Academics
Departments and Curriculum

Performing Arts

At Holderness, we believe that the arts are not a frill, but an essential means of developing creativity, imaginations, resourcefulness, teamwork, and self-discipline. The theater department mounts full–scale fall and spring productions in addition to regular coursework, helping students build skills of communication, analysis, problem–solving, and organization while working toward a common goal. Our music program offers opportunities for budding musicians in the Jazz Band as well as with String Ensembles. Music Composition and Theory and Music History courses are available as part of the curriculum. A songwriting afternoon activity also provides students the chance to write and record their own compositions.

The Carpenter Arts Center—a spacious and sunny renovation of the original Holderness School gymnasium—features soundproof rehearsal rooms and a recording studio. The Hagerman Center—which features a 325–seat auditorium—hosts student and professional performances as well as weekly all–school assemblies.
  • Ninth Grade Seminar in Art

    1. Ninth Grade Seminart uses creative expression as a tool for authenticating concepts, personalizing abstractions, and changing attitudes by synthesizing the emotional and intellectual responses to any aspect of our lives.
    2. Through teamwork and problem solving, this course is designed to provide students with a familiarity of how to use creative expression through design thinking in a variety of settings with an understanding of the role of personal creative expression.
    3. It is a goal of the course to provide increased confidence in students’ artistic, imaginative and creative abilities.

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    No textbook required.
  • A Capella (Fall)

    A Capella will be working on a variety of pieces written for mixed voice group singing, with the opportunity for solo and group work. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to the extensive world of a Capella. They will perform a concert each semester, with many other performance opportunities including chapel, assembly, and competing at the International Competition of High School Acapella (ICHSA.) The course will especially appeal to students who are interested in furthering their knowledge and abilities in singing and general musical knowledge.

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    No textbook required.
  • A Capella (Spring)

    A Capella will be working on a variety of pieces written for mixed voice group singing, with the opportunity for solo and group work. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to the extensive world of a Capella. They will perform a concert each semester, with many other performance opportunities including chapel, assembly, and competing at the International Competition of High School Acapella (ICHSA.) The course will especially appeal to students who are interested in furthering their knowledge and abilities in singing and general musical knowledge.

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    No textbook required.
  • Band Fall

    1. Students will play a variety of genres of music based on the abilities and instruments provided in the group as it varies year to year. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to a breadth of music, work on playing as an ensemble, solo/improvisation work, basic music comprehension and putting on a concert. The ensemble performs throughout the year at many school events and will have access to use of the ProTool’s recording studio.
    2. Prior individual instruction is required for enrollment in the course; This instruction does not need to have been taken at Holderness.
    3. This course is offered on a semester basis and is graded pass/fail.

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    No textbook required.
  • Band Spring

    1. Students will play a variety of genres of music based on the abilities and instruments provided in the group as it varies year to year. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to a breadth of music, work on playing as an ensemble, solo/improvisation work, basic music comprehension and putting on a concert. The ensemble performs throughout the year at many school events and will have access to use of the ProTool’s recording studio.
    2. Prior individual instruction is required for enrollment in the course; This instruction does not need to have been taken at Holderness.
    3. This course is offered on a semester basis and is graded pass/fail.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • Introduction to Music Theory

    1. This introductory music course will focus on basic music reading, notation comprehension and rudimentary keyboard skills. The student does not need to be able to read music, as they will learn all the basic building blocks for music: note names and values, key signatures, intervals, scales and basic chord progressions. This work will be mirrored on the keyboard.

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    No textbook required.
  • Digital Recording

    Description coming soon.

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    Textbooks will be assigned in class.
  • American Music History: From Ragtime to Hiphop

    This semester's music history course will be James Scott to Travis Scott (from Ragtime music to Hip-Hop/Trap music and everything in between.) This class will contain ragtime, blues, gospel, jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, funk, rap, and hip-hop. There are three main objectives: gaining rudimentary knowledge of the musical elements particular to each style; recognizing the most significant creators and practitioners of each style; and examining the social, economic, historical context which the music both reflects and influences. 
    Textbook
    Textbooks will be assigned in class.
  • Music Performance and Production

