Fine Arts

Upper School Fine Arts

Music and theater comprise our performing arts program. Music is part of the core curriculum from preschool through eighth grade. In addition to an abundance of music courses, Keith also offers a variety of choral opportunities. Open to all students, participants have the opportunity to perform at all-school assemblies, music night concerts, drama productions and special competitions such as the Illinois Music Education Association Festivals.Upper School Chorus

Upper School Chorus is open to all students in grades nine through twelve. It is a mixed chorus singing multiple part European, English, multi-cultural and American choral music. The choral literature chosen comes from a variety of styles and time periods. The course also includes the fundamentals of music theory, ear training and instruction in sight singing.

Upper School Ensemble

Upper School Ensemble is for students in grades nine through twelve who wish to study a stringed instrument. After review of the student’s experience and technique, the instructor places students in the appropriate level for instruction and performance. Students advance in their study of technique and music reading, gain additional experience in performance, and increase their repertoire of literature for the stringed instruments.

Wind Ensemble

Wind Ensemble is open to students in grades nine through twelve who play wind and/or percussion instruments. Students should have at least two years of instrumental training prior to enrolling in this course. The course emphasizes technique and musicianship through scale and technique studies along with a variety of musical repertoire. Multiple performance opportunities are provided for this ensemble.

Advanced Placement Music Theory

Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory is offered in alternate years. It covers the same theoretical materials as a first-year college course, including melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and tone color. The course seeks to develop skills in listening, analysis, writing, composition, and sight reading.

Music History

Music History surveys the major historical periods and styles of Western music from the Middle Ages to the present. The course also demonstrates the parallel trends in other art forms as well as the trends of society at large. Students will focus on listening and score study. The course is open to students in grades ten through twelve and requires only limited musical background. Music History is offered in alternate years.

Select Choir (Dodecaphonics)

Dodecaphonics is a small vocal ensemble open to students in grades nine through twelve by audition only. The group performs music of a more challenging nature with a focus on music appropriate for the smaller ensemble. The group is limited in size. Members must also be concurrently enrolled in Upper School Chorus. Some selections performed by the ensemble may involve choreography. Good sight-reading skills and more advanced vocal skills are essential, since the performers must learn new music rapidly and must be independent vocally.


Piano is open to students from 6th -12th grades. It is designed for beginning pianists who have had no previous piano instruction. The focus in the class is to introduce students to the skills and techniques necessary to play basic piano repertoire. Note reading, rhythm, dynamics, expressive terms and playing techniques are covered topics.


Theater is introduced at Keith in lower school to learn the elements of storytelling and creative dramatics. Middle and upper school thespians stage four to five productions every year in a small theater setting that is fully equipped with moveable sets, state of the art lightning and sound boards and a proscenium arch to compliment the sets on stage. Drama students act, sing, dance, play music, build the sets and work behind the scenes as stage managers, technicians, and set, sound, and lighting designers.

Theater I

Theater I gives an overview of different aspects of theater, as well as continuing to develop students’ performance skills. The students will analyze scripts and further their understanding of character development.
Theater II

Theater II builds on the knowledge attained in Theater I and includes the integration of all the aspects of understanding, interpreting, and producing drama. It continues the study of improvisation, monologues/scene work, and plays on an advanced level.

Theater III

Theater III continues to build on the knowledge attained in Theater II by further integration of the aspects of interpreting and producing drama. It includes introduction to film study and different genres of cinema as well as theater on an advanced level.

Theater IV

This course continues to build on elements introduced in Theater I, II, and III. The students will analyze scripts and further their understanding of character development and performances during Spring Arts Week and establish audition materials for college and scholarship auditions.

Technical Theater I, II, III

Technical Theater gives students an opportunity to develop hands-on skills inset building and lighting for the theater. Students will explore set, costume, and light design and apply these skills in each Keith production. Students will serve on a running crew and participate in production crew tech days outside of class.

Living Textbook

All students in theater classes participate in “Living Textbook” field trips and special events four times a year that include performances of professional theater in the stateline area and Chicago. Upper school students are eligible to attend the Illinois High School Theater Festival in January.


The visual arts program encourages students to express their creativity and explore a range of art mediums in an art studio that overlooks the Rock River. Drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed media, graphic design, photography and computer art all are part of the art curriculum. During the school year, students participate in community art shows four to five times a year and in April, the school dedicates an entire week for a Fine Arts Festival, which includes gallery nights to showcase student works, guest performers, and daily student performances. Many Keith artists have won local and national awards. Our specialized studio includes a photography darkroom, a ceramics studio, a kiln room, and several desktop computers for digital media work.

Basic Design

Basic Design is required of all ninth-grade students. Students explore a variety of media and develop their artistic expression. Assignments for the course integrate the elements and principles of design: line, contrast, emphasis, movement, rhythm, and repetition. Quarterly homework drawings provide students with opportunities to strengthen their observational drawing skills.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing and Painting provides individualized instruction at both beginning and advanced levels. Students express ideas and develop skills in a variety of drawing and painting media including pencil, colored pencil, ink, marker, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, tempera and/or acrylic paints. Emphasis is on original composition and development of existing skills. Quarterly homework drawings provide students with opportunities to strengthen their observational drawing skills. This course is for students in grades ten, eleven, and twelve.


Digital photography is an introductory course in which students learn about camera features, image composition, transferring photos, editing, presentation, and image manipulation. The overall emphasis of the course is on artistic expression, originality, and creativity in the use of digital photography. This course is offered annually to students in grades eleven and twelve.

Ceramics I, II, III

Ceramics provides an exploration of the properties of clay and an introduction to hand-building techniques: pinching, coil, strap, and combinations, as used in pottery and sculpture. Students learn the use of the wheel and spend one semester throwing the basic forms, which may include cylinders, bowls, plates, and bottles. Students work with surface treatments including paint, textures, colored slips, glazes, and non-firing stains. This course is open to all students in grades ten through twelve. Students may enroll in a second or third year of ceramics study.

Senior Art

This course provides individualized instruction in both two- and three- dimensional artwork. Students express ideas and develop skills in a variety of media including ceramics, printmaking, photography, drawing, painting, fibers, and computer art. The class may be assigned a particular problem or area to study, explore, and use as a basis for a creative venture. In general, this course places more responsibility on the part of the student for the development and design of the projects. Quarterly homework drawings provide students with opportunities to strengthen their observational drawing skills. This course is offered to students in grades eleven and twelve.



Linda Smith

Erin Philpott

Robert Sunday
Mary McNamara Bernsten