Video Introduction & Course Descriptions
VAPA Course Descriptions 2019
***Please see Course Selection Sheet for Prerequisites***
As the oldest public school west of the Mississippi, Lowell has a rich history and a national reputation for its academic and arts programs. Lowell’s Visual and Performing Arts department assures that every student has the opportunity to engage in a sequential standards based arts education. The SFUSD high school graduation requirement for VAPA is only one year, yet Lowell students have the opportunity to enroll in arts courses all four years.
Through a comprehensive program of courses in visual and performing arts and multiple extra-curricular opportunities, Lowell inspires and supports students in becoming joyful and disciplined young artists and life-long arts appreciators. All Lowell VAPA courses are approved for UC/CSU a-g and high school elective credit.
This is a beginning course which surveys drawing and sculptural art processes. Sculpture and drawing techniques will be developed through technical demonstrations, slide lectures, hands on projects and students will learn the basics of drawing from observation. This class is perfect for those who want to learn to draw or improve their conceptual abilities, and grow tool usage, regardless of prior experience. We will work in a sketchbook along with a series of support exercises, that stress the visual, physical, intellectual and intuitive aspect of art making.
A second year course, where 3D and 2D skills will be developed through current art techniques and practices, paying close attention to subject and materiality. Challenging content will be explored through a traditional and non-traditional art approaches to technique. Evaluation through the process of critiques and other forms (teacher, group, individual and written) throughout the semester to allow students to vocalize their thoughts and gain a stronger sense of personal direction. This course will prepare students to continue on to Advanced Placement Art.
Art in Architecture 1, 2
This course introduces students to basic architectural design principles and problem solving. Fundamental skills in technical and freehand drawing, spatial visualization and standard visual communication techniques will be presented. The disciplinary design process from conceptual diagrams to spatial organization will be introduced as students present individual solutions to design problem(s). Emphasis is on hand-drawn techniques,although access to digital techniques, including computer-aided-design or CAD, is provided. Second semester is primarily project based and continues to explore the design process. Esthetic, social and geographic factors in building are considered.
Art in Architecture Advanced
This course is primarily project based and continues to explore the design process. Students develop and present unique solutions to design problem(s) and communicate their proposals through drawings, models, CAD, and computer simulation. Projects may require significant amounts of time outside of class. Students must possess a strong ability to work independently.
Students learn the techniques of pinch pot, coil, slab, and wheel. Decorating with slips, textures, oxides, and glazes is the focus of first year in ceramics. Students also learn the history of ceramics and about basic geology, chemistry, and physics involved. Second semester beginning students commit to continuing their study solely on the wheel or in handbuilding. Elements of design are discussed.
Second year students select either the wheel or handbuilding and continue to develop their skills and craftsmanship and enhance their knowledge and use of clay to create functional and non-functional ceramic pieces. Students will continue to experiment with a variety of glaze, slip, oxide, and textural techniques and learn about different firing techniques. Elements of design are discussed.
In addition to further developing craftsmanship and knowledge of ceramics, students will create an online portfolio and hold an exhibition of their work. Students will pick their own theme of study, with teacher approval, and spend the year in mostly self-guided personal projects. Emphasis is placed on becoming a member of a community of craftspeople/artists, sharing ideas, space, materials and support.
Photography 1, 2
These courses introduce students to the fundamentals of photography. Students learn the skills and techniques of taking photographs and the manipulation of digital images. An emphasis is placed on composition and light as a foundation in photography as a visual language. Additional two-dimensional media may be explored to develop principles of design.
This course is for students with at least one year experience on their instrument. We will develop musical fundamentals and skills specific to their instrument and advance music reading and rhythm concepts. We will play music from a variety of musical genres like Classical, Broadway Musicals and Pop. This course gives the students the opportunity to perform for the school and in community events as well as work in small ensembles. We will utilize class time to listen to a variety of music as well as recordings of our rehearsals and concert performances to further develop our critical ear and evaluative process. This course is available to all grade levels and in most cases instruments are provided.
This course is an introduction to contemporary dance for those experienced in other dance forms as well as for those new to dance. Students enrolled in this class will develop their technical skills through daily dance phrases and will explore various dance forms. Participation in the winter and spring concert is required.
This course is designed for intermediate dancers who have successfully completed Dance 1A and B or at least one year of training in ballet, jazz, or modern dance. Students will continue to strengthen their dance technique and will further develop their choreographic skills. Performance in the winter and spring dance concert is required.
This course is designed for the advanced dancer who has had two or more years training in ballet, jazz, or modern dance and who seeks to continue developing technical and choreographic skills. The class is a lab for finding a high level of technique, a personal style, and crafting dances for other students. Highlights include master classes from professional dancers. Performance in the winter and spring dance concert is required.
This course is designed for the students who possess the technical and academic maturity to proceed to the next level of movement studies. Students will have the opportunity to be challenged through repertory work, in preparation for performances at locations around the city. Rehearsals develop experience at a pre-professional level, collaborating in developing new touring works. Performance in the winter and spring dance concert is required. Auditions for this class are held in the spring.
This class will introduce the student to basic guitar playing. We will learn how to tune and take care of the guitar. We will utilize musical notation and guitar tablature to master fundamentals like rhythm, tempo and dynamics. We will learn chords (major/minor), chord progressions and scales( melody) as well as a variety of strumming and fingerpicking techniques. Students will have the opportunity to work in small ensembles and work with ukuleles. We will discuss and listen to some of the guitarists/musicians that have contributed to the art and history of guitar. Guitars are provided for the students.
