Grades 5-9
The Experience
Upper School: Grades 7-9

Arts: Grades 7-9

Exploration, expression, development: Upper School boys are given the freedom to channel their creative energies into pursuits of their choosing.

In the Upper School, boys develop their passion for a particular area of the arts. We encourage the pursuit of these passions by granting them the freedom to choose their electives in music, visual, and performing arts. With instruction from professional, working artists, boys benefit from creative and focused guidance—as well as expansive arts facilities, including a video production studio and digital photography lab. From theatrical performances to vocal concerts to gallery exhibitions, boys have numerous opportunities to showcase their talents around campus and in the local community.

Music Courses: Grades 7-9

List of 8 items.

  • Concert Band

    Building on the basic skills acquired from previous years of study, US Concert Band challenges students in aspects of technique, intonation, musical expression, and ensemble skills. Selections of repertoire include concert band classics, as well as arrangements of classical pieces, jazz standards, and songs from movie soundtracks and musicals. Students continue to grow in individual technique, as well as in ensemble skills.
  • Honors Band

    More experienced and motivated musicians in US Concert Band are selected and invited to join Honors Band. Students play advanced arrangements of classical pieces, Motown/ R&B tunes, and jazz standards. Music theory is introduced and, besides playing, students have opportunities to learn improvisation, make song arrangements, and compose. Performances include the Holiday, Grandparents' Day, and Spring Concerts. Students are also strongly encouraged to participate in the Eastern MA District audition. Incoming students who are interested in taking this course can schedule an audition with the instructor.
  • Music Theory & Digital Music  

    Music Theory & Digital Music will offer students a general music theory curriculum with an introduction to the world of Digital Music, Composition, and Sound Engineering. Students will study the basic elements used in constructing music (including melodic and rhythmic notation, key signatures, time signatures, chord progressions, musical form, consonance/dissonance, and melody/harmony) and learn how to use these elements to compose and arrange using current notation-based and sequencing-based music software applications.
  • Orchestra

    The Fessenden Orchestra is composed of students with at least two years of experience on their instruments. Music is drawn from the Western Classical canon, folk music from different cultures around the world, and film scores. The prerequisite skills needed to be successful in the Orchestra are a firm knowledge of music notation, the two fundamental scales on their instrument, basic string notation markings, parts of the instrument, and familiarity with third position and the concept of vibrato.
  • String Ensemble

    String ensemble is intended for students with 1-2 years of experience on the violin, viola, cello, and bass. Students continue to develop their instrumental technique, music reading, ensemble playing, and rehearsal etiquette. The String Ensemble will perform at Winter and Spring Concerts, and there may also be opportunities for ensemble members to play a piece with the Orchestra.
  • Upper School Percussion

    Upper School Percussion introduces students to a variety of percussion genres from Western and non-Western musical traditions, including music from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Students study specific musical traditions, performance techniques, and compositional techniques of multiple cultures, illustrating the important role of music as a means of expression. Throughout the course, boys have the opportunity to play and perform various percussion instruments, building playing technique, music literacy, sight-reading skills, and other technical and functional skills of each instrument and musical genre. Students learn how to build unity within an ensemble setting, while still maintaining individual accountability.
  • Upper School Voices

    Upper School Voices is an opportunity for Upper School boys to explore the basics of vocal technique and choral singing. Working collaboratively, the students learn healthy vocal production, thoughtful musical phrasing, and music literacy, all while working to blend and harmonize as a chorus. Throughout the year, the boys perform for the community, their friends, and families, at events such as the Winter Concert, Grandparents' Day, and the Spring Concert.
  • Private Instrumental Lessons

    For an additional fee, students may request private music lessons in any of the band and orchestral instruments, as well as guitar and piano.

Visual Arts Courses: Grades 7-9

List of 7 items.

