Course Catalog

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Visual and Performing Arts

Central to Eagle Hill School’s arts curriculum is a belief in the vital importance of the creative imagination. The imagination is where new ideas are generated, where true artistic development and progress become possible. Our teachers support and nurture their students’ creative imaginations by helping these young adults to find means of personal expression that are effective and appropriate for them, and then to make real – in paintings, drawings, sculptures, handcrafted household objects, dramatic and musical performances, musical scores, plays, videos, computer graphics – the power of their own ideas, perceptions and responses. In doing so, EHS’s Creative Arts faculty remain acutely sensitive and responsive to a variety of learning styles.

An extensive body of literature on the therapeutic benefits of artistic activity and more recent research on the effects of music on cognitive functioning, makes it clear that an arts education is essential to the experience of every student as a vehicle for developing particular thinking strategies. Education in the arts provides a young person with a particular learning discipline whose processes, materials, values and outcomes are essentially different from those of other school subjects. Further, working (and playing) in the arts offers an anchoring experience for adolescents, where they may reflect on themselves, their feelings and their experiences in a supportive, structured environment and where they may shape their ideas and feelings into concrete works of art that speak to others through images, sounds, objects and actions.

Training in any one of the creative arts encourages the development of self-awareness, confidence, personal initiative, perseverance and disciplined work habits. It leads to the discovery of insights and understanding as students express and communicate their ideas, feelings and experiences, and it imparts knowledge about and instills respect for the proper use of tools, materials, processes and technologies specific to artistic creation.
  • Acting Shakespeare

    Students will learn techniques for understanding and acting Shakespeare’s works.  Most important is that students find acting Shakespeare fun and enlightening.  Emphasis will be put on learning to turn Shakespearian acting into a physical experience including stage combat, appropriate expressiveness, and clowning.  The student will come away form the class wanting more Shakespeare in his/her life.
  • Advanced Acting Techniques

    In Advanced Acting Techniques, students will build on techniques learned in Basic Acting and Performing Arts Seminar. The course will include Michael Chekhov’s Acting Techniques, the basics of the Stanislavsky Method, and Boleslavsky’s ideas in his book Acting.  Students will gain an understanding of acting through the ages from Greek chorus to Victorian melodrama to modern theatre.  A performance piece will be chosen, and students will be required to take on a character or characters and present a performance to the public. 
  • Advanced Music Theory

    Advanced Music Theory takes up where Music Theory leaves off. The emphasis remains on becoming fluent in musical elements; a more complex study of musical elements including form, notation, and harmony. Students will work together and individually to develop their own ideas into notated original musical compositions, using the necessary musical elements required. Individual piano practice is a component of the course giving students the opportunity to practically apply their advanced musical knowledge to an instrument. In addition, students will advance their aural skills through the practice of dictation and sight reading. The course will use different types of music to analyze pieces’ harmony and structure, and discuss the components of musical style. Recommended for students interested in IB Music. 
  • Advanced Stage Combat

    In Advanced Stage Combat, students will review hand-to-hand and single-sword fighting techniques. Students will also expand their move set list with new and more advanced techniques. Students will learn and present a fight each week.
  • Advanced Technical Theater Internship

    For students who are already familiar with rigging, lighting and sound and have taken Tech Theater before.  The class will focus on the design process of live performance.  We will integrate textbook knowledge and experiences for past shows into new applications.  Students will look at examples of live theater and music and will design lights for at least one Cultural Center event.  Students will also learn how to draw a light plot and will create portfolios to use in college interviews.
  • Arts Management Internship

    Supporting the brilliant performances at the Cultural Center is the business of Arts Management. The performing arts can not happen without the important background work of budgeting, scheduling, coordinating, marketing, and publicizing. Arts Management student interns help to make the Cultural Center and its programs a success by playing a vital role in the Center's operation
  • Basic Acting Techniques

    Basic Acting Techniques is a course for beginners or a refresher class for seasoned actors. This course covers acting techniques.
  • Basic Black and White Photography

    This course is designed to introduce the basic concepts and skills of black and white photography. This class will focus on proper use of the camera, darkroom techniques and creative photography. Students learn about the history of photography through discussion of the work of 19th and early 20th century photographers, contemporary photographic artists, and through demonstration of lens less photography.
  • Block Printing

