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

    Year Course, 1 credit AP 
    AP Music Theory is an upper division elective 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.
  • AP Studio Art: 2D Art & Design

    Year Course, 1 credit AP 
    AP Art 2D Design is for students whose work is based in photography or heavily computer-based (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc...) as it would be if focusing on graphic design. 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. This is an advanced course and students should have had at least two years of art/photography course experience. The work expectations are significant and the bulk of each project is expected to be completed outside of class.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art III: Building Your Portfolio
    Prerequisite: Photography I: Learning to See
    Teacher Approval
  • AP Studio Art: Drawing

    Year Course, 1 credit AP
    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. This is an advanced course and students should have had at least two years or art course experience. The work expectations are significant and the bulk of each project is expected to be completed outside of class.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art III: Building Your Portfolio
    Teacher Approval
  • Arts 8

    An Exploration of Theatre, Musical Theatre & the Ukulele - Year Course, 1 credit
    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.
    Required: 8th Grade
  • 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 1

    Our vocal music program starts in Choir 1 & 2 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 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.
  • Choir 2

    Our vocal music program starts in Choir 1 & 2 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 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.
  • Concert Band 1

    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.
  • Concert Band 2

    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.
  • Digital Media: The Peregrine Yearbook

    Year Course, .5 credit
    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.
    No prerequisites.
  • Digital Photography I

    You have it in yourself to become a better photographer. This class will not only give you the basic technical tools you need to take better photographs but also give you the ability to become a more observant person and to see the visual world around you in a fresh new way. That skill set will help you no matter what it is you choose to do with your life and will let you see new layers of beauty and detail in your everyday existence. The journey begins with learning to get the most out of the camera you always have with you - the one built into your phone. We’ll also tackle the basics of Adobe Photoshop to help refine the photographs you take so that they can reach their fullest potential. We’ll 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 our own.
  • Digital Photography II

    We’ll build on what you learned in Photography I by taking a more project-based approach to the class. Students will develop themes to build photographic essays or series around. We’ll sharpen your photographic skills with constructive and supportive group critiques. We’ll go further into 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 you into a better photographer and deeper observer of the world around us.
  • Jazz Band 1

    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 like: All About York, Grandparent’s Day, INSPIRE! Auction Gala, and Winter/Spring Concerts.
  • Jazz Band 2

    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 like: All About York, Grandparent’s Day, INSPIRE! Auction Gala, and Winter/Spring Concerts.
  • Music Video Project

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    Working individually or collaboratively, students will learn how to create a proper musical track, and record it. Students will mix and master their track using software like Soundtrap, Garageband or Logic Pro. Within this project, students will have access and be able to sign up for time in the “recording studio” to record their session. Once the track is created, they will then create a music video. Before that process, we will look at the history of music videos and watch and research iconic music videos. After a storyboard is created, students will then work to create their music video connected to the music track they created. We will feature these music videos on our York Arts Youtube channel. There will be a judged panel at the event, with awards being given out live at the end of the premiere!
    Open to all students
  • Musical Theatre History: A Social and Political Deep Dive

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    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 like 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.
    Open to all students, grades 9-12
    Fall Semester
  • Strings Ensemble 1

    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.
  • Strings Ensemble 2

    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

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    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.
    One Semester - Fall or Spring Semester
  • Studio Art II: Drawing

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    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.
    Prerequisite: Foundations of Art
    Fall Semester
  • Studio Art II: Painting

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    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.
    Prerequisite: Foundations of Art
    Spring Semester
  • Studio Art III

    Year Course, 1 credit
    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 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 Art in the Senior year. Students will display their final portfolios on-campus and/or digitally online.
    Prerequisite: One Full Year of Visual Art
  • Virtual Choir Project

    Semester Course, .5 credit
    In the Virtual Choir Project you will learn how to work as an individual vocalist as well as collaborate in a combined project. Focus will be on learning two songs through music tracks, coaching videos, group classes, and one-on-one instruction. Then students will learn and record their part for the “Virtual Choir Project”. This will give students access to proper audio and video technique to create the best track/video possible. The project will debut at the end of the semester through a virtual platform like Youtube Premiere. Students will also have the opportunity to sing with local and National professionals.
    Open to all students

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
  • Photo of Eddie Mendenhall
    Eddie Mendenhall
    Jazz Band Director
    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.