Art studio classes are a staple of the Classical Academy curriculum. Working in different mediums (watercolors, pastels, colored pencils, charcoal, collage, clay), students are introduced to a variety of genres and styles (e.g., landscape, portrait, still life) and study the rudiments of proportion, anatomy, perspective, light and shadow, and color theory. Lessons alternate between learning to copy the works of great masters and using real life human and animal models, objects, and landscapes. It is not unusual to see our students outdoors or in the school hallways, working on a particular portrait or still life composition. Taking advantage of the excellent resources offered by our city, we go on regular field trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation.
Our Art History classes enrich and connect our Art Studio and History curricula. In Art History, students learn about different epochs through the lens of culture and aesthetics. The course introduces children to biographies of the great masters as well as to what life was like during specific periods when art flourished (e.g., in 5th century Greece; 15th century Florence; 18th century England, and the like). Older grades examine, discuss, and write essays on how the ideals of beauty and truth differed from age to age and what role religion played in art throughout the centuries.
Music Theory, Performance & Violin Ensemble
We believe that serious study of classical music is vital for a young mind’s intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic growth. Grades K-3 take group music classes, which include the study of music theory and participation in violin ensemble; they also provide an opportunity for students to perform in front of their peers the piano pieces which they are studying in their individual piano lessons twice a week. In the early grades, children master simple rhythms (quarter and half notes), learn the contrast between two- and three-beat meters, practice singing on pitch, and write musical dictations of increasing complexity. In subsequent grades, students continue building their music skills as they sing, solo and in chorus, to piano, violin, and guitar accompaniment and train in solfeggio and dictation. Pieces analyzed, sung, and played range across the Medieval, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, and emphasis is laid on the history of Western music and on familiarity with its different genres.
Individual Music Lessons
In addition to group music lessons, students in grades K-3 take weekly individual piano lessons. The skills mastered in the course of these individual sessions are consistently applied during the group exercises. Every student progresses at his or her own individual pace building a piano repertoire. Students in grades 4-8 have the option of continuing with piano lessons assuming that they have demonstrated consistent progress and commitment to regular practice and are in good standing in other academic subjects. The school hosts two musical recitals in the course of the year: these are festive occasions during which students share their progress on the piano with family and friends.