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Arts at the Upper School

At the Upper School, methodical scheduling is the key to balancing arts, athletics, and academics

  • Our  students do not have to choose between their artistic and athletic interests. They are free to develop as artists and athletes at the same time.
  • Our 12 different arts courses form an integral part of the overall curriculum, so they meet during the school day. This often requires customizing individual schedules so students who are taking AP or advanced level classes can also play in a jazz combo, develop their photography skills, or study the fundamentals of architecture.
  • Rehearsals for extra-curricular theater productions are purposely scheduled at specific times to eliminate conflicts with athletic practices. 

Grading is pass/fail and we do not endeavor to compare one student’s work to another. Competition at the upper or middle school level has been intentionally ruled out, yet we are proud to note that Thayer students who pursue the arts in college, or as a career path, find themselves uniquely qualified to compete in those worlds.

Foundations In The Arts • Grade 9

Foundations In The Arts • Grade 9
This year-long creative course is a requirement for freshmen, and it forms the basis of the arts curriculum. In each trimester, students explore one aspect of the arts: music, visual art, or theater.
  • In theater class, students begin to train as actors through exploration of public speaking, voice, movement, sensory awareness, and improvisation.
  • In visual art class, students develop basic drawing and painting skills.
  • In music class, students use an "ears-and-minds-open” approach as they learn to intellectually analyze the construction of all modern forms of music.

Meets 2 times per week, full year for 1/2 credit

Performing Arts • Grades 9-12

Performing Arts • Grades 9-12

  • Instrumental Music Electives - Jazz Combo (8 groups), Instrumental Ensemble
  • Vocal Music Electives - Concert Choir, Small Vocal Ensembles (3 groups)
  • Theater Electives - Advanced Acting Workshop
  • Dance Electives - Dance & Choreography Workshop

Visual Arts • Grades 10-12

Visual Arts • Grades 10-12

  • Architectural Design I, II, and III
  • Photography I, II, and III
  • Painting & Drawing I, II, III and Major
  • Graphic Design I, II (Print and Web Design)
  • Pottery I, II, III
  • Video Arts I, II, III
  • Art History (Taught by the History Department)

   Arts By the Numbers

    In the Upper School, we have…

  • 90% of our students participating in the arts program
  • 16 faculty members in the arts department
  • 12 different arts courses spanning the visual and performing arts
  • 9 annual music, dance, and theatrical performances each year, often playing to a standing-room-only crowd in our 540-seat state-of-the-art theater
  • 9 instrumental performing groups
  • 3 vocal performing groups
  • 3 stage productions each year
  • Individual instrumental or vocal lessons on campus
  • Arts courses scheduled as part of the daily curriculum



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