    This course utilizes the graphics process of block printing, which involves carving away part of a wood or rubber block and printing the remaining raised portion. The history of block printing and a study of block printing artist, M. C. Escher are on-going themes throughout the course.
  • Book Arts

    Book Arts refers to all types of handcrafted books. This course will introduce students to the concept of the book as an art form. It will increase awareness and appreciation of the beauty and variations in artists’ books and develop students’ skills in the handling of the materials and tools necessary in creating a book. A special focus of Book Arts will be one-of-a-kind artists books: a vibrant medium where creativity can be expressed through the considerations of typography, illustration, page design, text, binding structures, and presentation. Creating an artist’s book is a process of continued growth and creativity.
  • Chorale

    The Eagle Hill Chorale class serves to increase the musicianship of individual students while building a musical ensemble. Musicianship is measured by students' understanding of 1) musical terminology and its applications, 2) what constitutes effective and healthy vocal technique, 3) how to achieve appropriate expression in singing and in choral performance, and 4) what is necessary from the individual at any one moment in a performance to improve the sound of the whole ensemble. Building any musical ensemble requires that its members, including the director, treat each other with respect and good humor; that they be mutually supportive, working for the good of the whole rather than of any one individual; and that they be willing to make substantive contributions towards publicizing and presenting the ensemble's concerts.  Chorale students need to be able to sing in tune and to hold their part in a four-voice choral arrangement.
  • CNC Nine Men's Morris Game Board

    In this course, students will learn the basics of the CNC software “Aspire”. Once they gain a solid understanding of the software and how the CNC machine works, each student will design and build a game board to take with them. If time allows, students will also learn how to play the game of Nine Mens Morris.
  • CNC Woodworking

    The CNC Woodworking class takes the student through the process of planning, designing, programming and running projects on a Shopbot CNC machine. The students will learn the process and create original pieces. They will have the opportunity to choose and design their own projects and see them through to a final product. Students are limited only by their imaginations in this class. As they master the Vcarve software, they will see their ideas come to fruition. Time will be divided between the desktop publishing computer room and the woodshop. While in the computer room, students will learn the software and design their projects. The second portion of the class will take place in the woodshop where their projects will be created using the CNC Shopbot machine.
  • Dance Concepts

    Dance Concepts is a studio course that explores the dance activities of improvisation, technique, choreography/composition, and performance. Students will create and perform short and informal dance studies in a variety of styles and will use movement analysis, choreographic concepts, and personal reactions to write about and critique dance performances, both informal and professional. Students will engage in creative/critical conversations that challenge their awareness of arts making, individual creative voice, and the overall process of discovery. Close attention will be paid to an ethical creation of work and the authentic use of voice.
  • Desktop Publishing & Yearbook

    This course utilizes the computer software Adobe Creative Suite to produce the school's yearbook. Targeted skills include using digital cameras, scanners, preparing photographs for publication, page layout and design, and meeting publisher's deadlines.
  • Drawing

    Drawing helps students learn to translate the world around them into 2-D space. This course explores fundamental drawing techniques through observational study and the use of a variety of drawing materials and methods. Individual instruction is given, with periodic group critiques providing the source of shared challenges and inspirations. This class follows a plan of sequential projects building on fundamental drawing principles.
  • Etching

    This course utilizes the graphics process of dry-point etching, involving making deep scratches into a plastic plate, which are then filled with ink. The print is created by placing the inked plate between a press and wet paper and applying substantial pressure. The history of etching, a study of Rembrandt, and an understanding of the importance of etching as it is used today to print money on-going themes throughout the course.
  • Film as Art

    Film as Art explores American and foreign films as an art form. The objective is to develop a keen, critical appreciation of films, from all over the world, as art. The method is to work with established criteria for judging and appreciating the film medium. Students view films and read the reviews of each film. Then each student writes his or her own review based on the established criteria.
  • Gallery Internship

    The spaces Gallery interns and the gallery curator are a team that meets for hands-on planning and work sessions during which they learn a variety of professional art gallery practices including how to envision show themes and select artists; design and write exhibition brochures, announcements, and posters; promote exhibitions within the campus and local communities; measure and plan the use of exhibition spaces and install works of art; organize opening receptions; and act as docents introducing exhibits to visitors. The spaces gallery team also visits other galleries to observe styles, interview gallery directors and personnel, and attend show openings.
  • Hand Built Pottery

