Arts

Our visual and performing arts program offers students new ways to view the world and express their creativity. Students build better problem solving skills and strengthen their confidence, as well as develop passions and hobbies that resurface throughout their lives.
  • AP Music Theory

    AP Music Theory is designed to prepare students to take the AP Music Theory exam and to successfully complete theory placement tests at college music schools. Students will be familiar with the diatonic scale system in both major and minor keys, standard notation system and melodic structure in Western music, including the devices of motive, sequence, phrases, and periods in the 18th-century harmonic practice. Students will also learn how to sight-read musical notation, as well as dictate melodies and harmonies. Students should be able to read music and be familiar with music theory before entering this class.
    Year course, 1 credit 
    Prerequisites: At least one year in a music ensemble; permission from Arts Department Chair

  • AP Studio Art: Drawing

    Drawing allows students to create a portfolio of work to demonstrate inquiry through art and design and development of materials, processes, and ideas over the course of a year. Portfolios include works of art and design, process documentation, and written information about the work presented. In May, students submit portfolios for evaluation based on specific criteria, which include skillful synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas and sustained investigation through practice, experimentation, and revision, guided by questions. The work expectations are significant in this advanced class, and the bulk of each project is expected to be completed outside of class.
    Year course, 1 credit 
    Prerequisite: Studio Art III;
    permission from Arts Department Chair
  • Arts 8

    An Exploration of Theatre, Musical Theatre & the Ukulele
    Arts 8 is an exploration of finding confidence in your own voice. We build that confidence through the mediums of theatre, musical theatre and music. We start the year with learning about how the theatre works, how to use correct theatrical vocabulary, and feeling comfortable in the physical space. Then we move into communication styles: pantomime, non-verbal, improvisation, monologues and scene work. Then we will work on taking those skills into collaborative presentations about the history of musical theatre. The class will have the opportunity to see a live mainstage professional production, and get an overview of how musical theatre has shaped American society. Finally, we take the opportunity to learn a new instrument: the ukulele. This allows students to find their musical voice, by learning the technique to play and sing their own song by the end of the year. We finish off the year with an end-of-the-year vocal/ukulele performance at their 8th Grade Recognition Ceremony.
    Year course
    Required: 8th Grade
  • Broadway Refocused: Musical Theatre History I

    How has the American Musical Theatre influenced social movements over the last hundred years? How has Broadway created or supported political statements/movements? What is the future of Broadway and how will it survive? This course will be a deep dive into the historical significance of shows, such as Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Chicago, Cabaret, RENT, The Scottsboro Boys, Hamilton, and Jagged Little Pill, that were on the forefront of change that included conversations about race, mixed marriages, gender, sexuality, AIDS crisis, slavery, addiction, and immigrants. This course will give students an overview of musical theatre history but it will also connect to how musical theatre has influenced history for over a hundred years. There will be readings, discussions, individual and group projects and performances, with a culminating project at the end of the semester. View Broadway Refocused on Instagram.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
  • Broadway Refocused: Musical Theatre History II

    In Broadway ReFocused: Musical Theatre History II, students will do a deep dive into the history of women in musical theatre history as writers, composers, lyricists, performers, lighting designers, producers, and more. We want to look at Broadway's past through a new lens to understand “herstory.” This course will give students an overview of musical theatre history but it will also connect to how musical theatre has influenced history for over a hundred years. There will be readings, discussions, individual and group projects, and performances, with a culminating project at the end of the semester. View Broadway Refocused on Instagram.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
  • Chamber Choir

    Chamber Choir is designed to give students an opportunity to sing advanced and varied choral literature from a range of styles that could include: traditional, sacred, popular, jazz and musical theatre. It is an auditioned ensemble for students who have completed one year of Choir. Students will learn about good vocal health, technique and pedagogy. They will have the opportunity to perform as a group in the Winter Concert and Spring ‘Festival of the Arts’, but also in solo/duet/trio/quartets. There will also be a touring opportunity. New students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades with choral experience should talk to Mr. Williams as soon as possible if they wish to audition for Chamber Choir.
  • Choir IA