    This semester course will meet two days a week and provide advanced credit for the higher level of music achievement within a curriculum structure and is designed to provide students with the opportunity for a more rigorous curriculum in the music program for college readiness. With the understanding that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” students will focus on creating parts in an arrangement that make the band sound better rather than focusing on individual skills. Listening to existing recordings and analyzing each individual part and how it fits into the whole will be a focus.  The class will work up material in different genres: Jazz, Funk, Folk, Americana, R&B, Pop, Classical and also write original material both individually and collaboratively. Developing their arranging skills they will re-work familiar songs into entirely different arrangements through alteration of meter, genre, tempo, etc. Performance opportunities for the school community as well as possible outside of the school competitions will be used as a metric for measuring their growth as musicians.  Students will also participate in field trips related to experiencing musical performances and recording opportunities. The curriculum will include music theory, composition, digital recording and performance practices. This course will be offered every two years depending on student participation.
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      *Please note, we may add another text this summer.
    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • Intro to Acting

    1. This course will cover the foundations of acting; emotions, movement, voice, and creating characters.  Through exercises and activities, students will develop the basic skills necessary to create roles. Students will learn about the history of acting, film versus stage performance, techniques for memorization, and utilizing the actor’s tools – voice and body.
    2. The goal of this course is for students to gain basic skills in acting, analyzing, improvisation, visualization, breathing, and relaxation as well as a working vocabulary of theatre terms.  This course also serves as an excellent opportunity for students to sharpen their public speaking skills.
    3. Handouts as well as scenes and monologues excerpted from plays.

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    No textbook required.
  • Acting and Scene Study

    1. This semester-long course is designed to give students the opportunity to create advanced work in the areas of acting, directing, playwriting, and video production. Student will acquire and develop the basic skills of acting while increasing their comfort level with performing on stage.
    2. Through monologues, scenes, and exercises, students will examine the techniques an actor uses to develop a character. Exercises include movement, sense memory, personalization, objective, beat work, and beginning text analysis. In this course, there will also be opportunities to analyze, critique, and construct meanings from informal and formal theater, video, and film.
    3. This course is open to 11th grade and 12th grade students only.

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    No textbook required.
  • Improv for Acting

    This Improv for Acting class is geared towards any student who wants to develop their improv, acting and interpersonal skills through teaching the craft of improvisational acting. Student actors will say, “I’m not good at improv” or “I’m not funny enough for improv”. In this class, you will gather the tools for your improv and acting toolbox that will change that mindset. Many students believe they have the ability to make things up and in this course, you will learn the improv skills that will move you beyond making things up. It will help you use those skills to develop and sustain believable characters that will carry scenes and sketches. As an actor, improv teaches you the immediacy of the moment. It also helps you to dig deeper into character exploration that is not found within the script. It increases your confidence and reduces your self-judgment.

    Learning Outcomes and Skill Acquisition:
    • Develops your voice as an actor
    • Build characters
    • Minimizes your inner-critic
    • Allows you to adopt a more yes, AND attitude
    • Improves your ability to think on your feet
    • Develops your listening skills on stage
    • Increases your level of connection to others
    • Gets you out of your head

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    No textbook required.
  • Creative Movement

    1. This performance-based course is designed to help each student become a versatile, adaptable and creative dancer, choreographer and communicator.  Thecourse begins with a foundation of basic dance steps necessary to put together simple combinations to create choreography for different genres of music.  This provides students with technique and skills at levels appropriate to the experience they bring with them.  Students are engaged with four core elements of dance: basic dance steps, combinations, theories and contexts, and projects and performance. These elements are taught through daily class warm ups, exercises and practice, and in individual and group work.  Students will dance during every class.  
    2. The goal of this course if for students to develop their individual movement language with an emphasis on fusing physical practices and creative collaboration while building a dance vocabulary.
    3. Juniors & Seniors only.

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    No textbook required.
  • Advanced English Seminar: Shakespeare Page to Stage

    In this team taught class, students will work toward an understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays through performance, their own and others’. Students will learn the basics of film study and analyze the various ways actors and directors have approached Shakespeare. Students will also enhance their understanding of language, character and story through their own performance. Students do not need to have a strong understanding of Shakespeare to enjoy the class; they should, however, be willing to take creative risks and be a member of a supportive community.

    Order Your Textbook(s)

    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.

View Our Curriculum

Faculty

  • Photo of Monique Devine-Robichaud
    Monique Devine-Robichaud
    Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair
    (603) 779-5352
    CW Post College of Long Island University - BS
    Westlake High School, Thornwood, NY
    Goddard College (VT) - MFA-IA
    Bio
  • Photo of Alec Sisco
    Alec Sisco
    Music Director
    (603) 779-5358
    The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam - BFA Music Education
    Bio
  • Photo of Jared Steer
    Jared Steer
    Performing Arts Faculty
    (603) 779-5324
    Bio
Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257