1. What exactly are "The Arts?"
When we talk about "The Arts," we are referring to programs in the visual arts (e.g. painting, ceramics, photography, film) and in the performing arts (e.g. music, drama, dance).
2. Can students take arts courses in ninth grade?
All ninth graders enroll in a semester-long course called Introduction to Fine Arts (IFA). Students have the chance to explore four different areas: studio art, photography, music, ceramics, filmmaking, drama, and technical theatre.
During the summer before ninth grade, new students have the opportunity to indicate their top four preferences for IFA courses, so that we can do our best to accommodate your interests.
Ninth graders may also join our chorus, and those with intermediate skill on an instrument are invited to participate in our orchestra or jazz band. Those who wish to be in a play or musical may sign up for drama for one or two of their Afternoon Program commitments.
3. Will I have time to take arts courses?
Because our arts courses meet at various times during the day and throughout the year, you can definitely participate in a wide variety of arts activities.
During the regular school day is when many arts courses meet. These are a part of your normal schedule, just like history or math.
During PA Block our choruses, jazz band, and orchestra meet on a rotating scheduling. Only arts classes meet during this block.
As part of our Afternoon Program, you can participate in drama, art, dance, or tech theater programs.
4. Do I have to choose between arts and athletics?
There is almost never a conflict between arts programs and athletics! Students who wish to be on stage for one of our drama or musical productions or in dance sometimes need to make a choice because certain programs meet during the same season (e.g. Winter Musical and Ice Hockey). These students often speak with the drama director and are cast in small cameo roles that don't require the student to be present at every drama rehearsal.
5. Can I take private lessons on instruments or in voice?
Absolutely! We offer weekly lessons on all major instruments and voice, taught by area professionals who come here to Byfield to work with students. An additional fee applies. Financial aid is available upon request. Please contact Fine Arts Department Chair Belle Struck.
6. Do students have the opportunity to enter competitions?
The most popular competition that we enter is the Massachusetts Scholastic Art Awards (formerly Boston Globe Art Awards). For several years we have been the Independent School leader in awards, bringing home dozens upon dozens of gold and silver keys, along with numerous honorable mentions. Music students have successfully auditioned into the Northeast District Music Festival, a large regional chorus, orchestra, concert band, and jazz band. Other regional and smaller festivals and competitions happen from time to time and are well-attended by several of our students.
7. Do graduates go on to pursue the arts in college?
Yes! It's hard to count the number of students who have gone on to either major or minor in one of the arts in college. Students from our drama, tech, dance, music, photography, film, art, and ceramics programs have attended schools like Harvard, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Pratt Institute, NYU, Sunderman Conservatory, BU, Emerson, Skidmore, and Bard along with many others. Many have gone on to become professional performers and artists. You could be the next!