We explore education through doing, by offering courses that challenge students to apply the theory they learn in the classroom to the practice of art in performance.

Music Department

Studies in neurobiology have confirmed what musicians have long intuited; that music plays a special role in the development of the human brain and helps keep it running smoothly as we grow. The benefits of musical activity are especially valuable to teens, who spend much of their school day with logical reasoning skills, and who respond immediately to the stimulus that music brings to their developing social and emotional systems. Nothing is more vital to music than collaboration – it is virtually a “mode of being” to musicians, and many students are often at their best when led to productive partnerships. The opportunity to work closely with individual teachers in the Private Instruction Program is available for study in all instruments as well as voice. Lawrenceville's instrumental and vocal ensembles offer a vigorous co-curricular experience in performance for students at many levels.

Course offerings in Music are rich, ranging from explorations of the fundamental “language” of music, to its place in history and culture, and extending to hands-on experience in composition and production work as well as Chamber Music (which embraces classical, jazz, and pop). We embrace a broad view of “making” music, and our hope is that every student will find a place to “exercise” the musical brain, and spirit, during their time at Lawrenceville.

Theatre and Dance

The Theatre and Dance Department believes that the actual process and making art is our unique educational gift to the School. To that end, we explore education through doing, by offering courses that challenge students to apply the theory they learn in the classroom to the practice of art in performance. This requires them to find creative solutions to real-life problems, to develop sophisticated communicative skills in order to convey their ideas effectively, and to work among themselves in close collaboration.

Like the athletic and academic programs at Lawrenceville, we utilize a three-tiered approach to meet the needs and abilities of our students. If someone wishes to achieve at the most rigorous “varsity” or “advanced placement” level, we provide faculty-directed main stage performance venues as well as an Independent Project in Theatre course, which culminates in a major display of a student’s work in a fully-produced black box production. If someone wishes to pursue their interest in a less time-consuming, though still highly spirited environment, we provide advanced curricular courses, faculty-directed black box productions and student-initiated projects for the annual Periwig Theatre Festival.

We also offer a Mask Troupe Ensemble, an Improvisation Troupe and a Dance Cabaret, for those students who wish an artistic experience along the more relaxed lines of a “House” sport. The Foundations of Theatre course is the gateway to all subsequent curricular offerings. The class touches on all aspects of the Theatre, from improvisation to mask characterization, set and lighting design to direction, and playwriting to acting. If a student decides, after taking Foundations, that they wish to continue their study in any one of these specific areas, they will find an advanced course to meet their interest.

Explore Our Courses

  • PA010 - The Lawrentians

    See description for PA304. Terms: All. Forms: IV, V
  • PA201 - Foundations of Music

    This is a two-term course. "Without music, life would be a mistake..." Why do we enjoy music so much? Why is it found in every culture and time period? In addition to these questions, students will address the basic components of musicianship, emphasizing creating and performing music as well as recording and editing projects. One of the four weekly classes meets in a co-curricular rehearsal hour, during which time students engage in a "music lab," applying skills and making music as members of an ensemble, either with Community Orchestra or Collegium, a Jazz ensemble, or the ever-popular Community Singers (no audition required). Terms: T2 and T3; Forms: II
  • PA221 - Foundations of Theater

    This is a two-term course. If the famous phrase, "all the world's a stage and we are merely players," is true, then this class will be of great value. Why do people behave the way they do? How can we understand what's really going on in relationships? What IS "character" anyway? How can we use metaphor, symbol and physical expression to communicate feelings and ideas? This class will utilize the discipline of Theatre to exercise the "artistic brain" to develop skills, habits and dispositions which will enrich a students' life through creative exploration and performance. Terms: T2 and T3; Forms: II
  • PA301 - Foundations of Music

    For returning 3rd formers who have taken their first two arts credits in visual art or theatre, or first year 4th/5th form students. This one-term class is a distillation and acceleration of PA 201 and will complete your arts graduation requirement. See description for PA201. Terms: T1; Forms: III or IV Prereqs: PA221 or VA201
  • PA304 - The Lawrentians

