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 6 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.
  • 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 will 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.

Visual Arts Courses: Grades 7-9

List of 5 items.

  • Digital Media

    In Digital Media, students will explore digital storytelling through the use of film, photography, graphic design, and animation. This course will serve as an introduction to the various mediums and software applications the students will  use to produce creative multimedia projects. 
  • Film Appreciation 

    Film Appreciation is a combination of viewing, written analysis, and discussion of a variety of films spanning many decades and genres. Students are given an appreciation of the language of film and how films function as communication, entertainment, and art. Discussion and writing activities will stress analysis, evaluation and comparison/contrast. In addition, students will be expected to use film concepts and vocabulary as they explore their understanding of this art form.
  • Studio Art

    Each semester in Studio Art will focus on a different artistic medium, including drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Core technical  concepts, such as the principles of design and color theory, will be studied, as well as art appreciation. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their work to the larger Fessenden community throughout the school year.
  • Woodworking

    In Woodworking, students are introduced to the use and care of basic hand tools and many different power tools. Each semester will focus on a different theme of projects that the students will produce, such as wooden toys, kitchen items, and office solutions. The students will lead each part of the project production, from the design and choosing of wood and joints, all the way to the finishing. Projects will increase in difficulty as the semester progresses.
  • Yearbook

    Ninth grade students are invited to add their own touch to the Fessenden Yearbook! While studying photography and graphic design fundamentals, students in this course will capture many of the images for the yearbook and design the page layouts to display them.

Theatre Arts Courses: Grades 7-9

List of 4 items.

  • 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 combat, as well as 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.
  • 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 productions.
  • Upper School Fall Play

    Students in this course will be the cast of the Upper School play production to be performed in late November. 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.
  • Upper School Musical

    Students in this course will be the cast of the Upper School musical production to be performed in late May. 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.

Design Thinking Courses: Grades 7 - 9

List of 3 items.

  • Innovation Studio I

    The Innovation Studio I class is an introductory design course as developed by NuVu Studio where coaches guide students as they work to solve complex, comprehensive fabrication projects using the tools and machines in the Ciongoli Center for Innovation. The Studio model uses exercises as an introduction to prototyping and fabrication skills as a means of understanding the basic fundamentals of the design process. Students are required to document their studio work through the use of the NuVu platform, and create formalized presentations.
  • Innovation Studio II

    The Innovation Studio II class  is an intermediate/advanced design course as developed by NuVu Studio where coaches guide students as they work to solve complex, comprehensive fabrication projects using the tools and machines in the Ciongoli Center for Innovation. The Studio model uses higher-level assignments to deepen students' approaches to prototyping and fabrication skills as a way of better understanding the design process. Students are required to document their studio work through the use of the NuVu platform, and create formalized presentations. Prerequisite is Innovation Studio I.
  • Open Innovation

    Open Innovation is an Upper School elective course available by application only. This is a course where students can work through the Studio Process either furthering a project begun in Innovation Studio I or II or exploring personal/self-directed projects. Innovation coaches mentor students to develop their project(s) through an iterative process over the course of the semester. Students are required to document their studio work through the use of the NuVu platform and create a formalized presentation(s). Prerequisite is Innovation Studio I and admission to this course is by application only.

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 

    (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
  • Photo of Teresa Bloemer

    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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250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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