Orchestra 2, Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra courses provide students the opportunity to experience orchestral music through rehearsal and performance. Classes will focus on development of ensemble skills, string techniques, string and orchestral repertoire, as well as the promotion of lifelong learning attitudes towards music. Students will perform music drawn from the Renaissance to the present. While performance will be an integral part of the end product, the ongoing process of rehearsing quality music at a high level of musicianship will be the daily challenge. Students will be expected to practice on a weekly basis in order to master the concert repertoire and develop individual technical and musicianship skills appropriate to their instrument. Please see Mrs. Hollander for correct orchestra placement.
Piano Lab 1
This class will introduce the student to basic piano playing. We will learn/study musical notation on the grand staff and develop music fundamentals like: rhythm, tempo, articulations and dynamics. We will learn chord structures (major/minor), chord progressions, scales, fingering, and pedal techniques. We will discuss and listen to some composers and pianists that have contributed to the art and history of piano. Students will also have the opportunity to play in duets.
Vocal Music 1, 2, 3
All vocal music classes make an extensive study of a wide variety of choral and vocal literature from early periods of music to the present. Beginning and Intermediate Choirs emphasize the basics of vocal production, pitch, intonation,breath control, range development, balance, music reading and ear training. Advanced Choir continues students’ vocal development, and musicianship. Promotion to the next level is based on audition and the availability of space in each vocal section. School performances are required at all levels.
Drama 1, 2, 3
This class is perfect for students interested in storytelling who wish to explore the theater arts. Students will be introduced to beginning acting techniques from Viola Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theater, and Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting. Students will also be introduced to beginning directing techniques, producing skills, basics of theater tech, and the idea of using theater as a tool for social justice.
Theater Tech 1, 2, 3
This course is an introduction to all areas of technical theater including lighting, sound, scenery, and costumes. Students will gain an understanding of various acting techniques used within a theater production and will learn the safety rules and etiquette of a theater shop. Students will learn how to safely use hand and power tools and are expected to work on at least one production and take on a leadership role.
AP Art History
The AP Art History course is equivalent to a two-semester college survey course exploring the nature of art, art making, and responses to art. By investigating specific course content of 250 works of art characterized by diverse artistic traditions from prehistory to the present, students develop in-depth, holistic understanding of the history of art from a global perspective. Students become active participants in the global art world, engaging with its forms and content. They experience, research, discuss, read, and write about art, artists, art making, responses to and interpretations of art.
AP Studio Art: 3D Design
Offered beginning in the Fall of an odd year (ex.2019) Entry in this course will involve students who are seriously interested in the ongoing process of making art, the critical decision-making process and analysis of editing ideas and content, and the intellectual challenges art evokes. Ideal candidates are prepared to be challenged daily and develop content and construct mastery of works of art, at the college level. Through teacher instruction, modeling, art production and critiques, students will create a series of quality works of art (14+) addressing all three sections of the required portfolio: Breadth, Concentration and Quality. Upon completion of portfolio through digital photographic documentation, students submit the portfolios to the College Board in early May during designated AP Exams. This portfolio will also serve as a supplement to college applications, contests and scholarship opportunities.
AP Studio Art: Drawing
Offered beginning in the Fall of an even year (ex.2020) Through studio practice, application of drawing concepts, and informed decision making, students will assemble a body of artwork that demonstrates a high level of quality and personal growth over time of content, technique, and process. Through teacher instruction, modeling, art production (in class and outside) and critiques, students will create a series of quality works of art (18+) addressing all three sections of the required portfolio: Breadth, Concentration and Quality. Upon completion of portfolio through digital photographic documentation, students submit the portfolios to the College Board in early May during designated AP Exams. This portfolio will also serve as a supplement to college applications, contests and scholarship opportunities.
AP Music Theory
This course develops the student’s aural and visual understanding of musical structure and compositional procedures. It requires the ability to read fluently in treble and bass clef, the ability to spell major scales quickly, and a willingness to sing alone and with others. Students take melodic and harmonic dictation and do part-writing and composition in styles ranging from folk song to art music, with an emphasis on the common practice style used by J.S. Bach in the eighteenth century. Students learn to sight-sing diatonic melodies and to hear chord progressions typical of the common practice era.
Theater Production 1
This is an advanced Theatre Ensemble for students with previous acting and performing experience. Students will demonstrate their advanced acting, (singing, dancing) skills, participate in daily in-class presentations, and will be given the opportunity to present performances to a general audience outside of class time. Students will also be required to participate in Musical Theatre auditions and master classes throughout the year. Advancement to this class is by passing a placement audition or by permission of the instructor. Successful students in this class have demonstrated ability to schedule time well, excellent attendance records, demonstration of ensemble team work, absolute reliability, and excellent physical stamina.
This course is for students with several years experience on their instrument. We will further develop musical fundamentals and skills specific to their instrument and advance site reading, ear training, music theory and rhythm concepts. We will play music from a variety of musical genres and styles like Swing, Latin, Standards, Funk and R&B. The course will introduce soloing and improvisational concepts and gives students the opportunity to perform for the school and in community events as well as work in small combos. We will utilize class time to listen to a variety of music as well as recordings of our rehearsals and concert performances to further develop our critical ear and evaluative process.
This course is for students with several years experience on their instrument. We will further develop musical fundamentals and skills specific to their instrument and advance site reading, ear training, music theory and rhythm concepts. We will play music from a variety of musical genres like Classical, Broadway Musicals and Pop.
This course gives the students the opportunity to perform for the school and in community events as well as work in small ensembles and perform with the Orchestra. We will utilize class time to listen to a variety of music as well as recordings of our rehearsals and concert performances to further develop our critical ear and evaluative process. In most cases instruments are provided.
This page was last updated on May 31, 2023