    This year-long class explores advanced levels of the choral art form through the study and performance of sophisticated literature. The singers begin to develop mastery of fundamental skills-tuning, balance, breath, diction, dynamics and phrasing-of performance practice. This advanced 8-part chamber choir gives concerts several times throughout the academic year; consequently, students are carefully selected for the group based upon commitment, consistency and clarity of vocal tone, singing experience, and overall music skills. Terms: All; Forms: III Prereqs: Audition
  • PA310 - Explorations of Music

    For new 3rd formers only, this two-term class will fulfill their arts graduation requirement. See PA201 and PA330 for course description. Terms: T1 and T2; Forms: III
  • PA321 - Foundations of Theatre

    For returning 3rd formers who have taken their first two arts credits in visual art or music, this one-term class is a distillation and acceleration of PA221 and will complete your arts graduation requirement. See description for PA221. Terms: T3; Forms: III Prereqs: PA201 or VA201
  • PA322 - Acting & Directing

    This course builds primarily upon the acting component of the PA221 Foundations of Theater class. You will develop the essential skills required to direct or act in a fully realized short play for performance in the Black Box Theatre. Terms: T1 or T3; Forms: III Prereqs: PA221
  • PA324 - Explorations of Theatre

    For new 3rd formers only, this two-term class will fulfill their arts graduation requirement. See PA221and PA322 for course description. Terms: T1 and T2; Forms: III
  • PA325 - Stagecraft and Design

    This course builds upon the design component of Foundations of Theatre, and allows you to actively explore technical theatre and design.  Class projects develop skills in stagecraft, including scenery construction and painting, specialty make-up, costume construction, and stage lighting.  Students collaboratively learn visual communication skills while creating a conceptualized design in their chosen area of interest. 
    Terms: T1; Forms: III Prereqs: PA221 or VA200
  • PA330 - Shapes and Styles of Music

    This class builds upon the musical practice explored and exercised in the PA201 and PA301 Foundations of Music classes. This course will advance basic musicianship through more detailed experience with compositional materials and practice as well as analysis of a broad spectrum of Western music from about 1750-1900. Terms: T1 or T2; Forms: III Prereqs: PA201
  • PA421 - Fundamentals of Theatre

    For first-year IV, V, and PG student, this course completes your arts requirement. Through a series of imaginative theatre games, scene study and set design projects, we exercise our "creative-artistic brain" to develop skills and habits which enrich our lives and support our work in academic classes. Terms: T3; Forms: IV, V and PG.
  • PA511 - Honors Music Theory: Basics of Structure

    This course is for those students wishing to understand the structure of music through rigorous study in the traditional format of music theory. You'll learn about intervals, scales, chords, simple forms, phrases (musical "sentences"), and the beginnings of functional harmony. Extensive ear training will be covered. Grants: Honors; Terms: T1; Forms: III, IV or V Prereqs: PA330, or Instructor Approval
  • PA512 - Honors Music Theory: Functional Harmony

    This course builds on the skills learned in PA501, Honors Music Theory I. This course will be devoted to the study of functional harmony. Triads, seventh chords, and harmonic progressions are the focus of this course. Students will study the harmonic structure of Bach, and will learn to create and compose their own harmonic progressions. Students are highly encouraged to take PA511 before taking this course. Grants: Honors; Terms: T2; Forms: III, IV or V Prereqs: PA330, or Instructor Approval
  • PA513 - Honors Music Theory: Form and Analysis

    This course focuses on the larger-form aspects of the structure of music. Students will study the forms of sonatas, symphonies, suites, and other large-scale compositions, both in an historical context as well as a theoretical one. Additionally, 20th century techniques such as serialism will be covered. Students are highly encouraged to take PA511 and PA512 before taking this course. Grants: Honors; Terms: T3; Forms: III, IV or V Prereqs: PA330, or Instructor Approval
  • PA515 - Jazz Improvisation

    This course is for instrumentalists who are interested in furthering their improvisation skills in the jazz idiom.  Topics included will be chord/scale relationships, common jazz forms (blues, Rhythm Changes, AABA), melody creation, jazz standards, Bebop styles, ii-V-I progression/patterns, modal playing, and others.  Students will get a chance to improvise daily.  Prerequisites:  completion of Foundational arts requirement, performance ability on a melodic instrument.  Drummers and vocalists are not eligible for this course at this time. Grants: Honors; Terms: T1; Forms: III, IV or V Prerequisite: PA201 or Permission of Instructor
  • PA525 - Advanced Theatrical Design

