Fine and Performing Arts Major
The Department of Fine and Performing Arts offers a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts. The program provides students with a general introduction to the arts through a set of foundation courses. Students choose concentrations in music and or theatre. Options to minor in music, music production or theatre, allow students to design a program uniquely tailored to their own interests and future goals. Located in one of the country’s premier arts and cultural meccas MCLA performing arts students leverage a dynamic range of coursework and practical application with unparalleled access to the Berkshire’s world-class performing arts institutions to become well-rounded graduates equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to transition to careers in the theatre or music professions.
Students graduating with a major in Performing Arts will be able to:
- Demonstrate a broad-based understanding of the studio and historical/theoretical aspects of the performing arts;
- Demonstrate expertise in a chosen concentration of Music or Theatre;
- Demonstrate practical experience in public performance or exhibition in the arts;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the current arts ecology and their place in it.
Department Policy Regarding Double Majors/Concentrations/Minor Programs
Students may not minor in the same discipline as their major or concentration, but they may minor outside their concentration area. For example: PA/Music concentration majors may not also minor in Music, but could minor in Theatre, Arts Management, Music Production or other disciplines.
|AMGT 130||Introduction to Arts Management||3|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Private Lessons 1|
|Private Lessons 1|
|Private Lessons 1|
|Drawing for Theatre|
|MUSI 251||Introduction to Music||3|
|or MUSI 253||World Music|
|THEA 110||Introduction to Stagecrafts||3|
|or THEA 120||Introduction to Performance|
|THEA 200||Introduction to Theatre||3|
|FPA 501||Senior Thesis||3|
Each course is one credit; total three credits required.
Introduces students to the basics of ballet and modern dance technique, as well as offer an overview of the history of those genres.
Builds upon the basics of ballet and modern dance technique covered in Dance 100 Introduction to Dance as well as explores some of the important teachers, dancers, choreographers and works of those two genres.
Allows students to create an individual project in dance, research, production, choreography, education, or topics in dance management that serve to deepen knowledge, experience in and exposure to dance. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits.
Students will explore different techniques, periods and contexts of dance. Varies by topic. May include ballet, jazz, hip hop, African, Irish, folk, etc.
Fine & Performing Arts
Open to juniors and seniors who wish to read in a specific area or pursue a project or topic in depth under the direction of a faculty member. Frequent conferences with the advisor are required.
Directed study representing a student's ability and commitment to serious academic research. Seniors present a written thesis exploring a topic of their choosing in depth. Topics must explore how the arts are interdisciplinary, be presented in the context of their time, and take into account related artistic influences and social values.
An opportunity to work in an arts-related job. Work situations might include: a position in a theatre company; collections management or educational outreach employment in a museum; assisting in the management of a community music ensemble or a school music program; work with development, publicity, programming, and publication for an arts council, gallery, or other arts business. Only 3 credits can be applied to Performing Arts major requirements.
Develops various ear training skills, including sight singing, melodic and rhythmic dictation, and an introduction to harmonic dictation. These skills will be developed in conjunction with an introduction to music theory: simple and compound meter, scales, intervals, and chords. Includes Piano Lab.
Introduces basic concepts of recording, mixing and editing music on a macbook. Course material includes microphone placement, recording, mixing and basic composition.
Provides a general historical survey of music and introduces basic music theory. The objective of the course is to help students become conversant in the styles and genres of music in the history of western civilization. Popular music styles are discussed in their historical context as well as for their influences on contemporary culture.
Classroom piano instruction for students with little or no musical background or experience. Emphasis on basic piano technique and elementary music theory.
Compares world music and the study of music in the context of culture. Introduces students to the field of ethnomusicology and explores the folk and classical music of Asia, the Balkans, the Americans, and the wealth of ethnic culture in the North Adams area.
Provides students with a proficiency of basic guitar techniques through study and performance of appropriate repertoire. Assumes no musical background or experience. Guitars provided on loan.
Studying privately with a professional musician, students will take 10, one-hour instrumental or voice lessons. Through this study they will advance their technique as well as improve their musicianship. Students will study a selection of exercises and repertoire with the studio instructor and will prepare at least one piece for a final evaluation or performance. Course may be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. Two sections may be taken concurrently on different instruments. Additional fee required.
Introduces musical notations and modes of analysis in a sequential format beginning with basic staff and note symbols, scale and chord structure, major and minor tonality, etc., and continuing through key signatures, chord function, seventh chords, inversions and harmonic analysis and ear training. Mastery of skills is required before admission to the next level (B or better).
Studies in depth a specific aspect of music performance. Designed to provide advanced work in analysis, interpretation and research. Offerings may include, but are not limited to: Building a Vocal Portfolio, Broadway, Gershwin, Flute Choir, Performing Mozart.
