Conservatory students have the opportunity to major or minor in one of eight disciplines: Music, Visual Arts, Musical Theatre, Dance Arts, New Media Studies, Theatre Arts, Integrated Arts, and Theatrical Design and Technology. Four years of concentrated involvement in a specialized program helps students stand out to college and admissions committees and prepares them to pursue their creative endeavors after high school.
Conservatory program graduation standards, in some disciplines, are above and beyond the requirements for traditional graduation. The Conservatory graduates receive formal recognition of their achievements by notation on transcripts for colleges, an honor cord to be worn at graduation, and a special, framed Conservatory diploma.
Requirements and application info for majors are listed under each department below. To apply please take a look at our Conservatory Application Process.
For more information, contact: Vicki Wagner, Conservatory Student Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dance Arts department boasts one of the area’s most extensive dance programs and course selections. Training in ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop, each style offered at three separate ability levels, allows students to develop their skills from beginning to advanced. All ability levels are welcome and encouraged to deepen and broaden their skills through our program. For the most advanced students, honors level Jazz III offers professional level training and performance opportunities through this collegiate dance course. Students are exposed to a wide variety of styles within their chosen discipline as well dance history, nutrition and physiology, composition, choreography, and performance training. Dance students perform in two dance concerts: a professional faculty-choreographed production in April and a student-choreographed and technically produced showcase in May.
In addition, students have the opportunity to apply to choreograph for Emotions, a semi-professional dance production in November. Auditions are held for dancers for Emotions in September. Dance students are encouraged to join Nu Delta Alpha, National Dance Honors Society, to support the dance department, gain leadership skills, and participate in community service. Students who actively participate for at least two years earn honor cords for graduation. Vivid Dance Company, the highly ranked high school dance team, permits advanced dancers to achieve a professional level dance experience through performance, training, competition locally and nationally, and ministry opportunities. Auditions are held in May. Students may declare a major or minor dance arts.
Students pursuing an in-depth study across the arts may declare a minor in Integrated Arts. This specialty program allows students to explore their own cross- disciplinary interests and choose from the Conservatory’s vast menu of course offerings. Participants have the extraordinary opportunity to experience the deep richness of the visual and performing arts by participating in a variety of performing groups, theatre and dance productions, art exhibits, and cinematic arts. This focus allows them to draw upon resources from six VCS Conservatory Program disciplines, including Music, Theatre, Theatrical Design & Technology, Dance, Art, and Cinematic Arts. Students follow the requirements for a minor in whatever combination of arts disciplines they choose to explore.
The Music department offers endless exposure to exceptional instruction, world travel, and high-caliber performance venues. Both a major and minor are offered, and students who major in music gain exposure to online college level courses through Conservatory partnerships with the prestigious Berklee School of Music. The partnership enables students to earn college credit and interact with Berklee’s top professors and other students. Both majors and minors are required to take 12 hours of private lessons each year, either off-site from their own teacher or from top instructors in the Conservatory’s extensive Private Studio Program.
From participation in state and national competitions and festivals, to concerts in the historic California Theatre and Villa Montalvo, music students often play on stages typically reserved for professional musicians. Conservatory classes include Jazz Ensembles, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensembles, Piano, Worship Band, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Women’s Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Early Music Ensemble, AP Music Theory, Introduction to Music Technology, History and Music, and much more.
The New Media Studies program is one of the most diverse film programs available at any high school in the country. Graduating students are often accepted into top film schools and gain professional opportunities in the motion picture industry. Students with a major or minor in New Media Studies access up-to-date industry standard software, equipment, and facilities while gaining hands-on experience in all aspects of film production, including screenwriting, development, cinematography, directing, editing, distribution, and marketing. Industry professionals routinely conduct seminars hosted by the New Media Studies department. These workshops provide students with further training and insight into the film business along with the opportunity to build professional contacts. The New Media Studies faculty prepares each student to not only be an excellent storyteller, but also a Christian artist with influence and impact. Introduction to Film and Video, The Art of Filmmaking, Scriptwriting, Advanced Film Criticism, 3D Film Animation, Applied Filmmaking, Non-Linear Digital Editing, and TV Broadcast Journalism are among the courses offered. Students may also major or minor in New Media Studies in the Conservatory Program.
