Visual and Performing Arts

The Visual and Performing Arts faculty at Montclair High School would like to welcome you to our MHS family. Here at MHS, we offer a major course of study and training in a multitude of Fine and Performing Arts disciplines including Visual Arts, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Dance, and Theater Arts. It is our goal to develop well-rounded students who work hard academically, are healthy and physically fit, appreciate the arts, participate in organized sports or clubs, and are responsible Montclair citizens.

Just as students continue their education in math, literature, languages, history, science and technology during high school, MHS also offers opportunities to grow and mature in the arts. If the visual arts, instrumental music, vocal music, dance or drama have been a passion to you, we invite you to continue to grow and celebrate the arts at MHS. If you want to try something new, now is the time. There are a wide range of courses offered in the Visual and Performing Arts. You will find basic descriptions in your program planning guide.

All New Jersey high school students are required to have earned 5 Visual and Performing Art Credits for graduation. This may be accomplished through one full year course or two semester courses.

Quick guide to VPA courses at MHS:

Visual Arts:

  • Art Foundations (semester).
  • Drawing and Composition (semester).
  • Art I Honors (full year). By portfolio review or upon completion of Art Foundations/Draw Comp.
  • Art II Honors (full year). Prereq: Art I Honors.
  • Creative Art and Design (CAD) (semester).
  • Sculpture (semester).
  • Ceramics I (semester).
    • Ceramics II (semester). Prereq: Ceramics.
  • Fibers and Textile Design (semester).
  • Digital Design and Imaging (semester).
  • Creative Coding(semester).
  • Web Design (semester).
  • Filmmaking (semester).
  • Senior Portfolio (semester). Minimum 2 years of art training.
  • AP Art Studio 2D, 3D, or Drawing Concentration (full year). Minimum 2 years art training.
  • AP Art History (full year).

Instrumental Music Performance Groups:

  • Band Honors (full year). Prior music group experience required. Includes both Concert Band and Marching Band. Marching Band fulfills Physical Education requirement for the first marking period.
  • Orchestra (full year). Enrollment limited to strings with prior group music experience. Limited to violin, viola, cello, and string bass only. Wind players for full orchestra performances are selected from members of the Concert Band and Marching Band.

Music Survey:

  • Music Appreciation (semester). A well-rounded survey course designed for those interested in music. There is no requirement to perform music; selected topics will include the history of early sound production through more contemporary forms.
  • Music Theory AP (full year). Prior music performance experience required. This course is designed to provide the student with a firm foundation in the fundamentals of music notation and a basis for further study in composition/arranging.
  • Music Theory II (full year). Prerequisite: Music Theory AP. A continuation of skills and knowledge of Music Theory AP with a focus on music composition.

Vocal Music Performance Groups:

  • Mixed Chorus (semester or full year). Open to all students who enjoy singing. Designed for students who enjoy singing, but have little or no musical training, those who choose to sing recreationally, or those who wish to sharpen their skills for future advancement in their practice.
  • Honor Choir (full year). By audition. Designed to give more advanced choral students the opportunity to perform at their ability level. Students must demonstrate an intermediate level of vocal training.
  • Madrigal Choir (full year). By audition. Targeted to a select group of singers who have three or more years of vocal training and are committed to high quality performance.


  • Introduction to Dance Techniques  — Introduction to Dance Techniques (full year). An introductory class for those who wish to learn basic technique, concepts, and terminology of dance. Proper dance attire is required. Fulfills PE requirement.
  • Intermediate Dance Technique — Improvisation and Choreography (full year). *min. 1 year of prior study. A structured, polished technique class for male/female students with prior training in movement and dance. Proper dance attire is required. Fulfills PE requirement.
  • Advanced Dance Techniques (full year). By audition and acceptance into SVPA Dance Company. A fast-paced class for those students who demonstrate a mature focus and strong technical ability in movement and dance. Proper dance attire is required. Fulfills PE requirement.

Theatre Arts:

  • Acting I (semester). This basic acting course allows students, regardless of their ability or future aspirations, to build their self-confidence through improvisation, vocal and physical skills, use of imagination and observation, recall, scene and monologue work.
  • Acting II (semester). Prerequisite: Acting. This course is a continuation of acting, with an emphasis on rehearsal and performance techniques, in-depth character development and monologue and scene work.
  • Acting III (semester). Prerequisite: Acting. 
  • Technical Theater (semester). Students will learn and practice the process of set design, poster design, costume design, lighting design and sound design necessary for theater production.

About VPA:

VPA is a unique department within the high school that offers two distinct educational components.

  • The curricular component offers courses of study for credit in one or more of the fine or performing fields of Art, Theater, Music, and Dance. All courses offered by the School of Visual and Performing Arts are available to all students of Montclair High School as electives.
  • The performance component focuses on co-curricular activities that highlight students' skills and talents through exhibitions, concerts, recitals, and productions. Productions during the course of the year may include plays, a musical theater showcase, dance programs, student recitals, and vocal and instrumental music concerts, which add to the student's course of study.

Course Offerings:

Course Syllabi


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