Performing Arts


Jazz Ensemble  •  Fall & Spring

Students involved in this ensemble will work to improve their ensemble playing as well as their individual musicianship. This group will work on standards, blues, fusion as well as contemporary and original compositions. On and off campus performances will be included.

Prerequisites: Musical experience required


Chorus  •  Fall & Spring

Chorus is Darrow’s vocal ensemble, which explores music from the Renaissance to modern pop, and from world music to original songs. Each member of the Chorus learns to read music and develop their voice for choral singing. Chorus members sing at various performances including school concerts, Miss Hall’s Coordinate Concert, and other off campus concerts.


Writing for Performance  •  Fall

In this course students will analyze and explore a variety of performance writers, styles, and contents. Each week students will be building their writing skills while learning performance tools through a workshop style classroom setting culminating, each final class, in a table reading of that week’s work. Throughout the semester students will be required to read from a diverse collection of published plays representing different genres and playwrights. From the weekly writing prompts, students will have the opportunity to read and hear each other’s pieces during the Writer’s Workshop. Students will choose to focus on their own favorite original piece to present in a “staged reading” style for their original One Act final exam. Students will be encouraged to invite members outside of the class to be a part of the audience.

*This course is cross-listed with the English Department. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.


Music Production  •  Fall

Students will utilize state-of-the-art technology to create, compose, remix, and record music. We will learn programs including ProTools, Logic, and more.


Intro to Guitar and Piano  •  Fall

Students will learn the essential elements and fundamentals in order to begin playing each instrument. This course is designed for any student who is seeking to explore performance techniques and basic music theory on guitar and piano. Although students can focus on guitar or piano, both instruments will be introduced to all students enrolled in this course. No prior experience is needed. Students will be able to use the guitars and keyboards in the Performing Arts Center, so no equipment is needed.


Music Theory  •  Spring

This fast-paced course in music notation and ear training is designed to provide the basic skills necessary to compose and analyze music. Students utilize technology to document their work in written scores and recorded works.


Music for Social Change  •  Spring

Many of the foundational features of the course will explore, generally, the intersection of art and social change. Once reviewed, we would hone in on the particular role of music as a catalyst for change. Topics of exploration may include the following:

  • An inquiry into the philosophy of aesthetics. How does art impact us and how can our experiences with art transform ourselves and society at large?
  • An inquiry into the philosophy of civil society. What issues in contemporary life may be keeping us from coexisting peacefully?
  • An inquiry into the ways that arts can contribute to the public sphere and how art functions in a democracy.
  • An exploration into examples of artists and musicians who have contributed to social change through their art. (Polish violinist Huberman during the Holocaust).
  • An exploration into different NGOs who believe in the power of music and the arts to bring about social change. (El Sistema, Musicians without Borders)
  • An inquiry into the distinguishing features of music as compared to the other arts.


Performance Studies  •  Spring

Students will gain exposure to a broad spectrum of performance modes. Students will be examining performance behaviors in, ritual, play, spectacle, identity, everyday life, the arts, and performance history. Additionally, students will study different areas of performance studies (including storytelling, performance art, film, music, and dramaturgy), design/tech, and/or musical theater. Throughout the semester students will be delivering individual presentations focused on connecting to their own aesthetic. Projects combine written and performance elements to help students develop as scholar-practitioners.


Songwriting  •  Spring

Do you have a story to tell? Say it through song. Students will learn effective and efficient techniques to explore the process of songwriting. This class will analyze existing songs, practice writing in different forms and styles, and have their work recorded in the PAC studio. Music can be recorded by other musicians other than the songwriter as the focus of this class is on composition and not necessarily performance. At the end of this course, students will have the ability to write music and lyrics in different styles and form. Students will be assigned to record their music and have a Soundcloud (or similar platform) page to post their work. This course can offer a compositional element to the Music Department’s course offerings. Students will explore aspects of music theory, lyricism, poetry, as well as self-identity and awareness through the process of songwriting.


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