Perform with one or more of the following: The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Community Band; The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Jazz Band; Chamber Ensembles. These groups perform music from standard and contemporary literature and are intended for experienced instrumentalists.
Studies the composition, performance, reception and criticism of music over a specified time period. A historical study of music concerned with a composer's life and works, performance practice, developments of styles and genres, and place of music in society. Offerings may include but are not limited to genre history, period history, composers or specific works.
Develops keyboard skills. Attention given to chording, sight reading, accompanying, improvising, performance practice and the development of a repertoire.
Develops intermediate-level performance skills.
Perform with one or both of the following: The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Concert Choir; The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Chamber Choir; repertoire includes choral literature from all periods.
Studying privately with a professional musician, students will take 10, one-hour instrumental or voice lessons. Through this study they will advance their technique, as well as improve their musicianship. Students will study a selection of exercises and repertoire with the instructor and will prepare at least two pieces for a final evaluation or performance. Course may be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. Two sections may be taken concurrently on different instruments. Additional fees required.
Continues materials presented in MUSI 259. Advanced work in harmonic analysis, secondary dominants, higher tertian chords, dictation and solfeg. Opportunities to improve conducting, performance, and composition skills. Further analysis of form, orchestration, arranging, and ear training.
Introduces students to compositional techniques and formal components of music composition using music composition software. Students will write several pieces of music and practice exercises to demonstrate the compositional principles under study. The course will include lecture and studio settings.
Continues MUSI 175. This course investigates advanced techniques of recording and live-sounding mixing on hardware and software. Techniques include microphone placement, speaker and monitor mixing, cabling and sound board principles. Students will be prepared for internships, graduate school and employment.
Studies the technique of orchestration. Instruments of the orchestra, instrumental colors, preparing the score, adapting music for different mediums. Students will create one large project (arrangement for band or orchestra).
An in-depth study of 18th century counterpoint with an historical approach. Students will write an invention, a trio-sonata and a fugue.
Provides advanced work in analysis and interpretation and research. Offerings: Improvisation, Composition; Conducting; History of Musical Theatre, Recording.
Studying privately with a professional musician, students will take 10 one-hour, instrumental-voice lessons. Through this study they will advance their technique and improve their musicianship. Students will study a selection of exercises and repertoire with the instructor and will prepare at least two advanced pieces for a final evaluation or recital performance. Course may be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. Additional fee required.
Examines traditional techniques of musical form and their applications in historical and contemporary styles.
Continues MUSI 375. This course will examine the techniques and procedures of composing and recording music for specific uses with film. Students will create footage or explore outside sourced film and compose and/or mix music to be connected with aforementioned film. Students will explore the creative as well as the technical aspects of film music recording.
Provides a foundation in the practice of technical theatre, preparation for work in scenery, lighting, and costumes. Class projects are designed to reinforce specific technical skills discussed and demonstrated in class. Additionally, the required lab time outside of class provides hands-on experience.
Introduces the fundamentals of stage performance. Improvisation, relaxation, and character exercises build awareness of skills necessary for successful live performance. Presents basic acting vocabulary/theory. Develops confidence performing in front of others. Includes readings, plays in context, viewing of live theatre, and short writing assignments. Fosters more informed observers of performance experience.
Surveys historical development of world theatre emphasizing western dramatic tradition. Introduces a broad range of theatrical literature and theory within its historical context. Includes class discussions and writing assignments, as well as viewing of live theatre, panel discussions, and critical response sessions.
Familiarizes students with the basic materials and techniques of graphic presentation in scenic, costume, and lighting design for the theatre. Students will be introduced to the basic vocabulary of drawing, rendering and drafting techniques used as communication tools for theatre design and production. Focuses on technical drafting skills, perspective, and drawing the figure.
Sets foundation for the integrated voice, movement and acting training sequence. Draws from diverse sources to develop the actor's instrument and its potential for stage performance. Beginning with non-verbal exploration and movement study, students progress to character exercises with text. Designed to increase body awareness, expand flexibility and control, reinforce acting vocabulary and theory, and promote understanding of the demands of creating dynamic characters for stage performance.
Provides the student with the basic knowledge of stage construction. Familiarizes students with the methods, materials, equipment, concepts and processes involved in the construction of scenery for the theatre. The emphasis of this course will be on the physical process that results in the production of scenery through construction techniques. Hands-on experience will be gained by completing lab hours in the scene shop; assisting in the construction and installation of theatre program season.
Provides basic knowledge of costume construction. Familiarizes students with the methods, materials, equipment, concepts and processes involved in the construction of costumes for theatre production. Emphasis of this course will be on the physical process that results in the production of costumes through construction techniques. Hands-on experience will be gained by completing lab hours in the costume shop; assisting in the construction and installation of theatre program season.