    This course emphasizes the expressive potential of pinch, coil, and slab construction pottery. Students are assigned weekly projects based on the instructor's demonstrations. Projects range from creating functional to sculptural forms, introducing students to methods of pottery making, decorating, and techniques and tools for developing the aesthetics of form and function in pottery making.
  • Improvisation

    This course builds students' confidence and improvisational skills. They practice acting in improvisational situations, using their voices, creating songs, and using props. In addition, students learn to act with partners on the stage and to understand the methods of improvisational performance.
  • Instrumental Ensemble

    This course is a mixed-level instrumental ensemble in which students continue to improve their musicianship skills. Students must know how to play and own their instruments (other than piano). By playing classical, jazz, and popular music, students learn the skills necessary for collaborating as members of an ensemble. Classes focus on the musical performance of the group.
  • Introduction to Technical Theater

    The Introduction to Technical Theater class will work with students who have an interest in exploring the world of backstage work. They must demonstrate attention to detail, teamwork, organizational skills, responsibility, initiative, and a can-do attitude. They will work with faculty members designing and implementing lighting, sound, rigging, and set construction, and running the technical functions for each concert and production—in addition to less glamorous but equally important labor such as setting up risers and other furniture, and helping to keep equipment organized and well-maintained. This introductory class will be an opportunity to see if the Technical Theater Intern program is a good fit for the student.
  • Jam Band

    The Jam Band course provides students with an understanding and appreciation of collective creative expression in music through playing and singing, both in class and in live performances.  Students develop creative skills, performance techniques, and social skills through working with their instruments, different musical forms, specific songs, and the benefits and challenges of musical group dynamics.  The culmination of the course is an all-day recording session at a professional studio, where the class essentially creates its own CD.
  • Jewelry Making

    The Jewelry Making class is offered for beginners to experts. This class offers mini-lessons in basic knot tying and simple bead creations. Materials such as hemp, stretchy string, memory wire, gimp and embroidery thread are used to create bracelets, necklaces, key chains and lanyards. The possibilities are endless in this class. Creativity and “thinking outside the box” are encouraged. Students plan, organize and sequentially follow through with independent projects designing jewelry to their own tastes. Each student will create numerous pieces depending on the complexity of the project they choose. Students with prior jewelry making knowledge have the freedom to teach others their skills or work independently to complete their designs. If you have an interest in jewelry making or have already been actively making your own jewelry, this class is for you.
  • Making the Mobius: Community CNC Sculpture

    In Making the Mobius, students will work on a portion of a STEM building sculpture which will be located in the math wing breakout space. Students will help prepare and run the CNC machine to make hundreds of pieces which will be finished in the shop and then assembled in place over the course of a school year. This is a one-term class.
  • Making with Lasers

    Students in this course will become familiar with laser cutters and their different applications. The course begins with work in Corel Draw to create designs, models and prototypes. Students will then learn how to operate the makerspace laser. Challenge projects in design, cutting and assembly will be assigned. A final project will be determined and completed.
  • Making with Metal

    In this course students will be introduced into different areas of working with metal. Whether it is to solve a problem or to create a piece of art, metal can be used in many different ways. We will explore melting steel and casting it into new parts, welding and the different types and applications, sheet metal and assorted types of steel stock. Students will start with instruction, be assigned a number of challenges, then decide on a final project.
  • Mixed Art Media

    The Mixed Media course encourages creative expression that incorporates multiple materials within two-dimensional artwork. Openness to experimentation is essential. Through freely manipulating traditional materials such as pencil, ink, paint, chalk, and crayons with non-traditional materials such as adhesives, foils, and transfers, students develop a flexible approach to the problem of visually expressing and presenting their creative thoughts.
  • Music Appreciation

    Music Appreciation is open to all levels of students who enjoy listening to and discussing music. Students will bring their own musical interests to class discussions through presentations on songs and artists while learning about the diverse musical interests of their peers. Through readings and class discussion students will be introduced to a variety of musical styles and cultures. Tailored to the individual group, possible topics explored in Music Appreciation include song writing, drums of the world, and Western music history and important composers. 
  • Music Theory