    Our vocal music program starts in Choir I and is devoted to helping students expand their repertoire and achieve new levels of vocal technical skills and creative expression. For those who have never explored music, singing is the perfect place to start. Choir will give students an opportunity to sing varied choral literature from a range of styles that could include: traditional, sacred, popular, jazz, and musical theatre. Students will learn about good vocal health, technique, and pedagogy. York Choir performs at various school events and in the community at large. Participation in Choir is open to everyone regardless of experience or singing ability. Testing for vocal placement is done at the beginning of the year. Students will sing at many different functions throughout the school year that includes Grandparent’s Day, and Winter/Spring Concerts.
    Year course, 0.5 credits
    Note: Students must complete two years of Choir (Choir IA & Choir IB) in order to advance to Choir II.
  • Concert Band IA

    Concert Band is open to all wind, brass and percussion players with previous knowledge of their instrument. Educational emphasis is placed on collaborative experience, independent musicianship, style, and a deeper understanding of small group ensemble music, and wind ensemble literature. Literature will contain various genres of music. Students will perform in person or virtually at Fall Fair, Winter Concert, Festival of the Arts, and Commencement. Seating will be determined after informal placement auditions at the beginning of each school year.
    Year course, 0.5 credit

    Students must complete two years of Concert Band (Band IA & IB) in order to advance to Concert Band II.
  • Concert Band IIA

    Concert Band is open to all wind, brass and percussion players with previous knowledge of their instrument. Educational emphasis is placed on collaborative experience, independent musicianship, style, and a deeper understanding of small group ensemble music, and wind ensemble literature. Literature will contain various genres of music. Students will perform in person or virtually at Fall Fair, Winter Concert, Festival of the Arts, and Commencement. Seating will be determined after informal placement auditions at the beginning of each school year.
    Year course, 0.5 credit
    Prerequisite: two years of Concert Band (Band IA & Band IB)

  • Digital Media: The Peregrine Yearbook

    This digital media class produces a real-world project that is going to be distributed to hundreds of readers: The Peregrine, York’s yearbook. The course is designed to develop proficient skills in Adobe InDesign, desktop publishing processes, page layout design, typography, documentary-style photography, and time management. Weekly check-ins give the student an opportunity to discuss progress and strategies for meeting benchmarks. This class cultivates self-starters, encourages creative growth, and provides a variety of valuable resources that students can reach out to at any time.
    Year course, 0.5 credit
  • Digital Photography I

    This class will not only give students the basic technical tools they need to take better photographs but also give them the ability to become a more observant person and to see the visual world in a fresh new way. The journey begins with learning to get the most out of the camera students usually have with them - the one built into phones. Students will tackle the basics of Adobe Photoshop to help refine the photographs they take so that they can reach their fullest potential. Students also learn about the work of a diverse group of photographers from around the globe and how to look at and discuss their work in order for it to inspire their own.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
  • Digital Photography II

    Students build on what they learned in Digital Photography I by taking a more project-based approach to the class. Students will develop themes around which to build photographic essays or series. Students will sharpen their photographic skills with constructive and supportive group critiques. Students will go further into Adobe Photoshop and explore the inspiring work of various photographers from a wide variety of backgrounds. All of this is done with the goal of turning students into better photographers and deeper observers of the world around us.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Prerequisite: Digital Photography I
  • Jazz Band IA

    Jazz at York is swinging. Ensembles can range from a combo of five players to twenty students. The horn positions are open to all students with basic knowledge of their instruments and all instruments are welcome, not just the traditional “jazz” instruments. The rhythm section is crucial to the success of the group; those who play piano, guitar, bass, and drums need to be experienced and are selected by audition. Students also take a deep dive into the history and legacy of jazz music. The Jazz Falcons make every attempt to accommodate students at their present level of ability. The Jazz Falcons perform at many community events, such as All About York, Grandparent’s Day, INSPIRE! Auction Gala, and Winter/Spring Concerts.
    Year course, 0.5 credit

    Students must complete two years of Jazz Band (Jazz IA and IB) in order to advance to Jazz Band II.
  • Jazz Band IIA

    Jazz at York is swinging. Ensembles can range from a combo of five players to twenty students. The horn positions are open to all students with basic knowledge of their instruments and all instruments are welcome, not just the traditional “jazz” instruments. The rhythm section is crucial to the success of the group; those who play piano, guitar, bass, and drums need to be experienced and are selected by audition. Students also take a deep dive into the history and legacy of jazz music. The Jazz Falcons make every attempt to accommodate students at their present level of ability. The Jazz Falcons perform at many community events, such as All About York, Grandparent’s Day, INSPIRE! Auction Gala, and Winter/Spring Concerts.
    Year course, 0.5 credit
    Prerequisite: two years of Jazz Band (Jazz IA & Jazz IB)
  • Strings Ensemble IA

