Performing Arts

Performance is one of the oldest and most widely practiced methods of self-expression.

We gain an understanding of ourselves and each other through the power of music, dance, and theater. By studying the performing arts, you not only hone skills of communication and collaboration, you create community. The benefits of performance are immediate and can last a lifetime. Through witnessing the beauty of the human body in motion, exploring the interplay of melody and harmony, and the desire to tell a gripping story, we celebrate all aspects of performance as a path to understanding, meaning, and joy.

Music

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Whether learning vocal or instrumental music, students at Pomfret are engaged in a rigorous course of study as they seek to discover their unique voice as musicians. Individual and ensemble opportunities are offered and tailored to the needs of each student in a supportive and collegial atmosphere. In addition to becoming comfortable performing for their peers, students are challenged to integrate their life experiences into their performances by applying critical thinking and analysis to the varied genres and styles of music studied. A graduate of Pomfret who has been active in this program will be prepared for continued study in college and a lifelong connection to music.

Dance

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Humans are profoundly impacted by the physicality and aesthetics of dance. Pomfret offers a comprehensive introductory dance program to all students, with opportunities to explore movement through rhythmic and musical accompaniment, to refine jazz, ballet and modern technique, and to create original work. As they learn to express themselves through movement, our dancers also gain balance, strength, flexibility, learn injury prevention, and broaden their movement vocabulary. The program incorporates performances at the conclusion of the fall and winter terms, as well as field trips and guest artists.

Learn MoRE

Theater

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Telling our stories is a fundamental human impulse. The theater program invites participation in this ancient art form that is both immediate and alive. Classes in acting, playwriting, improvisation and sketch comedy offer opportunity for anyone to get involved. Productions are mounted each term, offering students an immersive experience in creating and performing. The entire school attends all productions, creating a forum for discussion, debate and seeing the world through the eyes of others. Frequent field trips to professional theater, including Broadway, are an essential component to the program.

Advanced Music Theory

OFFERED: winter term

This two-term course examines the fundamental principles of Tonal Harmony such as elements of pitch, diatonic triads and seventh chords, principles of voice leading, part writing, harmonic progressions, cadences, phrases, secondary functions, modulation, forms and many other elements of the harmonic vocabulary. Atonal harmony will be included along with an introduction to the principles of musicology. The course is intensive and is open only to those with prior experience on a musical instrument or voice. Prerequisite: Music Theory Fundamentals or departmental approval required


Arts Immersion

OFFERED: yearlong

Beginning September 2016, freshmen at Pomfret will participate in a new experiential learning course that integrates multiple programs in the arts. Designed as a full immersion into creativity in varied disciplines, students will develop their imagination as a necessary life-long resource to problem solving, as well as hone their skills in written and oral presentation. Armed with this experience in self-expression, reflection and metacognition, our freshman will make more informed choices about their course of study for their remaining three years at Pomfret.

Audition Preparation

OFFERED: fall term

Each student will work with a private instructor on a weekly basis to prepare an audition. Seniors will prepare a recording to be sent as part of their college admissions application. Non-seniors will prepare audition material for Pomfret's "Broadway Night" performance and the winter musical. Instrumentalists will prepare a short selection appropriate for an all-school chapel performance. Minimum weekly practice time is the equivalent of a full course block. Students will attend weekly meetings with other members of the class during which they will perform their repertoire and critique the performances of their peers. The culminating experience will be a recording session of their prepared repertory. The final grade will be partially based on the outcome of the recording session. Fee: $495 per term

Chorus

OFFERED: fall, winter, and spring terms

Chorus is offered as a musical experience available to any student with a desire to sing in a choir. Performance expression and personal involvement in the music is emphasized alongside professionalism and development of sight-reading skills. Chorus is intended to be a dynamic course that is challenging. This course is open to students without prior musical training.


Contemporary Music Performance

OFFERED: winter term

This course offers hands on experience in a performance band for contemporary musicians. Students participate in selection and arrangement of performance material. The material is rehearsed during classroom time and performed at a variety of venues, including a final concert. Music to be studied includes rock, jazz, folk, reggae and a variety of other modern styles determined by skill, experience and preference of the musicians involved. Students should have some prior knowledge and experience with the instrument on which they intend to perform. Vocalists will be considered and may be requested to audition for the various groups.

Dance Fundamentals

OFFERED: fall, winter and spring terms

Dance Fundamentals is a class designed for the athlete, novice dancer, or simply the student interested in discovering their “physical voice”. During the term, students will learn how to express what makes them unique through movement. They will practice the techniques of yoga, ballet, modern/contemporary dance, and partnering. This class will also help students learn to gain balance, upper body and core strength, flexibility, and injury prevention through creative exploration.


Guitar Ensemble

OFFERED: fall term

Guitar ensemble is an introductory course—no previous guitar study is required. This class will introduce students to reading notation for guitar, by performing literature for guitar ensembles: duets, trios, quartets and larger groups. This literature includes compositions written for guitar ensembles as well as arrangements of pieces originally written for other settings, including solo instruments, full orchestras, and popular music. The ensemble harnesses individual skills towards a collaborative effort, resulting in a beauty of expressive execution. The ensemble will also develop the ability to communicate as one with an audience, culminating in our public performance in the spring. Ownership of a nylon string guitar is strongly encouraged, but not required.