  • Digital Filmmaking I

    In Digital Filmmaking I, students produce a TV show called The F-Files, which is shown to the entire Upper School and put on the web for all to view. The boys work in a dedicated digital film studio, using state of the art equipment. Skills studied include brainstorming, script and storyboard writing, filming, interviewing, studio engineering, and video and audio editing, culminating in a polished final production.
  • Digital Filmmaking II

    In Digital Filmmaking II, students produce mini-documentaries focusing on subjects they are more passionate about. They learn techniques for interviewing, the setup procedures for audio and video, techniques for collecting B-Roll footage, and the editing process - including voice-overs, sound effects, and how music can help tell your story. The final productions will be uploaded to the Fessenden web site to share with the community.
  • Photography I

    Photography I begins with a basic introduction to fundamentals of how cameras work, teaching students how to control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. These fundamentals are applied to students' work to achieve creative control of their images. Students create an evolving portfolio of their work throughout the term, working with Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop to process and print digital images. Students alternate sessions between shooting and printing throughout the semester. Students are encouraged to examine and critique the work of other photographers, both within the classroom and outside in the professional world. 
  • Photography II

    Photography II builds upon the skills students have learned in Photography I. Students begin with a review of fundamentals and move quickly into developing a portfolio of images. Students are encouraged to develop one or more themes for their work. They are also encouraged to imitate and experiment with the styles of other photographers they admire. Each student prints and presents a showing of his work for critique. Students learn to build high-quality portfolios, which are suitable for presentation.
  • Studio Art

    Studio Art is designed to solidify the student's understanding of the foundations of art. Students will learn the core concepts of life drawing, color theory, and three-dimensional design and construction. Using these skills, students begin to design and create projects based on their interests in conjunction with an understanding of how their artwork fits into the larger art context. In addition, the boys will have the opportunity to showcase their work to the larger Fessenden community throughout the school year.
  • Woodworking I

    In Woodworking I, students are introduced to basic hand tools and many different power tools. Their first project is chosen from three different designs that give the students experience using basic shop tools. Once that is completed, they design their own next projects and learn the different functions of hand and power tools.
  • Woodworking II

    In Woodworking II, students build upon the basic techniques and skills learned in Woodworking I. Students build projects of their own choosing, using higher-quality woods and joints of stronger and more elaborate designs.

Theatre Arts Courses: Grades 7-9

List of 4 items.

  • Fall Play Production

    Students in this course will be the cast of the Upper School play production. In addition to two class time rehearsals per week during the academic day, the cast will have additional after school rehearsals during Tech Week, the week of the performance, which will coincide with fall Mud Week.
  • Shakespeare and Stage Combat

    Shakespeare and Stage Combat is a course that combines the work of playwright William Shakespeare with the use of Stage Combat as a storytelling instrument. The students will learn to properly use hand to hand, knives, escrima sticks, staffs, axes, swords and bucklers as stage weapons. Great importance is placed on proper safety protocols, as well as using creative and critical thinking skills. The students will analyze and fully understand scenes from Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet, Troilus & Cressida, and others. They will be tasked to choreograph a fight scene for each play and to explain the choices of weapons to provide an effective story.
  • Spring Musical Production

    Students in this course will be the cast of the Upper School musical production. In addition to two class time rehearsals per week during the academic day, the cast will have additional after school rehearsals during Tech Week, the week of the performance.
  • Theater Tech

    In this class, students will study all aspects of producing a show, including light, sound, set, and costume design. The students in the class will put their new skills to work by serving as the Technical Crew for mainstage theater production.

Meet the Visual Arts Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Philip Alton

    Philip Alton 

    Woodworking and Film Appreciation Teacher
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of George Sauter

    George Sauter 

    Digital Media and Yearbook Teacher
  • Photo of Amy Walrod

    Amy Walrod 

    MS & US Visual Arts

Meet the Performing Arts Team

List of 11 members.

  • Photo of Marissa Apland

    Marissa Apland 

    Director of Arts, Vocal Music Teacher
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of Matthew Glenn

    Mr. Matthew Glenn 

    Instrumental Music Teacher
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of Joseph Lareau

    Mr. Joseph Lareau 

    Instrumental Music Teacher, Extended Day Program
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of Paul Perez

    Paul Perez 

    Theatre Arts
  • Photo of Aaron Gelb

    Aaron Gelb 

    Instrumental Music Teacher
  • Photo of Cecilia Berger

    Cecilia Berger 

    Music Tutor, Grade 4 Strings
  • Teresa Bloemer 

    Music Tutor
  • Photo of Nicholas Francese

    Nicholas Francese 

    Music Tutor
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of Eleanor Perrone

    Eleanor Perrone 

    Music Tutor
  • Photo of Eric Schindler

    Eric Schindler 

    Music Tutor
    (617) 964-5350
  • Photo of Amy Walrod

    Amy Walrod 

    MS & US Visual Arts
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The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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