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Elective Classes

Howard Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts Course Descriptions

Performing Arts Academy Courses

Band

  • Beginning Band: Beginning Band is open to all students during the first 9-weeks of each year with parent permission.  Previous musical training and music reading is of course helpful, but not necessary. Beginning Band students will have an opportunity to try out several instruments.  Selection of instrument is based upon student interest, physical characteristics (formation of lips and teeth), rhythmic coordination (percussion instruments), and instrumentation requirements (the number of students playing each instrument must be kept within reasonable limits in order to be able to perform the music written for the modern band). ** Beginning Band students will be required to participate in Solo & Ensemble.
  • Concert Band: Concert Band is open to students at an intermediate level of development.  Students should be proficient in music reading, scales, tone production and articulation.  All of the basic techniques that were introduced in Beginning Band are further developed in Concert Band.  Greater emphasis is placed upon performing band music of an intermediate level. The Concert Band performs at the fall concert, winter concert, Florida Band Masters Association Solo & Ensemble Festival, Florida Bandmasters Music Performance Assessment and the spring concert. Private lessons are a great help at this level, since class size and performance commitments limit the amount of individual instruction a student receives.  **Concert Band students will be required to participate in Solo & Ensemble.
  • Wind Ensemble: Wind Ensemble, an audition-based ensemble, is open only to the most proficient students who have demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptional level on their instrument, which allows them to attain more difficult music.  Instrumentation is a consideration when selecting students for the Wind Ensemble. In addition, a student must have a proven record of reliability and good conduct in order to be considered for Wind Ensemble. The skills learned in Beginning and Concert Band are further refined, and additional scales and more difficult exercises are learned.  Private lessons are highly recommended.  Private teachers can help with preparation for All-County Band and All-State Band auditions, preparation of difficult band music, and selection and preparation of Solo and Ensemble music for performance at F.B.A. Solo & Ensemble. Wind Ensemble also performs at the Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessment in the spring.  Students will rehearse after school when necessary to prepare for a performance. **Wind Ensemble students will be required to audition for both All-County & All-State and participate in Solo & Ensemble.
  • Jazz Band: The Jazz Band, also an audition-based ensemble, consists of students who are interested in performing jazz and rock music and in learning improvisation.  Instrumentation is limited and only the top musicians in the school are considered for membership. Jazz Band is a co-curricular course which requires its members to also be enrolled in Wind Ensemble (Guitar, Bass & Piano students would be enrolled in an appropriate and equivalent course). This ensemble performs at numerous events throughout the year at school and community functions.  Tools of improvisation, including Blues, Dorian and Dominant scales, will be studied. A variety of musical styles, including Swing, Jazz Rock, Latin and Ballad will be performed using traditional “big band” instrumentation.


Orchestra

  • Beginning String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8 who have never played a stringed instrument before. Students may choose to play violin, viola, cello or bass. They will learn the fundamentals of string playing, note reading, rhythm, and musicianship. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year.
  • Intermediate String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8. At least one year of private or group instruction is required. Private lessons are highly recommended, but not required. Students will continue in their development of great technique, musicianship and music theory. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year.
  • Advanced String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8. At least one year of private or group instruction is required. Private lessons are highly recommended, but not required. Students will continue in their development of great technique, musicianship and music theory. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year. Auditioned group.


Piano

  • Piano 1, 2, and 3: Piano is a group piano course where students will learn piano, recording, and composition skills while utilizing digital piano, music notation software, and GarageBand. Students will learn basic music skills including reading music, chords, scales, and chord harmonization, while exploring a wide variety of music. Students will also have multiple performance opportunities throughout the school year.


Guitar

  • Guitar (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced): This course is open to students in grades 6 - 8 who wish to learn to play the guitar. No experience is necessary to be a part of this class. Students will learn basic guitar technique, how to read music, and the basic fundamentals of ensemble performance. Students will perform a minimum of three concert performances per year.


Chorus

  • Beginning Girls' Chorus: This chorus is open to all students, regardless of previous experience. Anyone can learn to sing! Students will learn basic, healthy vocal technique, and they will also explore a wide range of music genres.
  • Ranger Chorus (Girls): For students with previous choral experience, this group is the premier ensemble at Howard Middle School. In this chorus, your will sing a wide range of music, including pop, jazz, world music, classical, and folk. There will be several field trips and performance opportunities throughout the school year!
  • Boy's Chorus (6th, 7th, 8th grade): Calling all boys! This ensemble will sing a large quantity of music in many different styles, while exploring the middle school male voice in a relaxed, pressure-free environment!