    Focuses on the in-depth exploration of the theatrical design process, from idea to reality. Your final project will be a fully realized design of a play in one or more areas of interest such as scenery, lighting, costumes, or sound. This dynamic class will encourage creativity, problem solving, teamwork, and artistic exploration. Grants: Honors; Terms: T2;   Forms: IV or V Prereqs: PA322 or PA323
  • PA526 - Choreography

    This course explores choreography through dancing, dance watching/analysis, and study of dance composition/choreography. Students will prepare and perform movement studies as part of an ongoing examination of formal choreographic techniques with an emphasis on spatial composition. We will also devote time to viewing/discussing dance videotapes. Assignments include: journals, written analyses of dances on videotape, and a final choreographic project. Grants: Honors; Terms: T3; Forms: IV or V Prereqs: Approval of Department
  • PA599 - Ind. Study: Music or Theatre

    Students with special interests they wish to explore outside the regular program of courses may apply to drop one course for one term and use the time for independent study. This may involve research or creative work; normally it will culminate in a paper, exhibit, or performance of some kind. Work in such projects is treated exactly like work in regular courses: a final grade is given; students must meet regularly (at least once a week) with their advisor; they must have tangible progress to report at each meeting. Grants: Honors; Terms: All; Forms: All Prereqs: Department Approval
  • IN532 - Acoustics

    Musical acoustics is a unique area of study where “art” and “science” meet together and sometimes produce unexpected results! This course will cover the generation and propagation of sound, and the ear’s response to sound. We will study sound generated from musical instruments and sound from the human voice. There will also be an introduction to room acoustics, sound analysis, musical intervals and scales. A significant portion of the class will be devoted to building acoustical models and musical instruments. Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary 1IN/1PA Cr.; Terms: T3: Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of any 300 level art class
  • IN535 - Mythological Theatre: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters

    Every civilization has its myths; great stories of gods and mankind that have been passed down, enduring over time. Through theatre we can pass on these myths, capturing their purpose and significance in the present. In this interdisciplinary course we take a critical look at mythology, identifying what roles myths hold in different cultures, past and present, and their social importance. We will ask "What is myth?", "What purposes do myths serve?”, and “How does performance help us to see or know these stories anew?" We will study Greek, Norse, Eastern, and Western mythology, identifying important cultural markers, patterns, roles and conflicts, and create our own stories from these findings. Students will collaborate on a new theatrical work, weaving classical myths with these modern interpretations, presented through live performance. Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary 1IN/1PA Cr.; Terms: T3: Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of any 300 level art class
  • IN536 - The Exploration of the Universe through Theatre

    Life of Galileo explores the complex relationships among faith, reason, and the social responsibility of the scientist. This play becomes a catalyst for our examination of the real-world conflicts between the intellectual and authority, science and politics, the Church and the State, all of which both Galileo and the playwright, Bertolt Brecht, struggled with through their lives. In addition to investigating the scientific and historical context of Galileo’s paradigm-shifting discoveries, we will explore Brecht’s concepts of Theatre of Alienation and its impact on the development of modern theatre. Our exploration will include a field-trip to NYC to view a performance in the style known as Brechtian Theatre. The culmination of our experience will be research projects based on performance studies and written analysis of a chosen “radical thinker”.  Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary 1IN/1PA Cr.; Terms: T1; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of any 300 level art class
  • IN537 - The Culture Industry in the US

    This course traces the evolution of music as cultural product in the U.S., focusing on its relationships with important historical and social movements. We explore what is meant by the term "popular" in relation to emerging musical styles, and how those practices have been important for the rise of a uniquely American entertainment industry. We will also look at how popular music has been used as a marker for identity (including class, race, and gender) throughout our history.  Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary; 1IN/1PA Cr.; Terms: T1 or T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of arts requirement
  • IN566 - Dramaturgy