Explores the creative process and the principles and tools of design as they apply to theatrical production. Emphasis will be on script analysis, graphic techniques, and research for and of design. Introduces the student to the vocabulary, fundamental elements and principles of design and how they apply to the theatre experience of scenery, costume and lighting design to include discussion, appreciation and evaluation of theatrical design.
Continues the integrated voice, movement and acting training sequence from Beginning Acting emphasizing character building. Students explore the acting instrument in greater depth. Movement study connects the voice to the body and then progresses to play analysis from the actor's point of view, followed by more formal text work. The goal of the course is to gain greater flexibility and control over the instrument and expand understanding of the demands of creating dynamic characters for stage performance.
Introduces the basic principles, techniques and challenges of analyzing plays for theatrical production. Focuses on the process of reading and analyzing plays while developing basic vocabulary of dramatic styles. Develops basic knowledge of principles of dramatic structure through readings from a diverse range of theatre texts from the western canon. Goal is to discover what the playwright has dramatized and how best to realize it on stage clearly, imaginatively and powerfully.
Builds on the foundational skills learned in Introduction to Stage Crafts. Familiarizes students with methods, materials, equipment, concepts and processes resulting in the creation of some aspect of theatre production. Hands-on experience will be gained by completing lab hours in a production shop; assisting in creation of Theatre Program productions. Rotating topics may include: Stage Electrics, Stage Properties, Introduction to Sound. Student may repeat enrollment for credit, but may not repeat topics.
Introduces students to basic makeup vocabulary, materials and techniques. Students will work toward a proficiency in the principles and skills of makeup application including basic corrective/straight makeup, old age, and character makeup in order to communicate aspects of a character to an audience certain information.
Studies the process of designing for theatre through play analysis, research, color theory, composition, and the examination of design elements and principles for stage. Design concepts are demonstrated through rendering techniques, drafting or modeling to communicate ideas, cultivating a design aesthetic. Rotating topics may include: Costume Design, Scene Design, Lighting Design and Sound Design. Students may repeat enrollment for credit, but may not repeat topics.
Builds on the foundational skills and concepts acquired from the integrated voice, movement and acting sequence. Students will choose further study to inform their individual development as actors. Topics are offered on a rotating basis and focus on a specialized aspect of acting technique while incorporating advanced research and dramatic analysis. Topics include Shakespeare, Musical Theatre, Realism/Naturalism, and Experimental/Alternative. Students may repeat enrollment for credit, but not topics.
Develops practical studio in theatrical collaboration designed for both performance and production students. Develops skills in collaboration across artistic disciplines, offering effective strategies for communication as students create and perform short projects. Offers direct, real-world experience in theatrical collaboration and leadership, allowing the individual to test skills, talents and creative ideas in an environment conducive to both individual and collective artistic growth.
Provides practical experience on performance and production related activities for Theatre Program productions during semester. Students may repeat this course for credit.
Studies in depth a specific aspect of theatre production. Designed to provide advanced experience in materials and techniques used in theatre. Topics are offered on a rotating basis and focus on a specialized aspect of production technique. Topics may include: Historical Patterning, Computer-Aided Drafting, Advanced Lighting Technology, Stage Management. Students may repeat enrollment for credit but may not repeat topics.
Introduces the specific techniques and skills necessary to audition for the professional stage with confidence and artistic honesty. This course will focus on the development of audition material from a wide range of styles and genres as well as mastery of cold reading techniques, and practical preparation for the professional world and the business of acting. For the student contemplating a professional theatre career.
Traces the evolution of Western theatre in its social/political context from ancient Greece through the Renaissance. Theatre architecture, styles of staging, and works of dramatic literature are studied in relation to the social and intellectual history of each major era.
Traces the evolution of Western theatre in its social/political context from the 18th century to the Post-Modern Period. Theatre architecture, styles of staging, and works of dramatic literature will be studied in relation to the social and intellectual history of each major era or artist style.
Explores the fundamentals of direction for the stage, including analysis, composition and staging. Begins with play analysis from a director's point of view, followed by exploration of stage composition, then progresses to staging and working with actors. The various exercises culminate in the direction of a short play for public performance. The goal is to increase understanding of the many roles and responsibilities required of the theatre director as artist and collaborator.
Studies in depth a specific aspect of theatre performance. Provides advanced work in analysis, interpretation and research. Primarily for majors in their junior or senior year. Includes topics such as: Accents and Dialects for the Stage, Advanced Directing, Clowning and Comedian, Collaborative Theatre Ensemble, Contact Improvisation, Hip Hop Theatre, Improvisation, Mask Performance, Melodrama, Period Dance for Stage, Physical Comedy, Puppetry, Spoken Word, and Stage Combat.