range both within their own music style and beyond. Students will bring the repertoire they are currently working on to be workshopped in a safe setting with feedback from the instructor and peers in the course. Students will work to improve their art and will also learn how to give and receive feedback in a constructive, positive, and friendly environment. We will also spend time choosing songs to workshop that are completely different from what they are used to performing. Students will be encouraged to choose that genre or role that feels unattainable, and work with the class to master something that is "out of the box" for themselves. Students will need to bring any music they have or are interested in working on, their voices, and an open heart for learning and growing.