The arts can provide a new window into one’s self and one’s world. All freshmen strive to complete the district arts requirement through the year long Visual Arts course. In addition, music and the arts are often integrated into Humanities, school performances and cross-disciplinary expeditions. During winter and spring Intensives, music and the performing arts are inevitably featured. Each year, CBHS students stage a musical, perform a full-length play and enter a student-written entry into the state's one act play festival. CBHS students also access arts courses through the district's common offerings, PATHS, USM and MECA.
In this introductory course, art making will be used to explore issues such as the relationship of art to the environmental movement, the role of art in ancient and contemporary communities, and how advertising targets an audience. Projects will include drawing, pen and ink, printmaking, graphic design, poster design, mask making and sculpture. Students will be encouraged to develop their own voice and to achieve a high level of craftsmanship. They will learn the habits and skills necessary to continue studies in visual arts. Critical thinking about art is developed through analysis of art and written reflections on the art making process. Art is often connected to ninth grade expeditions. Visual Arts is worth two credits.
Advanced Art is a course that challenges students to develop style, technique and personal voice in a shared studio environment. Explorations of contemporary art and gallery visits will be used to develop ideas and work methods. Students may use this course to develop art portfolios for college admission. The course is offered in semester blocks, typically for juniors and seniors.
Portland Public Schools' Orchestra
The Deering High School Orchestra combines forces with the Portland High School Orchestra, and qualified students from Casco Bay High School, in a variety of performances and community events. Orchestra is a one-year course. This course provides ensemble and performance opportunities for string players and qualified woodwind, brass, and timpani-percussion players. Class enrollment in good standing qualifies a student to audition for District II and Allstate Honors Orchestra. Membership in Orchestra will require after-school rehearsals and performances. Students in good standing are eligible to participate in Honors-level Orchestra, with additional coursework that may include program annotation, library work, and other assignments.
Instrumental Ensemble and Vocal Ensemble
The ensembles meet weekly after school in the PATHS music studio during the year and are designed for students with some vocal or instrumental experience. Instrumental ensemble will meet regularly to listen to, study, and rehearse instrumental music from various genres. The instructor will work with students to develop individual musicianship, as well as create ensembles based on available instrumentation and experience/ability levels. Improvisation, solos, and student arrangements and compositions will be encouraged and supported. The emphasis will be on developing as an ensemble, playing together, and exploring instrumental music. Vocal ensemble will meet regularly to listen to, study, and rehearse choral music from various genres, including world music, a cappella traditions, rounds, traditional literature, and popular culture. Vocal exercises, improvisation, soloing, and student arrangements will be encouraged and supported. The emphasis will be on developing as an ensemble, singing together, and exploring choral music. Performances will be determined by the ensembles and the instructor. Students who successfully meet course standards in either course will earn .5 credits in the arts.