2023 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

Smartphone Photography: Creating High Quality Photos with the Device in your Hand!

Instructor: Amber Davidson

You have a camera with you all the time! Learn some tips and tricks that will elevate the photos you take with it. Whether you are interested in fine art photography, taking photos of your artwork for your portfolio, or simply creating better social media content, this course will help you understand your smartphone's capabilities and equip you with techniques that will improve your photos. We will be using your smartphone camera as well as free editing options on your phone to touch up your photos and create interesting effects.

Students must bring their own smartphone. It would be helpful for you to have your most recent software updates installed. Make sure you have plenty of storage space available for taking and editing photos.

Open to any discipline.

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. 

Fun with Improv

Instructor: Michael Butcher

Students will learn basic improvisational techniques while participating in improvised activities.

Writing Conflict for the Hero

Instructor: Sean Falconer

Students in this course will learn to develop their writing skills within fiction as well as focus on developing conflict writing for the hero.

The Business of Art

Instructor: Heather Nelson

In this course we will address the dual realities of working as a professional artist and as a business person. We will look at how to begin to operate as a business, including things such as marketing and money handling as well as building websites, establishing a brand, and important tax and accounting information for budding artists. Students will benefit from bringing their own laptops with internet capabilities to class.

Open to any discipline.

— "B" Day Electives —

Weaving in the Wild: Off the Loom Weaving

Instructor: Meganne Rosen

Students will learn different kinds of weaving, including branch and frame weaving, and work with a variety of techniques and materials.

Outside the Box

Instructor: Dr. Fatih Benzer

Students will participate in a painting project, learning painting skills and fun techniques for creation.

Voice and Acting through Movement

Instructor: Kaleb Patterson

This class is for any student who is interested in connecting with their body using the Viewpoints technique originally explored by Anne Bogart. Viewpoints encourages students to explore acting upon movement and gesture as well as focus less on their characters' psychology and more on observation and movement. It is through this improvisation that the students will create dramatic meaning, and explore sound and movement in the acting space.

Students working on monologues or writing songs are strongly encouraged to sign up!

Writing Conflict for the Villain

Instructor: Sean Falconer

Students in this course will learn to develop their writing skills within fiction as well as focus on developing conflict writing for the villain.

Acting Auditions

Instructor: Michael Butcher

Students will learn strategies and techniques to have a successful acting audition.