Theatre Arts students receive quality training in acting, voice, movement, design, construction, and directing. Classes comprise a multi-tiered, conservatory-style training structure, encompassing both introductory and honors classes. Students may choose a major or minor in Theatre arts. The department’s theatre and technical theatre courses are among the first UC-approved honors-level courses available in California. The Theatre Arts department consistently delivers some of the Bay area’s highest quality production. VCT has won “Top Honors” awards for several years, a program sponsored by the San Jose Stage Company and Broadway San Jose. The theatre department was also selected in Summer, 2012, to participate in the Edinburgh “Fringe Festival,” the largest international arts festival in the world. A group of students and staff traveled to Scotland to perform “Twelfth Night: Serenade.” The main theatre at VCHS is a beautiful proscenium-style performance space that includes a computer-operated Vortek rigging system for flying set pieces. Behind the stage, a 1,620 square-foot scene shop is fully equipped for set construction. In 2012, the new Black Box Theatre opened in the lower level of the Conservatory, offering a more intimate setting for smaller productions. Students participate in open auditions for fall plays, Christmas production, spring musical, student-directed one-act “Brown Bags,’ and the honors students’ main stage production, Experiments in Comedy and Tragedy.
Theatrical Design and Technology students provide the physical support for the Theatre department’s award-winning productions. Utilizing specifically-designed computer software, students learn the craft of theatrical set designs and builds. During each production, they work on stage and behind-the-scenes in a 1,620 square foot scene shop. Located behind the main stage, the fully-equipped scene shop includes tools for wood working, metal working, scenic painting, and more. Outside professional experts consult on each production, offering additional exceptional training in set props, make-up, costuming, lighting, and sound.
The Visual Arts department nurtures students to discover and grow their artistic creativity. In 2013, The Visual Arts section of the Conservatory building was opened, and includes a ceramics studio. The new course offering in ceramics includes hand building techniques as well as wheel throwing. The top floor of the Conservatory building is now completed with fantastic new studio environments featuring amazing natural light. With instruction in Ceramics, Art I, II, and III, AP Studio Art, AP Design Portfolio, AP Art History, and Photographic Design I, II, and Studio, students explore different mediums including pencil, ink, pastel, watercolor, acrylics, collage, and digital design. An indoor photo studio and industry-standard editing software offer students ready access to professional-level experience. Art students gain additional community-wide experience through poster creation, set design, and mural painting for various school, church, and theatre projects. They are encouraged to place work in competitions that provide high-level exposure to their gifts and talents. Field trips to museums and photo excursions further enhance opportunities to develop skills that give students unparalleled advantages. Each year, a Conservatory high point is the annual Art Show, an event displaying visual artists’ exceptional work. Students may choose to major or minor in Visual Arts, in photography or art, or a combination of both.
In 2016, the Musical Theatre major/minor program was created to serve our students who are multi-gifted in the areas of vocal music, dance, and theatre
arts. It is separate from the Theatre Arts track, which focuses on traditional and comprehensive theatre training in Acting and Performance, Technical Theatre, Design and Directing. The Musical Theatre students receive performance-focused training cultivating performance skills in the areas of acting, voice, and dance. Students minoring in Musical Theatre take two years of acting, plus a dance class and choir class. Students with a Musical Theatre major choose one of two paths – vocal emphasis or dance emphasis. Those with a vocal emphasis receive training in acting and dance, but focus on voice through participation in two to three years of choir and private voice lessons. Students with a dance emphasis focus on dance training with three to four years of dance classes, in tandem with the theatre and voice classes. All students participate in open auditions for plays and musicals where they can gain valuable experience putting their training to use.