To be sure, arts programs vary widely. Some programs specialize in visual art, (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, and computer graphics), theatre (acting and theatre design), dance (ballet, jazz or modern), creative writing, music (vocal or instrumental) or filmmaking. Other schools offer relatively little instruction in the arts and specialize more in outdoors activities, military training, and so forth.
When choosing a boarding school in the U.S.A. it is important to match your interests and goals as they change over time, with the strengths of the school.
If the arts are part of your interests and your passion, you should research each school’s available offerings. Spend time reading the school’s literature and visiting its website. Be sure to look for the qualifications of the teachers, who may themselves be artists, and the range and level of available courses. Examine the facilities available – the theater, studios, and practice rooms. If possible, visit the school yourself.
You should evaluate whether the arts are your first priority. Arts courses may be just a part of the well-rounded education that you wish to enjoy. If you want to concentrate on your interest and develop your special talent, a school with an excellent arts program will provide time for class/studio instruction as well as practice or creative periods. Ask the Admissions Office or your future teachers how much time is available each day for you to pursue your field, and find out how well the school does each year placing its graduates in universities and institutes with further opportunities in the arts.
Finally, the location of the school may be important. Does the school have access to performers, filmmakers and teachers who could help you grow? This could be especially important if you need to study privately with a local performer, for example, or join classes at the city’s dance academy.
Wide variety of arts programs
If you are dedicated to a career in the arts, you might consider a boarding school specializing in developing your talent.
Idyllwild students spend half of each day in pre-professional training in the arts and half in university preparatory academics including ESL (English as a Second Language.)
The campus, near Los Angeles and Hollywood, has a film soundstage, three dance studios, seven art studios, (painting, sculpture, computer graphics, ceramics, photography, drawing and printmaking), 25 music practice rooms, an art exhibition center and four performance facilities. Additionally the campus has the normal classrooms, science labs and library.
Each year, graduates from Idyllwild are accepted to music conservatories, art schools, film schools, theatre programs, dance companies as well as academic colleges and universities in the U.S.A.
Beyond traditional drawing, collage, pastels, ceramics, photography, oil painting, charcoals and fashion design, Purnell girls also work on projects such as art portfolio and furniture installation. Students also take art history classes which include trips to museums in nearby New York City.
You may choose to begin your U.S. studies with a summer program for high school (secondary) students.
New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts offers university-level summer programs in New York and Europe. Drama students interested in studying in New York choose a program with one of these professional training studios: Acting with the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute or the Experimental Theatre Workshop (ETW), or Musical Theatre Performance with Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21).
Future filmmakers choose from Filmmakers Workshop: Narrative, hands-on training in all aspects of video production, or Filmmakers Workshop: Animation. Students make their own films using techniques such as flipbooks, stop-motion puppets, claymation and computer-generated imagery. They work with Final Cut Pro, PhotoShop, AfterEffects and 16 mm cameras.
Young writers develop their own scripts in the Dramatic Writing for High School Students Program. They learn to write for both stage and screen, act in readings and plays, and later stage, shoot, edit, produce and critique their work. Students with a musical interest try their hand at Musical Theatre Writing, in a workshop where they will learn about music, lyrics, and story.
Each program is unique
Each boarding and summer school in the U.S.A. has is own resources, culture and instructors. Finding a program which matches your interests and abilities will require both sensitive self-evaluation and thoughtful research. Consequently you may soon be attending one of the finest schools in the world.
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