Dance

  • Dance (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced): The purpose of this course is to enable students to develop fundamental knowledge and skills in two or more dance styles, recognize choreographic processes, enhance aesthetic awareness, and make connections between dance and other subject areas.


Theatre/Musical Theatre

  • Acting (Drama/Musical Theatre): The purpose of this course is to enable students to participate in varied aspects of acting and musical theater, with special attention to the fundamentals of voice production, stage movement, acting, characterization, dance, and technical aspects of a plays and musicals.


Visual Arts Academy Courses

  • 2D Art 1 (Beginning Art): Students explore media and techniques used to create a variety of 2-D artworks through developing skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage. Students practice, sketch, and manipulate the structural elements of art. Investigation of artworks from Western and non-Western cultures provide a means for students to expand their understanding and appreciation of the role of art in global culture. Student artists use an art criticism process to evaluate, explain, and measure artistic growth in personal or group works. This course incorporates hands-on activities and consumption of art materials.
  • Graphic Arts (Digital Photography/Graphic Design): Students will learn to use a digital camera to explore photography as an art form. This will include digital manipulation and layering. Students will also learn the fundamentals of graphic design. This class meets in an iMac computer lab and uses iPhoto, Aperture, GIMP, and Photoshop Elements. Cameras and drawing tablets are provided for use during class time. (May be repeated)
  • Advanced 2D Art (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking): Students will continue to develop art skills and techniques in 2D media including drawing, painting, and printmaking. Students will also learn about art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art careers. Students will develop an art portfolio, participate in art competitions, and learn to exhibit artwork. Students may also be selected to be in National Junior Art Honor Society. (Prerequisite: Beginning Art) (May be repeated)
  • Advanced 3D Art (Ceramics, Sculpture, Fiber Arts): Students will continue to develop art skills and techniques in 3D media including ceramics, sculpture, and fiber arts. Students will also learn about art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art careers. Students will develop an art portfolio, participate in art competitions, and learn to exhibit artwork. Students may also be selected to be in National Junior Art Honor Society. (Prerequisite: Beginning Art) (May be repeated)


Enhanced Elective Courses

STEM: ‚Äč

Throughout each grade level in the engineering/STEM classes, students will dive head first into the engineering design process.  Continually, working hands-on, the students will become an army of problem solvers. They will constantly be planning, building and rebuilding their designs.  

At the sixth grade level, students will be brought up to speed on environmental issues such as sustainability. Then they will use their newly developed engineering minds to help problem solve and make our world a better place.  

For the seventh graders, they kick the year off learning how to design and draw like an engineer.  They will learn a basic form of CAD. (Computer Aided Design) Essentially, they will learn how to draw their design and then go on to build it!  The second half of the year, the students will learn all about flight and space. The will be immersed in the world of flying. Learning how to fly drones and flight simulators, students are taught the principles of flight and much of the engineering that goes into getting things into the air.

Eighth graders will be immersed in robots!   The year starts by students becoming efficient in mechanics, but within a few short weeks they will have built and programmed their first robot.  Additionally, they learn the ins and outs of circuitry and apply it to the function of a robot.

Howard Middle School even offers another level STEM course!  Select students will get the opportunity to take a high school level course.  In the Introduction to Engineering Design class, students can obtain high school credit, Valencia Credit, and an industry certification. Students go deeper into the concepts of working with CAD and preparing designs for the engineering field.


Law Studies (Pre-law):

The Law Studies Elective will provide students an opportunity to acquire an understanding of the American Legal system, including concepts of criminal and civil law and the trial process.  Students will also research real world application of the legal system through interactions with professionals in the legal field in addition to career exploration in law. An emphasis on Environmental, Medical, and Technology related law issues will be focused on in class.

Spanish 1:

Spanish is a high school-level foreign language course that introduces students to Spanish and the culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Using a fluency-based approach, students develop communicative skills in all 3 modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational).  Students build proficiency by learning about each other in Spanish, singing, storytelling, and using authentic text/videos, supplemented by explicit grammar and vocabulary instruction.