    This course is a one-term 500-level Interdisciplinary course between HI and PA focused on Dramaturgy, the theory and craft of dramatic composition. Dramaturgy steeps itself in detailed research of the historical time period, influences, factors, and anthropological data that influence the world in a given play. In this class, we will analyze three classic plays and compile three bodies of research tied to the context and influences of the time and setting as presented in a contemporary performance. The culminating project will require students to present a comprehensive portfolio of materials based on a driving dramaturgical prompt, requiring research in scholarly articles, performance archives, and visual supportive evidence. The study and culminating work is where history and anthropology collide with culture and theatrical craft, in and through research.
    Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary; 1IN/1PA/1HI Cr.; Terms: T2; Forms IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of any 300 level art class

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Keith Roeckle
    Keith Roeckle
    Chair of Performing Arts
    Drexel University - M.S.Ed.
    Temple University - B.Mus.
  • Photo of Harry Apgar
    Harry Apgar
    Private Music Instructor
  • Photo of Robert Apgar
    Robert Apgar
    Private Lesson Instructor, Clarinet
  • Photo of Brian Brown
    Brian Brown
    Private Lesson Instructor, Tuba
  • Photo of Colette Burns
    Colette Burns
    Office Manager/Private Music Lesson Coordinator, Director of Lawrenceville Performing Arts Camp
  • Photo of Matthew Campbell
    Matthew Campbell
    Performing Arts Teacher
    Westminster Choir College of Rider University - B.A.
  • Photo of Christopher Clark
    Christopher Clark
    Private Lesson Instructor, Double Bass, Bass Guitar
  • Photo of Joan Cordas
    Joan Cordas
    Private Lesson Instructor, Violin, Viola
  • Photo of Louis Cordas
    Louis Cordas
  • Photo of James Cuthrell
    James Cuthrell
    Technical Director of the Kirby Arts Center; Drama Teacher
    Radford University - B.A.
    University of North Carolina at Greensboro - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Kristin Devine
    Kristin Devine
    Dance Instructor
  • Photo of Sherrill Ducharme P'20
    Sherrill Ducharme P'20
    Private Lesson Instructor, Voice
  • Photo of Sandrine Erdely-Sayo
    Sandrine Erdely-Sayo
    Private Lesson Instructor, Piano
  • Photo of Patrick Fink
    Patrick Fink
    Private Lesson Instructor, Piano, Jazz Piano
  • Photo of Susan Gaylord
    Susan Gaylord
    Private Lesson Instructor, Voice
  • Photo of Thomas Goeman
    Thomas Goeman
    Music Accompanist; School Organist
  • Photo of Laurie Heimes
    Laurie Heimes
    Private Lesson Instructor, Voice
  • Photo of Kevin  Jones
    Kevin Jones
    Dance Instructor
  • Photo of Larissa Korkina
    Larissa Korkina
    Private Lesson Instructor, Piano
  • Photo of Mikyung Lee
    Mikyung Lee
    Private Lesson Instructor, Cello
  • Photo of Dennis MacMillun
    Dennis MacMillun
    Private Lesson Instructor, Oboe
  • Photo of Ruotao Mao
    Ruotao Mao
    Private Lesson Instructor, Violin, Viola
  • Photo of Katherine McClure
    Katherine McClure
    Private Lesson Instructor, Flute
  • Photo of Erika Mero
    Erika Mero
    Dance Instructor
  • Photo of Michael Newman
    Michael Newman
    Private Lesson Instructor, Guitar
  • Photo of Robert Palmer
    Robert Palmer
    Director of Music
    Birmingham-Southern College - B.A.
    Westminster Choir College - M.M
  • Photo of Roger Prieto
    Roger Prieto
    Director of Jazz; Private Lesson Instructor, Trumpet
  • Photo of Charles Schneider
    Charles Schneider
    Private Lesson Instructor, Voice
  • Photo of Noriko Schneiderman
    Noriko Schneiderman
    Private Lesson Instructor, Piano
  • Photo of Mark Snyder
    Mark Snyder
    Private Lesson Instructor, Oboe, English Horn
  • Photo of Leah Swanger
    Leah Swanger
    Private Lesson Instructor, French Horn
  • Photo of Jonathan Thompson
    Jonathan Thompson
    Private Lesson Instructor, Saxophone, Guitar
  • Photo of Derrick Wilder
    Derrick Wilder
    Director of Dance
    Columbia University - B.A.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.