Conservatory of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts
The Detroit Country Day School Conservatory puts a clear focus on building artistic capabilities for students seeking a career in the fine and performing arts. The rigors of advanced study and practice in their chosen discipline, mentored by faculty artists and counseled on higher education options promote students for entrance to the nation’s most prestigious art schools, music conservatories, and theatre programs.
By clearly identifying the Conservatory as a course of study option within our college preparatory mission, we put into action a focused mentoring of student artists who are gifted in their discipline and seek the preparation for the very competitive admission process at the top schools specializing in their arts discipline.
The fine and performing arts teaching staff are, for the most part, faculty artists that work in their professional field and also have the unique ability to teach. They have the connections and experience to introduce students to a variety of professional associations which further prepare students for life as a fine or performing artist.
The opportunities for Detroit Country Day School to engage in professional partnerships with area arts organizations began with the building of the Performing Arts Center. Three of our partners who use the PAC for their professional series, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, have brought master class opportunities to our music students. There are similar opportunities for partnerships with professional dance and theatre organizations.
Freshman and sophomore students who articulate their desire to pursue the Conservatory program in their discipline of study will be considered as having pre-Conservatory status. It is during these two years (Grades 9 and 10) that the faculty will mentor and guide students in building their capabilities within the curriculum. Prior to entering the student’s junior year (Grade 11), a meeting will be scheduled with parents, the student and respective faculty to assess the pre-conservatory experience, evaluate the pros and cons of the Conservatory program, and, if applicable, chart a course of study for the junior and senior years.
Faculty in each curricular area (art, music, theatre) will develop a recommended course of study for students with pre-Conservatory status. During this period, it is recommended that students explore a variety of courses in their respective arts discipline, as well as, fully engaging in the academic curriculum so that all DCDS graduation requirements are met and a well-rounded education is at the core of the four-year DCDS experience.
The Conservatory Program is designed to customize a course of study depending on each individual’s goals. In each art discipline, however, there will be core curricular experiences that will be required. In the Fine Arts department, AP Art History and AP Studio Art will be at the center of the Conservatory experience. In the Theatre Department the two year series of Theatre Arts IB and Advanced Theatre Arts IB will be at the center of the Conservatory course of study in Theatre.
Even though each student will have a major focus in their work, additional art experiences will be encouraged. As an example, a theatre student should be encouraged to join the choir and/or take a class in music theory. A vocal music student should seriously consider a theatre course in anticipation and preparation for performance opportunities. A visual art student who has a passion for sculpture would benefit from understanding life drawing or another medium, such as metals. To that end, the AP Art History course has far reaching applications for all students in the Conservatory program.
Within Detroit Country Day School's college preparatory curriculum, students in the Conservatory, with the guidance of the faculty, are able to customize a plan of study that ensures advancement in their artistic pursuits. Depending on scheduling options, students may take advantage of electives within the IB (International Baccalaureate), AP (Advanced Placement) and Honors course offerings. Although the same basic graduation requirements for DCDS will apply to Conservatory students, an emphasis on a student’s artistic development for portfolio and audition readiness will be a major capstone of the program.