Let California be your canvas.

Arts Courses

Year course. Foundation Arts students learn essential skills and principles of design through project-based work organized around the core artistic goals of description, expression, function, and aesthetic appeal. They develop an effective creative thinking process, learn valuable skills of project manage- ment, and develop the ability to recognize strengths and areas for improve- ment in their own work and that of others. Foundation Visual Arts students gain familiarity with the media of studio, sculpture/ceramics, and digital arts.

Year course. Students take one of the following courses as the performing arts component of Foundation Arts: Chorale, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, or Introduction to Music.

Year course. The arts have always been the means through which men and women have given form to the most amazing and profound ideas, beliefs, and emotions, so we encounter wonderful things in our study of art history. Students will gain a clear overview of cultural history, including a framework of key events and ideas, as depth of study on most topics replaces sheer volume. The art history program develops skills in reading, writing, and observation, and stu- dents learn how to read a wide range of written works, including texts, critical and analytical pieces, works of journalism, and literature. They develop skills of expository and analytical writing essential for college study as well.

Year course. Ceramics 1 students spend the majority of the year learning how to throw and trim clay on the pottery wheel. By the end of the year, they will be able to throw and trim bowls, platters, vases, jars with lids, pitchers, jugs, mugs, and a teapot. Basic decorating practices are also utilized to en- hance each piece. By the end of the year, Students will begin to demonstrate through the glazing of their pieces a harmony in the relationship between a form and its colors and decoration.

Year course. This course focuses on more sophisticated throwing and trimming techniques and offers opportunities for greater self-expression. Hand-building and slab construction are also important aspects of the curriculum. By the end of the year, students will be able to create larger forms by throwing sectionals and using a variety of slab construction techniques. Greater focus is devoted to general aesthetic principles, and time is spent comparing classical Western ideals with those of a strong Japanese influence within the world of ceramic art. By the end of the year, students will have used a variety of more advanced decorating techniques — including slip trailing, carving, incising, and fluting — to capture elements of different aesthetics.

Year course. This advanced course provides an ambitious and intensive exploration of the expressive and functional aspects of stoneware and porcelain clays. A developmental sequence of assignments during the first semester helps students gain the advanced technical skills for both sculpture and thrown ware. During the second semester they design their own projects with an emphasis on in-depth exploration of form, design, decoration and glazing. Advanced students are called upon to instruct beginning potters in the capacity as teaching assistants during the first semester. Students who wish to participate in the Advanced Placement program of the College Board will develop a portfolio of work to be submitted in the spring. That body of work must conform to the curriculum mandated by the AP program.

Year course. Through a series of structured and open-ended assignments, students develop advanced creative and technical skills through work in a variety of media and forms of expression. Drawing (including figure drawing and personal expression), collotype printing, scratchboard, assemblage, painting, and collage are among the many techniques students may use. Projects are increasingly ambitious and students develop finished pieces of high quality, beginning to build strong portfolios. They learn to manage and assess their own pieces and to critique each other’s work constructively.

Year course. Studio 2 is recommended for students who want to continue developing their creative-thinking and artistic skills with 2-D media and techniques. Students work with the media introduced in Studio 1 in addition to other media such as linoleum printing, caran d’ache, pen and ink, and monoprinting. Figure drawing will remain an important part of the program. Students will begin to develop portfolios that may be used as support materi- al for college applications or AP standing.

Year course. These courses bring together Cate’s most accomplished and engaged student artists, across all media, to pursue advanced individual, directed studies in a studio environment that also allows them to see and learn from each other’s work. Working with several members of the depart- ment, students will develop and execute challenging independent projects, expanding their portfolios, while also coming together regularly to learn advanced principles of art and design, to develop critical and analytical skills, and to learn from their peers.

Year course. This introductory course in static and motion photography as- sumes little or no previous knowledge of digital still or video cameras. Over the course of the year students will begin with photography as means of capturing imagery and then move toward capturing motion through stop-motion anima- tion. Students will use photography as a medium for communicating informa- tion and ideas in effective visual form. Topics include operation of the cameras; artistic compositions; computer operation; file compression and formatting; and use of related software (like Adobe Photoshop and iMovie). Students will learn to operate their digital cameras and post-production software; to print and present their photographic work; and to create and present a video.

