...Scroll down to NEW AND IMPROVED LATEST END OF SCHOOL YEAR NEWS...
DRAMA AND MUSIC AT COMMONWEALTH ACADEMY
Dear Students, Parents, and Colleagues:
This page will keep you up to date on the performing arts program here for the rest of the academic year 2001-2002.
1) First, by scrolling down below, you will find our LATEST NEWS.
2) Next, scroll down to SYLLABUS FOR THE MONTH. This will cover the current month. For future months, please see the syllabus I handed out in our first class. Students and parents, if you need another copy of the syllabus for the year, please ask me. I would be happy to give you another copy. (Caveat: The Middle School syllabus is different from the High School syllabus, so be sure to look at the right part.)
3) Then, as background, you can find GENERAL INFORMATION, COURSE DESCRIPTION, AND GOALS.
4) Next, I will post the full information on the TEXTBOOKS for the class, in case you want to buy an extra copy for home use.
5) Finally, "FYI" (For Your Information), I will give a little information about myself.
1) LATEST NEWS
TAPES ARE IN THE LIBRARY! I made copies of Greek Rock, Billy Shakespeare Goes to Hollywood, and Fiddler (Saturday performance only). The tapes are in the library for students to check out and view at home. Feel free to make copies of the tapes. Be sure to return the tapes you borrow, so that others can see the shows. Some families ordered tapes, and I have given the students those tapes. The vendor charged me $20 per tape.
PS: If anyone has a tape of the Friday February 8 performance, please let me know, and I will make a copy for the library (or you could do so).
2) SYLLABUS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
June is bustin' out all over, as Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote in their musical Carousel.
May was a drama month. We worked on public speaking. The Middle School has worked on tongue twisters, the 9th and 10th grade on speeches, and the 11th and 12th grade on poetry reading. No homework in May.
JUNE will be a music month. I plan to lug in the old keyboard on Monday June 3, and then Monday June 10 for the 11th and 12 graders. Tuesday June 11 will be "final exams." These are not academic exams, so I did not give out a study guide. Rather, they are opportunities to perform throgh singing and acting. As always, students will be graded based on willingness to perform and learn - and will get those extra pluses for sharing their divine sparks of talent.
3) GENERAL INFORMATION, COURSE DESCRIPTION, AND GOALS
We have three drama and music classes--one for the Middle School, one for 9th and 10th grade, and one for the 11th and 12th grade. In each class, there are both returning students and new students. For the benefit of returning students, we will cover new material. For the benefit of new students, we will also review material we studied last year (fundamentals).
In drama, students will strengthen their skills in improvisation, blocking (stage movement), staying in charater, emoting, diction, accents, gestures/body language, projecting the voice, using props and scenery, directing scenes, and using both technique and method acting. In music, students will secure greater knowledge of notes, thestaff, diatonic scale, intervals, chords, and rhythm. This class will also provide an opportunity to sing solos and in choral arrangements. We will study the legacy of classical music, focusing on Ludwig van Beethoven. Of course, we will be practicing for "Fiddler on the Roof" in every class as well.
This class has four main goals: a)to help students discover and develop their talents and skills in acting, dancing, and music (especially singing); 2) to instill in students enough confidence to do their best performing dramatically and musically before a live audience; 3) to review the fundatmentals of music and drama; 4) to foster a positive environment in which students encourage, cheer, and mentor one another in acquiring skills and knowledge.
We will use textbooks in class. In general, students will not take their textbooks home. Instead, they will turn them in at the end of class, for use in the following class. This will make it easier to manage books for this class, which is only once per week.
You do not need to buy any copies. However, if you would like to purchase a copy of your textbook for home use, you may order them from the publisher or form Amazon.com or bn.com. Here are the textbooks:
Textbooks for Drama
High School Drama Textbook: "The Complete Book of Speech and Communication:A Workbook of Ideas and Activities for Students of Speech and Theatre," by Carol Marrs, Lafe Locke (illustrator); Paperback; $11.96 each (on Amazon) Merriweather Publishing 1002 ISBN 0-916260-87-9
Middle School Drama Textbook: "Improvisation Starters: A Collection of 900 Improvisation Situations for the Theater," ed. by Philip Bernardi; Paperback; $10.40 (via Amazon.com) Betterway Books, 1992. ISBN 1-55870-223-4.
[[[[SCHOLARLY NOTE: Did you notice that the Marrs book says "Theatre" (the British and old-fashioned American way) and the Bernardi text spells it "Theater," the modern American way. Which way do you prefer? I think I like "Theatre," but it depends on my mood. (arl)]]]]
Both High School and Middle School drama will use the textbook called "24 Favorite One-Act Plays," in class. This textbook is edited by Bennet Cerf. Doubleday, 1963. ISBN 0-88284-225-0. Parents, if you decide to order this textbook for home use, please speak to me first.
Textbooks for Music
High School Music Textbook: "Harmony & Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians," by Keith Wyatt and Carl Schroeder; Paperback; $145.96 (Amazon). Hal Leonard, 1008. ISBN 0-7935-7991-0.
Middle School Music Textbook: "Practical Theory Complete: A Self-Instruction Music Theory Course," by Sandy Feldstein; ring-bound; $10.95 (Amazon price). Alfred Publishing 1982. ISBN 0-88188-306-9.
I have enjoyed being a teacher at Commonwealth Academy for two main reasons:
1) I love the subjects I am teaching, and
2) I enjoy encouraging the talents of young performers, the world's future!
My son, a born star, has been in several plays at his schools. I myself performed a great deal as a teenager, and started out as a drama major in college (Bennington), but switched to literature and languages. Eventually, I concentrated my performing energies in singing, which I still do professionally (as a paid alto section leader), part time. My Ph.D. is from Princeton University in Comparative Literature (I studied European literature, with an emphasis in French and German with some Spanish and Latin), but I am currently pursuing a degree in music, at George Mason University--slowly but surely. When I am not at Commonwealth, I work out of my home as an editor for a nonprofit educational association. Along the way I picked up an M.B.A. from Loyola College. I am blessed to live with a husband (a real Frenchman), a son (born in Costa Rica), a dog (English Pointer), and two cats (alley strays). I have enjoyed getting to know the wonderfully talented members of the Commonwealth community.
Next year (2002-2003) I need to spend more time on my writing, and on my piano playing skills. I will not be teaching a formal course at Commonwealth. However, I hope to remain involved in the community somehow, perhaps by assisting with extracurricular activities. So it is not "a Dieu" it is "au revoir."