    Music Theory is open to any student who is interested in music to develop a basic understanding and knowledge of the theory behind why music works, while gaining basic keyboard and sight-reading skills. This course helps students build a foundation in basic musical elements as they discover how pitch, rhythm, harmony, and structure work together to create original music. Students will study existing music to understand compositional rules and techniques, while using their knowledge to analyze the form, key, and rhythmic features as well. This course provides essential groundwork for students interested in music performance and composition, as well as a good introduction to those new to music study. Possible topics include learning the Circle of Fifths, finding the right chords for a melody, figuring out rhythmic patterns, and sight-reading at the keyboard. A Prerequisite for Advanced Music Theory and recommended for those interested in IB Music. 
  • One Act Competition

    An advanced acting course for students who want to be involved in dramatic competitions with other schools. Students would have to audition or be screened by me to take part in the class. The commitment would mean that students would agree to allthat is required by the Massachusetts High School Drama Guild including attending technical rehearsals and Performances as scheduled by the Guild. In addition, they would make a commitment to attend all rehearsals called by the director. Students would receive state recognition for their efforts as well as having the experience of performing in a competitive venue.
  • Orchestral Ensemble & Pit Band

    This course is a mixed-level instrumental ensemble in which students continue to improve their musicianship skills. Students must know how to play and own their instruments. By playing classical, jazz, and popular music, students will learn the skills necessary for collaborating as members of an ensemble. The greatest benefit of the course is the opportunity to be involved with the annual musical production in the pit band/orchestra.
  • Outdoor Theater

    In Outdoor Theater, students will learn the history of theater in an outdoor setting. They will explore the humble beginnings of theater starting with Neanderthal storytelling traditions. Other units of study include Greek, Roman, Medieval, and Shakespearean theater. The Class will conclude with an outdoor performance from the class utilizing the Alsop Amphitheater.
  • Painting

    This introduction course emphasizes developing basic techniques and expressive abilities using acrylic and water-color paints on canvas and paper surfaces. Paintings will be inspired by students' photographs, master works, studio arrangements, and painting on location, as students explore and refine beginning painting techniques.
  • Photoshop

    This course utilizes the computer graphics program, Adobe Photoshop CS3. Targeted skills include scanning, digital photography, manipulation of photographs, collages and the basics of digital darkroom techniques.
  • Pin Hole Photography

    Pinhole cameras belong to a magical world of slowness, simplicity and surprise, where creativity, imagination and the unexpected replace fast-paced, expensive, complex technologies. Pinhole cameras have no lenses, shutters or viewfinders. Using paint-can cameras, students work in a variety of settings indoors and outside.
  • Preparing for the Part

    This is an advanced acting course designed specifically for students who wish to pursue an acting career. The course covers all the aspects of performance preparation.
  • Print Making

    This course utilizes the graphics processes of dry-point etching and block printing to create art prints. Dry point etching involves making deep scratches into a plastic plate, which are then filled with ink. The print is created by placing the inked plate between a press and wet paper and applying substantial pressure. Block printing involves carving away part of a wood or rubber block and printing the remaining raised portion. The history of both of these printing processes and studies of relevant artists such as Rembrandt and M. C. Escher are on-going themes throughout the course.
  • Public Speaking

    A fun, practical course to improve your ability to communicate with others and become an effective student and leader.
  • Puzzle-ology

    Students will try out a wide range of puzzles (Crossword, Sudoku, Lumosity puzzles, etc.) that exercise diverse human abilities (verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, planning, etc.). They will learn to write reviews of puzzles. They will design at least one new puzzle of a type of their choosing, create a quick prototype of it, and playtest it with focus groups. After passing the playtest process, they will then construct a polished version of the puzzle using resources from graphic design.
  • Puzzle-ology Studio

    Students will try out a wide range of puzzles and games (Crossword, Sudoku, etc.) that exercise diverse human abilities (verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, planning, etc.). They will learn to write reviews of puzzles. They will design at least one new puzzle of a type of their choosing, create a quick prototype of it, and playtest it with focus groups. After passing the playtest process, they will then construct a polished version of the puzzle. During the prototyping and polished version stages, students may use design software and making tools of the maker space to print out parts for their game/puzzle.
  • Screen Printing for Commercial Graphics

    This course utilizes the graphics process of screen printing, focusing on projects such as t-shirts, stickers and posters found in the commercial graphics field. In screen-printing, the principle involved is forcing ink through a stenciled screen. Procedures for making screens will include both hand-cut and photographic methods.
  • Screen Printing Studio

    The focus of the Screen Printing Studio course is on the expression of creativity in original work, rather than on technique. Students will apply painting and layering skills previously learned in the Commercial Graphics and Warhol screen printing classes. Original artwork and ideas will first be explored using the computer program Adobe Photoshop utilizing the concept of a repeated “graphic” or image throughout the artwork.
  • Screen Printing: Warhols