Year course. This course explores intermediate photographic and digital techniques and concepts. Students will learn how to solve photographic problems through a series of guided, individualized assignments. Students will work on developing knowledge of post-production software and will print and present their photographic works. They will also be introduced to alternative techniques, such as photo encaustic and book making.

Year course. This course explores advanced photographic and digital techniques and concepts. Students will plan, shoot, develop, and print bodies of work that are conceptually motivated and technically proficient. Topics in Advanced Photography include portraiture, non-traditional approaches to photography, and photography as sculpture.

Year course. Digital Filmmaking 2 students work as individuals and as collaborative teams. Using equipment and techniques ranging from the simplest and most direct (such as cell phone video) to ambitious and advanced (professional quality DSLR cameras) students will learn and apply a valuable and essential set of design and production skills. Projects extend from brief moving images (5-7 second videos) to silent films, music videos, and completed short subjects. For larger group projects, students may take on roles from screenwriting and storyboarding to direction, camera work, lighting, performance, and post-production work.

Year course. Digital Filmmaking 3 + Film Studies students continue to
work as individuals and as a collaborative team. This course builds upon the creative and technical skills students have developed and will open up an opportunity for students to explore filmmaking further with the addition of a trimester dedicated to film studies. Students will continue to use equipment and techniques ranging from cell phone video to DSLR video capture. Projects extend from brief videos and completed short subjects, to non-nar- rative projects and installations. For larger group projects, students may take on roles from screenwriting and storyboarding to direction, camera work, lighting, performance, and post-production work.

Year course. Working with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and 3D modeling programs, students will be introduced to design concepts used to develop print media, posters, identification, letterhead, logos, product design, packaging. Students will also create models using Makerbot and Form Plus 3D printers, along with other forms of visual design and communication.

Year course. Film Production students work as individuals and as a collabo- rative team. Using equipment and techniques ranging from the simplest and most direct (such as cell-phone videos) to ambitious and advanced (those of professional quality), students will learn and apply a valuable set of design and production skills. In Film Production 1, projects extend from brief moving images to completed short subjects. In Film Production 2, projects range from completed short subjects and documentaries and substantial films.

For larger group projects, students may take on roles from screenwriting and storyboarding to direction, camera work, lighting, performance, and post-production work.

Year course. This course is designed to familiarize students with the theater — its intent, structure, effectiveness, and value — through performance. Through the study of a wide variety of scenes, monologues, and short plays, students in Acting 1 will be able to communicate effectively and work cooperatively with an ensemble; take creative risks; develop physical, vocal, and mental skills through active participation in warm-up and acting exercises; analyze text to determine the author’s intent and historical/cultural context; and constructively evaluate and critique their own work, as well as being able to deliver tactful and thoughtful criticism to others. Acting 2 students will be called upon to demonstrate and model these skills in a mentorship role, building toward the ultimate goal of directing scenes and leading class exercises.

Year course. This course is designed to help students develop a practical knowledge of theater through production analysis, technical design, and construction. Through hands-on instruction, Level 1 students will learn to manage and care for the theater space and equipment; implement basic sound, lighting, and scenic designs for theater events; collaborate and communicate effectively; and combine purpose with artistry. Level 2 students will be called upon to demonstrate and model these skills in a mentorship role, building toward the ultimate goal of managing a crew to help create and implement their own designs.

Year course. Introduction to Music is a broad survey of music history, theory, and performance. Students will play on instruments from around the world, from West Africa to India to Indonesia. They will study the past 3,000 years of Western music and follow its development to present day in the United States, while learning the basic elements of music theory. Students will compose original pieces on digital audio workstations and receive an introduction to reading music notation. Finally, they will form rock bands and learn how to play various rhythm section instruments.