Honors A Cappella Ensemble

OFFERED: yearlong

Members of the Griff Tones learn how to perform and sing contemporary a cappella music. Repertoire is selected from a wide variety of musical styles. This is a challenging course offered only to students with a high degree of musical talent and motivation. Acceptance into this course is by competitive audition in the spring term. Students meet four times a week plus joint ventures with the Chorus. Students who are in the Griff Tones perform regularly both nationally and internationally. Each year they give between 10-20 performances. The most recent tour was to Italy during the spring break of 2015. Members of the Griff Tones are expected to enroll in Honors A Cappella every term of their Pomfret career upon acceptance into the group.

Honors Contemporary Music Performance

OFFERED: yearlong

This honors level ensemble builds upon the skills developed in Contemporary Music Performance. Students will drive song selection and arrangement, though jazz standards and other music selected by the instructor will be studied to help broaden the students' musical background. This course focuses heavily on improvisation and composition. The material is rehearsed during classroom time and performed at a variety of venues, including a final concert each term. Students will be required to understand the basics of standard Western musical notation and have an intermediate level of skill on their primary instrument. Vocalists will be considered and may be requested to audition for the various groups. Permission of the instructor required.


Improvisation and Sketch Comedy

OFFERED: winter and spring terms

Improvisation and Sketch Comedy is a course that uses each student’s intuition and imagination in the creation of live theater. Through a series of exercises and projects, students will learn how to speak and move on impulse, collaborate with others, and structure their own creativity in a form that is immediate and alive. Student will also investigate techniques of sketch comedy used successfully by many comedy groups including Second City. A class performance will be open to the school community at the conclusion of the term.

Movement for Athletes

OFFERED: fall, winter and spring terms

Movement for Athletes explores dance as it relates to overall fitness, strength and conditioning. Students will explore dance-based exercise such as yoga-dance, pilates, Latin-American Zumba, barre conditioning, and dance therapy. Regardless of athletic background, students in this class will build a foundation in strength and fitness that will carry over into other creative and athletic endeavors.

Music for Dance

OFFERED: fall, winter and spring terms

In Music for Dance, students will explore music and rhythm as a catalyst for creative movement and choreography. Through exercises in rhythm analysis, peer musical accompaniment and research of popular music and dance genres, students will gain an understanding of the ways in which musical and rhythmic appreciation informs and expands the creative process of dance.

Music of Social Justice

OFFERED: spring term

Music has always been an active force in social justice movements: galvanizing people, communicating tone and mission, and inviting new audiences to join the cause. We Shall Overcome: The Music of Social Justice is an arts course that will investigate the ways music has been integral to many key social movements. As we listen to examples of protest music, we will learn how the songs were used to unite people who already believed in the cause, communicate human dignity in the face of oppression, and inspire new members. Areas of study can include work song as a form of subversion, the emergence of jazz & blues as African American art forms, 60’s protest music, reggae and Rastafarianism, Hip Hop, and the music of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. As part of our investigation we will also practice select protest songs in class so that students can directly explore their tone and impact. No previous musical experience is required.

Music Theory Fundamentals

OFFERED: fall term

This course introduces the fundamental concepts of tonal music theory. Pitch and rhythmic reading skills are presented and reinforced through sight-singing and keyboard exercises. The basic principles of tonal harmony, i.e., intervals, modes, scales, triads, and chord progressions, are the primary subject matter of the course.


Private Instruction - Music

OFFERED: fall, winter, and spring terms

Private Instruction is designed for students with a sincere desire to learn to sing or play a musical instrument. No prior musical experience is necessary. The course meets for the equivalent of four class periods per week. One meeting time is with a private instructor. The student is expected to practice during the remaining class time. The Music Department will assist in finding the appropriate private teacher for the student when possible. Private Instruction is offered for diploma credit for one term per year with the requirement that the initial term be taken for credit. Students are encouraged to continue private lessons for additional terms on a non-credit basis or, when appropriate, request to enroll in Recital Class and Recital Performance. Fee: $495 per term


Recital Class

OFFERED: winter and spring terms

Each student will work with a private instructor on a weekly basis to prepare repertoire appropriate for a solo recital. Minimum weekly practice time is the equivalent of a full course block. Students will attend weekly meetings with other members of the class during which they will perform their repertoire and critique the performances of their peers. The culminating experience will be a class recital during the spring term. Fee: $495 per term

Recital Performance

OFFERED: spring term

The course will culminate with a public solo recital. The student will work with the private instructor on a weekly basis to prepare repertoire appropriate for a solo recital. Minimum practice time is the equivalent of a full course block. Students will attend weekly meetings with other members of the class during which they will perform their repertoire and critique the performances of their peers. A pre-recital hearing will partially determine the student’s grade. Fee: $495 per term




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