Case Study: A Performing Arts Academy Offers Individual Learning and Career Exploration


Imagine training as a music teacher while you’re still a senior in high school.

That’s what Dani Buschini, a current graduate of Orange Lutheran High School in Orange County, California, did throughout the 2020-2021 scholastic year. As her capstone task for the school’s Performance Arts Academy, she taught and performed “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre in the student-led spring performance.

The Performing Arts Academy is among 6 academies at Orange Lutheran, and all offer customized guideline so trainees can check out prospective profession courses. Students use to academies throughout their sophomore year, take part in their junior and senior years, and get a recommendation on their diploma upon effective conclusion of the work. In addition to carrying out arts, the school uses academies in company, liberal arts, ministry, STEM and visual arts.

The Performing Arts Academy has numerous paths; trainees can select from important music, acting, dance, musical comedy and singing music. Instrumental music is the just one with particular concentrations: music education, structure and efficiency.

female student conductingInstrumental Music Specialization

Director of Instrumental Music Aaron Zeilinger discusses that academies “bundle current higher educational offerings with field trips, master classes and extra projects.”

He offers college-style programs and almost specific finding out to develop the enthusiasms of his trainees. All of his important music academy trainees take Music Theory 1 and 2, however the rest of their coursework differs.

Music education and structure trainees research study with Zeilinger separately after school. Education trainees find out rating research study, lesson preparation, class management, along with performing and instructional principles, while structure trainees deal with preparing initial pieces to be debuted in spring of their senior year. Performance- focused trainees need to take personal lessons in their instrument and prepare a 30-minute recital. All need to likewise take part in honors-level ensembles.

As an outcome of their differing interests, culminating senior tasks have actually varied. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Zeilinger’s structure trainee composed 2 initial works, one for wind ensemble and one for string ensemble. For the wind ensemble, he produced an initial march, called “Old Hundredth,” that drew motivation from the marches of Karl King andJohn Philip Sousa The string ensemble piece, called “Rush,” was based upon scale patterns in increasing and overlapping kinds to weave an elaborate, practically mathematical-style structure. In 2019, an efficiency trainee played the “Concerto in E Minor: Movement 1” by Felix Mendelssohn on violin along with set up “Time” by Hans Zimmer for 3 violins and a piano.

Collaboration with other classes has actually likewise been motivated. For example, “we had the Acting 3 class write a monologue as an intro to one of our concerts,” Zeilinger states.

Customized and Student-Driven Program

If trainees have an interest in mentor at more youthful levels or in music innovation, Zeilinger states that he would discover methods to make those experiences possible. “I want each student to pursue what they are truly passionate about and have a culminating project that represents their unique abilities and desires,” he states. “It’s very student-driven.”

In truth, Zeilinger’s general approach with all of his trainees has actually been to “support them where they are and where they want to go,” he states.

As a faith-based personal high school without any particular feeder programs, Orange Lutheran has a trainee population of 1,355. About 250 to 300 trainees general take part in carrying out arts with 50 associated with important music each year. Approximately 12 trainees each year have actually selected to take part in the Performing Arts Academy with one to 3 associated with the important music program. Students at Orange Lutheran are not needed to enlist in an academy, however those who do can take part in as numerous as they desire after their effective application.

All 50 important trainees– whether they remain in the academy– have a variety of musical chances. Orange Lutheran has a marching band, wind ensemble, string ensemble, chamber ensembles, complete orchestra, jazz band, jazz combinations and percussion ensembles.

Zeilinger who is likewise the corps director with the Impulse Youth Arts Organization in Buena Park, California, is the head instructor for all of those groups– anything important other than the appreciation band– and he generates coaches where required.

female clarinet student In previous years, Zeilinger has actually even taught hand bell and steel drums when trainees reveal the desire. “When I see the interest, I’m going to go down that path because I want my students’ high school experiences to be memorable. … My program is really focused on developing the desire among students to pursue something they’re passionate about.”

All trainees have a possibility to make choices for the springStudent Showcase Zeilinger will ask trainees what they are enthusiastic about and keep up it, he states. “My main purpose in education is providing experiences for the kids who want it.”

The require for modification has actually occurred due to the variety in trainees’ important experiences. For circumstances, Zeilinger may have artists who have actually taken personal lessons considering that the age of 2 and others who have actually simply begun discovering their instruments a couple of months back. “I have to figure out how to meld that into an ensemble that everyone feels excited about,” Zeilinger states.

Master-Class Experiences

As part of the academy experience, about 3 master classes are offered for trainees to sign up with each year. “I normally bring in people from industries that students wouldn’t have access to on their own,” Zeilinger states.

These experts have actually consisted of studio artists, studio arrangers, a Broadway author and a group called LALA Brass.

While all carrying out arts individuals have access to the master classes, academy trainees are needed to go to a minimum of 2 each year and get unique opportunities, such as more intimate Q&A sessions or the chance to work straight with the visitor artist in presentations.

Evolution and Expansion

The Performing Arts Academy has actually made modifications to its structure with time. “It’s been a continually evolving process,” Zeilinger states.

In the very first year, each director wrapped existing coursework and put it into the academy paths. During professors conference days, trainers conceptualize methods to enhance the academies. Creation of the brand-new dance program is one example.

male student playing the pianoStarting in the 2021-2022 academic year, trainees will have the choice to take part in the academy and gain from an excursion to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and master classes without the capstone task, or take the academy honors track with all of the specific and culminating work. The Performing Arts Academy personnel thinks that more trainees would take part if they didn’t have the pressure of pursuing the stand-alone task, Zeilinger states.

“We’re continuously coming up with ideas to make this more defined and … worth their time,” Zeilinger states.

In the future, Zeilinger states that he wishes to pivot the important music program to use all kinds of specializeds without particular departments, to use AP Music Theory and to collaborate with state colleges.

While roughly 70% of the Performing Arts Academy trainees have actually pursued the discipline in college, about 30% do it simply for enjoyable. “The parents and students … are always thankful that they get to do something like this,” Zeilinger states “It is 100% my philosophy to try and give students something unique in high school before they get into college. … High school is the last chance to try something without it affecting the rest of your life. That’s why I offer so many things. … I want students to walk away from high school having done something really cool [and] special.”

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