At Convent of the Sacred Heart, we celebrate many forms of art. Performance is balanced with appreciation, recognizing that one’s own creativity often emerges from exposure to the creativity of others. Beginning in preschool, opportunities abound for our students to discover their artistic talents—whether in the visual arts, music, chorus, drama or dance.
In addition to attending regular classes, students often work in small groups, or individually, with teachers who are specialists in their fields. Academic classes frequently collaborate with the arts department on projects, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary thematic work. Students also showcase their talent periodically through both performance and exhibition. Indeed, performances and visual artwork by students often highlight special events and celebrations on campus.
Of course, experiencing the work of truly gifted artists inspires any student of art. Guest artists, performers and lecturers visit the campus regularly, and our proximity to New York City offers students access to Broadway theater and world-renowned museums.
In Lower School students are introduced to a variety of musical concepts such as tempo, steady beat, dynamics, rhythm and melody through singing, instrument playing and music games. Students are exposed to music from many different cultures, time periods and genres. There are many performance opportunities throughout the school year and the after school music program provides instruction for those who wish to study a particular instrument.
Middle School students receive a more focused course of musical study. Sight-singing, music theory and vocal technique are at the core of the curriculum. Students may choose to audition for the Madeleines, a chorus for 5th and 6th graders or the Nightingales which is for 7th and 8th graders, as well as Handbell Choir. . These select groups perform frequently at school and in the community. In 8th grade students may choose from a variety of course offerings including Music Fundamentals, Digital Composition, Musical Theater, etc.
Auditions are held each fall for this elite Upper School singing group. While the primary objective is to achieve the highest artistic goals possible, the group performs frequently during the School year at liturgies, the Christmas Concert, the Spring Festival of the Arts and at off-campus venues including community service projects and choral festivals.
Orchestra is for students interested in enriched instrumental performance opportunities which will feature music ranging from liturgical and classical to contemporary. This class will also enhance the student's ability to read music, play major and minor scales and interpret key signatures, time signatures, rhythms, intervals, and phrasing. Each student is expected to care for and maintain her own instrument. The ensemble will perform at liturgies, chapels and other school functions as requested as well as major performances in the winter and spring.
Chorus: Singers from the Heart
This class is for students who are interested in developing their voices for solo or small ensemble performances. The class will expand the student's repertoire to include gospel, pop, musical theater, and light opera. The class will also enhance the student's ability read music, and to interpret key signatures, time signatures, rhythms, intervals, and phrasing. The ensemble will perform at liturgies, chapels and other school functions as requested as well as major performances in the winter and spring.
The Upper School Handbell Choir is open to 9th thru 12th graders and rehearses weekly before school. They play with 4 octaves of handbells and 3 octaves of hand chimes, performing at liturgies, the Christmas Concert, and at the Baccalaureate Service on Graduation Day.
Lower School students learn the various elements and principles of art, as these are the building blocks for creating a visual vocabulary. These concepts are explored through various media such as: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and collage. Concepts related to perspective and observational drawing are introduced in the fourth grade. Throughout the year, many of the projects involve learning about the art work of a living artist, or the legacy of a remembered one. Often, artists in residence come into the classroom to teach a lesson, in connection to an exhibit of their personal art work in our school gallery. This is always a very fun-filled and educational experience for our students.
Middle School students study the elements and principles of art more in depth in the fifth and sixth grade. Seventh and eighth graders have a greater focus on using the tools they have learned to create meaning through visual images. Many of our projects involve learning about art history, or about the work of a living artist. Students in the Middle School work in a variety of media including painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and drawing.
Foundations of Art
In this course, students learn the basic skills in drawing, design, sculpture and computer. They work towards visual literacy as they discover areas of personal strength, enjoyment and satisfaction.
Drawing and Painting
After developing a basic knowledge of technique and terms, students begin to explore their own experiences with visual images. Emphasis is placed on composition as it exhibits meaning, symbol, and idea. Students have many exhibition opportunities.
Students will find a deeper understanding of their own aesthetic as they build a repertoire of color, line, form and space in order to express ideas and feelings.
Students work in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media, including clay, wood, plaster, collage, and found objects as necessary for the expression of their ideas. The study of the history of mixed media, sculpture and clay are integral to the course.
Photography is a comprehensive course which studies both traditional camera use and black and white printing, along with the recent technologies. These include digital imagery, Photoshop applications, scanning and digital printing. Advanced students in levels two and three focus on a theme and make books to showcase their work. The students enter national and regional competitions and have recently published in magazines, Web sites and text books.
The Early Childhood Program of preschool through kindergarten participates in a creative program of guided movement explorations, story and game structures and group improvisation.
Lower School dance works on alignment and beginning technique. Students study modern dance and are introduced to ballet. They combine skill development with exploration and improvisation. As they mature, they choreograph short studies to share with classmates. Lower School overlaps the academic curriculum with dance and sample dances from other cultures.
Middle School dance introduces students to ballet and jazz and continues to study modern dance technique. They study the craft of choreography through a sequential and comprehensive dance curriculum.
Upper School dance involves the study of ballet, modern dance and modern jazz. Students are involved in technique, explorations of dance concepts and choreography. Throughout the year, there are opportunities for performances.
Drama is introduced as a formal part of the curriculum in Middle School. Drama classes at this level focus on drama techniques as well as public speaking skills. Students have numerous opportunities to perform in plays and musicals that are rehearsed during School hours. The girls also develop skills in improvisation, play writing and stage movement.
The Drama and Advanced Drama courses offered as electives in the Upper School are both year-long courses. In Drama, an overview of three areas of theater is studied: acting, play writing and theater history.
In the follow-up course, Advanced Drama, students continue to work on scenes, monologues and acting exercises that further develop the craft of acting. Students will be expected to hone their play-writing skills and have plays ready to be produced. A theater trip is scheduled for the class.