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Music & Art Courses

Performing & Visual Arts Course Offerings

Trimester electives unless otherwise noted

Approaches in Acting (trimester elective or year-long course)

Open to all levels.

This active, fun class will be based in practical work, supported by theory. Students will have the opportunity to explore their skills in monologue and scene work. The focus will be on breaking down a script and the development of the voice and the body to confidently communicate onstage. No prior experience necessary. The course is valuable to those who are interested in pursuing theatre in the future as well as those who want to use it as a vehicle to improve their confidence, creative thinking, and expressive communication skills. 

Fundamentals of Art

Open to entry-level artists.

This class is for the student who would like to explore the studio spaces we have to offer so they are better prepared to take more specialized art courses later in their Northwood career. They will learn basic drawing techniques and produce a painting and a reduction cut print. They will work with clay, glass, plaster, and wood to create simple sculptures. Successful students will be creative while developing good techniques and following directions.


Open to all levels.

This class will introduce students to basic printing techniques including block printing, reduction printing, Gelli printing, and silkscreen.


Open to all levels.

This class will explore the basic elements of art and design. Line, shape, space, texture, and value will be the basis of all projects. Using primarily black and white colors, students will experiment with charcoal and pencil to create drawings from real life, photographs, and their own imagination.

Advanced Drawing

Prerequisites: Drawing or permission from the instructor.

Students in this class will venture into perspective, composition, realism, and abstraction using black and white and color.


Open to all levels.

Painting is designed for the artist who wants to work two-dimensionally. This class will focus on creating works of art within the boundaries of color theory. Acrylic paint will be the dominant material on various surfaces. Art history will also be an important part of this class.

Advanced Painting

Prerequisites: Painting or permission from the instructor.

Students will discuss and explore concepts of composition and value. Working from real life and photos, students will be encouraged to take more risks, devote more time to their work, and think outside the box. Materials used will be oil, pastel, and acrylic. Art history will also be an important part of this class.

Advanced Studio Art (Honors, two-trimester course)

This honors-level class is for the student who has taken drawing 1 & 2 or painting 1 & 2. Advanced studio art will enable students to further develop his/her portfolio, learn more in-depth exploration of selected mediums and expand art history knowledge. Students taking this course must have a passion for the arts and be self-motivated. This is a two-trimester course.


Open to all levels.

Neat freaks need not apply; it is a dirty world. Ceramics is Northwood’s most hands-on, tactile art experience. Every project starts will a lump of clay. To create both functional and sculptural ceramics, students learn to pinch, coil, slab, carve, extrude, and throw on a wheel. Ceramics is a two-part process; projects are created, then bisque fired in an electric kiln. Students learn about all the painting and glazing techniques available to make their work burst with color in the final firing. The class will understand the roots of ceramics with a pit or barrel firing and study some contemporary potters and how they work today.


Prerequisites: Ceramics or permission from the instructor.

Raku is an advanced ceramics course that explores the 16th-century Japanese firing process and its contemporary counterparts. In Raku, pots are taken from the kiln molten hot and either allowed to air-cool or are placed in reduction barrels full of flammable materials meant to bring out the shine in specialized glazes, similar to processes in our ceramics course but with less functional pottery and more fire. Pieces tend to be more sculptural but are all created either by hand-building or throwing on the wheel. The class bisque fires and accumulates pieces throughout the winter, then the course culminates with an all-day outdoor Raku firing in the spring to finish each piece.


Open to all levels.

In sculpture, students explore art in three dimensions. Students will learn to create beyond the page using wood, clay, glass, plaster, wire, organic, and found objects. Sculpture is a hands-on course; students should be prepared to get dirty and make decisive, tactile decisions. Gaining the knowledge to use small hand tools for basic construction and adhesion, they will learn to carve, mold, build, and make sculptures through both additive and reduction techniques. Students will use contemporary and historical sculptors as inspiration for their projects.

Digital Imaging

Open to all levels.

Exchanging paint for pixels, digital imaging explores the world of digital media. The foundation of this course is digital photography; students will begin the course learning camera controls and composition. Using Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, and InDesign, students will learn how to enhance, manipulate and make images come alive in the digital world. Students will understand the basics behind fonts and layering. They will have the opportunity to create stop-motion videos, collage and photo essays. Along the way, they will learn about the contemporary photographers and graphic designers who will inspire their work. Most of the homework will involve the camera; a powerful tool for students to explore the world around them.

Innovation with Design Thinking

Open to all levels.

Where do great ideas come from and how are the physically realized? The Innovation and Design Thinking course grows creative thinking and supports the “building” of projects through a wide range of tools and materials. Projects and prototypes will be built from kernels of an idea generated in brainstorming, that are brought to life in sketches and plans, then transformed into actual builds using multiple iterations and modeling. Students will learn to use both digital and hands-on tools including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, hand tools, power tools, the C & C machine, the laser cutter, 3-D printers and more. Students will also learn and practice effective communication skills by sharing and proposing solutions, working with teams of collaborators, and marketing and presenting their work. This course is for anyone who wants to be creative, sees him or herself as a dreamer or maker, or anyone who would like to become one.

Adirondack Art Exploration

A creative exploration artists who lived or live in the Adirondacks and their art.  This course will deeply examine the lives and work of artists who have called the Adirondacks home or who have found inspiration by the natural beauty of the Adirondack Park.

Band (trimester or year-long course)

For students with a basic working knowledge of an instrument.

Band focuses on developing individual musical skill as well as working together as a performing group. The focus will be on how chord voicings, melodies, and dynamics work together to create interesting music, and how particular instruments work within songs. Exploration and listening will be emphasized. This course is designed for musicians who would like to take their playing to the next level in a band setting. Singers are welcome!


Open to all levels.

Guitar is for beginner musicians as an introduction to music. Students learn about chords, rhythm, and simple melody. They will also read simple chord charts and use online resources to play their favorite songs. The goal is to gain comfort and confidence with an instrument and to learn how to play songs they enjoy competently. The course is geared towards acoustic guitar, but electric guitar, bass, and ukulele are also options.

Advanced Guitar

Prerequisites: previous guitar instruction or competency.

This course explores guitar techniques as they apply to different musical genres: jazz, soul, funk, rock, pop, bluegrass, etc. As an advanced guitar class, it builds upon the foundations of music already learned and strives to help students advance in their musical abilities and become more familiar with the fretboard. Sonic possibilities in the forms of effects and tunings will also be explored. We will explore how to best work with a full band, how to decide what to play in different contexts, and how to better listen and interact with other musicians. Students will play and practice as an ensemble and with the larger band as well.

Music Recording

Open to all levels.

This course will introduce students to recording using professional recording software called Digital Performer, a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer well suited for songwriters, live performance, film and video soundtracks, audio post-production, surround mixing, and other professional audio production tasks. The software will record, edit, arrange, mix, process, and master audio and MIDI tracks. We will begin with recording live sounds and instruments and then delve into pre-recorded music. We will also utilize the MIDI controller to recreate sounds and put new songs together.

Visual and Performing Arts
Northwood Academic Programs