    Strings Ensemble is open to all string players with previous knowledge of their instrument. Educational emphasis is placed on collaborative experience, independent musicianship, style, and a deeper understanding of small group ensemble music. Literature will consist of various genres of music. Students will perform in person or virtually at Fall Fair, Winter Concert, Festival of the Arts, and Commencement. Seating will be determined after informal placement auditions at the beginning of each school year.
  • Strings Ensemble IIA

    String Ensemble is open to all string players with previous knowledge of their instrument; Educational emphasis is placed on collaborative experience, independent musicianship, style, and a deeper understanding of small group ensemble music, and orchestral literature. Literature will consist of various genres of music. Students will perform in person or virtually at Fall Fair, Winter Concert, Festival of the Arts and Commencement. Seating will be determined after informal placement auditions at the beginning of each school year.
  • Studio Art I: Foundation

    This is an introduction to art with no experience necessary. The class is focused on drawing fundamentals for the first 6 weeks; covering contour, texture, line gesture, value, and perspective while emphasizing the need to observe and develop coordination between the eyes and hands. Students will research and write about periods in art history that appeal to them, developing personal tastes and preferences and defending those positions to their peers and teacher. In the second quarter, we will introduce the modalities of color, printmaking, painting, and sculpture. Finished work will be posted on Google Drive and displayed on-campus or digitally online.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit 
  • Studio Art II: Drawing

    In Studio Art II: Drawing, students will have the opportunity to further their exploration of drawing mediums. This is the core experience of any artist. The semester will include reductive drawing (using an eraser and graphite powder layers), dry-point etching, the use of charcoal on different surfaces, reductive linoleum prints using three colors, textured drawings using India ink, and more. Exercises will be aided by examples, demos, videos, and guest artists. Research and writing exercises will also be employed as well as weekly critiques. Finished work will be posted on Google Drive and displayed on-campus and/or digitally online.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Prerequisites: Studio Art I: Foundation
  • Studio Art II: Painting

    In Studio Art II: Painting, students will have small canvases to create each exercise dealing with a specific design element. Value, pattern, balance, color, emphasis, texture, and more will be covered in these small works of art. The idea is to encourage more starts, turnover and a robust environment to experiment, make mistakes, and develop painting skills. We will start in acrylic and with still life and explore animals, abstraction, portraiture, the human form, and landscape. These exercises will be interspersed with demos, artist of the week talks, and writing exercises. Finished work will be posted on Google Drive and displayed on-campus and/or digitally online.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit 
    Prerequisites: Studio Art I: Foundation
  • Studio Art III: Building Your Portfolio

    Studio Art III allows students to build their portfolios that feature a concentration or prolonged study of a particular theme. These portfolios are student-driven and student-designed. With the help of frequent field trips, students will have access to many types of styles and artistic expression that will help encourage original designs. Students will be encouraged to use multiple mediums and a variety of subjects. This is a full-year course that requires a high level of autonomy, motivation, and love for the visual arts. Students are exposed to art through field trips to galleries and museums, visiting artists, research, and critiques. This course is often taken in the junior year in preparation for AP Studio Art: Drawing in the Senior year. Students will display their final portfolios on campus and digitally online.
    Year course, 1 credit 
    Prerequisites: Studio Art II: Drawing or Studio Art II: Painting

Faculty

  • Photo of Spencer Williams
    Spencer Williams
    Arts Dept. Chair, Director of Vocal Music
    Bio
  • Photo of Danko Drusko
    Danko Drusko
    Instrumental Music Director
    Bio
  • Photo of Gerard Martin
    Gerard Martin
    Art
    Bio
  • Photo of Ian Martin
    Ian Martin
    Photography
    Bio
  • Stu Reynolds
    Bio

Curriculum

York School

9501 York Road
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-372-7338
Fax: 831-372-8055
We inspire and prepare a diverse community of creative, independent thinkers.
Since 1959, York School has created an exceptional college-prep experience for our youth: inspiring them to develop intellectual curiosity; challenging them to create and try new things; and preparing them to be passionate contributors in college and in life.