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.
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.