Upper School

Performing Arts

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Drama Program

Classes provide opportunities to develop self-esteem and self-confidence through skill-building exercises involving the body, voice, and imagination. In addition to being an outlet for self-expression, drama class provides a safe environment to explore emotions, as well as the opportunity to increase self-discipline, skills of observation, and listening.

Fifth Grade: Classes provide opportunities to develop self-confidence, increased focus, and awareness. In Spring, drama classes focus on a collaborative production of the Greek plays, a long-standing feature of the fifth-grade Humanities curriculum.

Sixth Grade: Drama and Music begin the year with a collaborative project. Students explore typical characters and scenarios of melodrama and composing music on GarageBand.  Later in the year, they meet more frequently to create scenes to accompany Broadway songs for the Spring Cabaret.

Seventh Grade: Students choose between three options: Theatre Exercises, Improvisation class, and Play Production.

Eighth Grade: The final trimester of the school year is devoted to the spring Musical, a collaborative effort of the visual and performing arts teachers. All eighth graders participate in the musical, whether performing on stage, providing instrumental accompaniment, and/or working behind the scenes on stage management, costumes, set, lights, or sound. 

Music Program

The primary goal of the Upper School Music program is to broaden each student's understanding of the fundamental music concepts -- rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, and form -- while building confidence and proficiency in musical expression.

The curricular emphasis through the Upper School years includes the following areas of study: 
  • Recognizing the relationship of music identity, culture, and emotion. 
  • Demonstrating understanding of basic songwriting structure.  
  • Developing an increased appreciation of the power of a songwriter’s personal expression.
  • Exploration of a cappella singing and beatboxing with the Incredibox application.
  • Demonstrating an appreciation of Arts Activism for Social Justice with a culminating group project presentation that includes representative poetry, music, and visual expression.
Examples of Projects & Technology
  • Students explore Chrome Music Lab and develop proficiency in using the iPad GarageBand to compose a five-part GarageBand "sound story" and film trailers. 
  • Working independently and at their own pace, students further developed their sight-singing skills with the Music Prodigy practice and assessment assignments.  
  • The Drama/Virtual Vocal Ensemble elective explores various aspects of theatrical production work and vocal performance. Topics included are the roles of playwright, director; stage manager; set, costume, and sound designers; as well as the role of actor. 

Performing Arts Faculty

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Claire Larsen

    Claire Larsen 

    Theater Teacher
    415-751-0187, ext. 356
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.