    This course utilizes the graphics process of screen printing. In screen-printing, the principle involved is forcing ink through a stenciled screen which has been created utilizing a photographic process. Basic art skills such as drawing, painting and color theory are targeted. Students create a 'self-portrait' in the style and manner of 60's pop artist, Andy Warhol who is considered to be the first artist to combine the areas of fine-arts and graphics.
  • Set Building and Design

    This course exposes students to the technical and creative aspects of set designing and building. Students design and build sets to be used in productions at Eagle Hill School. Using hand drawings and theater software, students create interactive 3-D computer models of theater or performance spaces where the systems usually associated with performance (lights, sound, fly bars, revolves, and trucks) are used. Basic carpentry and electrical skills are learned while building sets, as well as painting and color coordination for dramatic effect. In addition, students learn about 'dressing the set' for performances.
  • Stage Combat

    In Stage Combat, students learn about stage combat and how to fight safely on stage. The two areas they will be working on are hand-to-hand combat and single-sword combat. Hand-to-hand combat entails falling, slaps, grabs, chokes, pushes, tackles, punches, and kicks. Single-sword combat is sword fighting with one sword. Students will learn the parts of a sword and terms of the trade.  The class will train in the fighting techniques and will perform in front of an audience.
  • Studio Art & Portfolio Preparation

    This class is designed for students who want to continue their artistic efforts at a more advanced level and/or intend to participate in post-high school graduation education at an art school, college, or university. Students work in all areas of art with particular emphasis on drawing, painting, and two-dimensional design. Through a variety of projects students are encouraged to look at and respond to themselves in terms of the aesthetic world around them. Students experience many opportunities to explore varied media, art styles, and subjects. To be successful in this class, students are required to complete homework on a weekly basis and keep a thorough personal sketchbook of observation sketches.
  • Technical Theater Internship

    Students manage and run the state-of-the-art theatrical lighting, sound, and rigging systems at the Cultural Center for our own plays, concerts and other functions and for visiting productions. Interns must be interested in technical theater and ready to be a responsible, reliable, devoted member of a team. Student interns participate in intensive training. Then, they take on responsibilities such as consulting with performing artists about their technical needs, designing and implementing lighting, sound, rigging, and set, and running the technical functions for each concert and production. Ongoing professional development helps interns hone their practice of technical arts. Interns work at scheduled times but must also be available as-needed. They earn academic credit, but more importantly, they benefit from the exciting experience, becoming expert in theatrical systems, collaborating with performing artists, and building unusually substantive resumes.
  • The Audition

    This is a course designed for students to prepare for auditions in the performance arts.
  • Woodworking

    This course acquaints the students with the essential principles of woodworking. Topics include wood characteristics, use of hand tools, portable power tools, and basic machinery. Emphasis is placed on proper technique, safety, and policies for the woodshop. Students complete a project designed to develop primary woodworking skills.
  • Woodworking: Adirondack Chairs

    In this course students will learn basic woodworking techniques, power/hand tool use and safety while making an Adirondack chair.  The course will cover measurement skills, wood identification, and how to read a plan.  Once they gain a good understanding of the basic skills each student will begin working on their own pair of chairs.  The course will continue through the assembly and finishing process until the student has a finished product to take home.
  • Woodworking: Box Making

    In this course students learn basic woodworking techniques, power/hand tool use and safety while making a small box project. The project will start with a student generated design idea, developed cooperatively with the teacher. As the design evolves, the student will learn about design aspects as well as how various woodworking techniques play an important role in the project’s development. Each student will complete a small box of their own design before the term’s completion.


  • Photo of Michael Richard
    Michael Richard
    Teacher/Department Chair
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  • Photo of Molly Archambault
    Molly Archambault
    Marketing and Box Office Manager
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  • Photo of Pat Bock
    Pat Bock
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  • Photo of William Gelinas
    William Gelinas
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  • Photo of Isabella Gentleman
    Isabella Gentleman
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  • Photo of Carl Mercier
    Carl Mercier
    Director of Cultural Center
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  • Photo of Jeffrey Myra
    Jeffrey Myra
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P.O. Box 116
242 Old Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037
Phone: 413.477.6000
Fax: 413.477.6837

Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.