Year course. This course is designed to foster an understanding of choral music and a love of singing. By participating in the ensemble, students will be expected to prepare choral repertoire for public performances; develop musicianship skills, such as pitch, rhythmic accuracy, and sight-singing; develop vocal and breathing techniques, tone production, and diction; expand their individual potential within a group; and identify the historical context for the choral selections and explain their cultural relevance.

Year course. Juniors and seniors who have completed one year of Chorale may apply for Honors Chorale, which is also a year course. In addition to following the Chorale curriculum, Honors Chorale students will assume
a leadership role within the choir. They will be called upon to lead sectional rehearsals and help less experienced singers learn their music.

Year course. Camerata is an advanced singing group that explores a wide variety of genres and styles from 16th-century madrigals to contemporary pop songs. Singers will be expected to prepare choral repertoire for public performance; build and practice exemplary vocal and breathing technique, tone production, and diction; hone their sight-reading and musicianship skills; expand their individual potential within a group; and identify the his- torical context for the choral selections and explain their cultural relevance.

Year course. This is a performance-oriented course designed for string, woodwind, brass and percussion players who wish to play classical music with fellow musicians. Several performances are scheduled throughout the year. In addition to regular rehearsals and performances, there may be occasional sectionals, master classes, and musical quizzes scheduled.

Year course. Honors Orchestra takes place in addition to regular orchestra rehearsals and performances. The Honors group will divide into small cham- ber ensembles and rehearse more challenging repertoire. The pieces will be performed at various Cate events throughout the year.

Year course. This is a performance-based course. Students are introduced to the elements of improvisation including jazz harmony, soloing strategies, and ensemble playing. Selected music will span the history of jazz, from Dixieland to Big Band and Bebop to Modern. Performances are scheduled throughout the year at various Cate events.

Year course. This group will divide into small groups and rehearse more challenging material. The honors rehearsals and performances will take place in addition to regular jazz band commitments.

Fall trimester. Students will study the elements of music and learn how musicians create music. Rhythm, harmony, melody, scales, intervals and song structure will be explored. These essential components will be used to study chord progressions and musical forms. We will study other songwriters’ compositions in order and begin to create our own pieces.

Winter trimester. Students will begin writing songs, chord progressions, and musical forms. A special section on lyric-writing will be included. These songs will be brainstormed, created, edited and played live and/or in the recording studio. Students will learn how to record themselves and put together a portfolio of original compositions.

Spring trimester. Students will study the elements of music and create longer-form compositions, including electronic, jazz, film and classical.
The basics of music theory knowledge will be employed as we study other composers’ music and create our own more advanced pieces. The direction of this class will be based on the interest and levels of the students.

Winter trimester. Students will learn the process of creating music using Macintosh computers, DAWs, and midi workstations. Cate uses Garage Band, Logic Express, Logic Pro 9, and Pro Tools, but students are also welcome to bring their own computers and software. By the end of the course, students will be able to write their own music, produce it using the technologies available, edit it for the listening audience, and bounce it out for publication.

Spring trimester. Students will gain firsthand knowledge of a working studio. Cate’s recording studio uses Logic Pro 9 and ProTools software, four microphones and an assortment of amps and instruments. After learning
the ins and outs of getting quality sound recordings on various instruments, students will learn to mix and edit their recorded music. Students will test their skills using live musical groups on campus to build their production portfolio.

Fall trimester. Students will learn the basics of playing percussion instru- ments from many cultures, including West Africa, the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Indonesia. In addition, the techniques of playing with sticks will be employed as students practice on marching drums, mallet instruments, and drum sets. The goal of this course is to create a performing group that will share its beats with the rest of the school community.

Winter trimester. Students will participate in a guitar ensemble that will perform pieces chosen for their appropriate skill level. They will study scales, chords, and other components of music theory. Although it’s not required, students will be encouraged to sing as we play tunes from many different genres: rock, pop, folk, country, jazz, and classical. The goal of this course is to prepare several pieces for performance.

Spring trimester. Students will learn the basics of playing a variety of musical instruments, including piano, guitar, bass, and drums. They will understand how songs are composed, arranged, and performed in small ensembles. They will study the history of rock and gain basic concepts of music theory. The ultimate goal of the class is to put together several songs for performance and/or recording.