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Upper School Fine and Performing Arts

There’s a passion for the arts at Seven Hills that inspires our students to express themselves and fulfill their creative potential.

Expressing Yourself Confidently 

We believe that the arts are an essential part to the development of each student. That’s why they’re part of our core curriculum. In Upper School, students participate in an environment that promotes meaningful collaboration, cultivates leadership skills, and focuses on working both cooperatively and independently. They are encouraged to take risks, discover new things, and challenge themselves to produce new and creative ideas.


This course is designed for students who enjoy ensemble singing and want to broaden their musical skills. Singers learn proper breathing, vocal production, blend and balance, expansion of range, good intonation, ear training, and sight-reading skills. Throughout the year, students perform various styles of choral literature, ranging from classical and world culture to jazz and Broadway.

Designed for experienced musical students in grades 10 through 12, this course helps students further develop their vocal technique and musicianship. They also improve their critical thinking skills by analyzing musical elements such as form, text, and style, as well as different styles of choral literature.

This course offers two programs from which students can choose: Symphonic Ensemble and Contemporary Ensemble. Both groups are multi-grade experiences that focus on basic theory, sight-reading, and ear training, as well as different musical styles, aspects of theory, and unique technical skills.

This one-semester course serves as an introduction to the theatre, and to the discipline of acting. Students will experience introductory exercises in concentration, relaxation, and ensemble building, as well as basic stage concepts and terminology. We will study one award-winning modern playwright and complete a staged reading of one full-length play. We will also complete a masterclass in SAFD-certified Stage Combat, experience an introduction to Shakespeare, and rehearse and perform two-person scenes from plays by top playwrights from the modern era. Each day, the work will be experienced within a supportive and ensemble-based atmosphere.    

Theatre II takes those concepts experienced in Theatre I to a deeper level. Students will complete more advanced exercises in acting, movement, and voice. We will continue our study of choreographed Stage Combat with our SAFD-certified guest instructors.  We will travel to a local professional theatre to experience a professional Equity production, in conjunction with studying that playwright and the play being produced. Students will delve deeper into scene and monologue work from both the modern and classical era, and will look further into Shakespeare’s works by rehearsing and performing a two-person scene. All work will be experienced within a supportive and ensemble-based atmosphere.    

This course builds on the games and exercises of Theatre I, further immersing students in a variety of improv activities to help develop their improvisational technique and outlook. We will experience improv exercises based on the work of Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone, Augusto Boal, and others.  Students will also experience improv as it relates to the creation and performance of scripted material, and we will also examine improv’s ability to create and encourage personal and social awareness. Students are encouraged to take risks and create spontaneously within this supportive and ensemble-based atmosphere.    
Advanced Acting and Directing is a yearlong course. Students will complete more advanced acting exercises, more challenging scene and monologue work, an advanced unit in armed and unarmed Stage Combat, an audition experience unit, and a study of one great filmmaker. We will also focus on the work of the director—selecting and interpreting materials, as well as exploring staging techniques. As directors, students will learn to realize their vision, creativity, and ingenuity by working with student actors, designers, and technicians in a collaborative setting. Students in this course will also create short productions for presentation before an invited audience. All work will be experienced within a supportive and ensemble-based atmosphere.    

This concept-driven course introduces students to the creative and technical challenges of designing for the stage. They read classic and cutting-edge American plays, hone basic design skills, and explore various fields such as lighting, costume, and sound design.

In this introduction to the Upper School Visual Arts Program, students work on drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, film, and animation, all with an emphasis on basic design principles.

Building on the drawing and painting segments of General Art, this course emphasizes traditional techniques, experimental mixed media, mark making, color mixing, and painting theory.

Beginning with representational creations in clay and transitioning to wax and press molds, students explore assemblage, wire sculpting, metalwork, and other aspects of nonrepresentational sculpture.

This course opens with an introduction to basic construction techniques such as pinch pots, coil building, slab building, molding, and wheel throwing. Students then learn glaze work and kiln use and explore more experimental approaches to construction.

These courses help reinforce and develop students’ skills with 2-D drawing mediums like graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, and drypoint. Students also explore both observational and imaginative drawing practices and concepts, as well as color theory and design principles, all while refining their process in independent sketchbooks.

Students move beyond the fundamental design elements practiced in General Art to create projects that explore visual communication and problem solving. They use both traditional and digital mediums with an emphasis on clarity and craft, tackling increasingly sophisticated problems as the course progresses.

In this course, students use DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras) to capture images, and then edit their work in Photoshop and Lightroom. They also use the computer as an art-making tool to create photo-realistic images and collages. Peer critiques help students evaluate their progress and learn from their classmates’ successes and mistakes.

This course focuses on the production of time-based artwork. Students write, compose, perform, and produce short videos, using the design principles and practices learned in General Art. Along with in-depth technical instruction, students also learn to how to best convey a story in a creative way.