Either way, by considering how you approach the class and the work you do for that class, you can make the most of an Arts course at Hopkins.
Many students who love their Arts courses approach their classes as a time to step back from the other courses they are taking. Eva Illuzzi ’20, who is currently taking Fine Art III, said, “My art course has always been a 55-minute escape from all the academic stress of each day. I do not think I would be able to go a term without it (and I haven’t). I think Hopkins offers such a wide variety of art courses that finding a class that can draw your attention away from that test next period should be no problem.” Orly Baum ’22 agreed: “For me, Concert Choir is a fantastic opportunity to let go of my stresses for an hour and
spend that time doing what I love most, which is singing.”
The connections people make in Arts courses are one of the aspects that create a rewarding experience in the course. Kyle Shin ’20 said of his time in orchestra, “Instead of thinking about it as another class, I try to enjoy the time I get every day to play music with my friends.” Baum agreed: “Arts like Concert Choir and Orchestra are great opportunities to meet the most people you can because there are upwards of 50 musicians in each class and they’re from all grades.”
Peers are only one part of the community that can make Arts courses more rewarding; connecting with teachers is just as valuable. Cici Liu ’20 said, “The Arts teachers are super friendly and would love to help you work on any project you want. Come up with many ideas and your art teachers will help you narrow down the options.” Some classes ask for students to put in time outside of class to continue working on what they learn during the school day. Although it may seem like extra work, the extra time outside of class will help you improve on whatever art you choose to pursue, and will prepare you to be more engaged during class. Ava Cho ’22 said, “practicing and doing homework helps with learning music” for Orchestra.
Many students stress that picking the right arts course for you is a crucial part of the process. Cho is currently taking two Arts courses: Orchestra and AP Music Theory. The two courses have worked together to give her a multi-faceted approach to learning music. In Orchestra, she said, “Mr. Smith teaches the class various techniques and coaches us on our playing (fingerings, bowings, dynamics),” while Music Theory “helps broaden my musical knowledge for violin (general playing, sight-reading, etc.).” Liu ’20 suggested picking out a variety of Arts courses: “I highly recommend taking different art classes from fine art to pottery-- explore your options and there will definitely be something for you.”
Because there are so many options, students can pick a course that fits into their schedule as well, to ensure that the course is a time to be enjoyed rather
than a burden. Baum explained, “Many Hopkins art classes are one term, so if you play a sport in the fall, you can take a second-term art, or, if you want, you
can take a second-term art and a first-term history elective you’ve been waiting to take since ninth grade.”
One of the most important aspects of fully embracing any Arts course at Hopkins is going in with an open mind and not worrying about how much experience you have at the beginning. Sawyer Maloney ’21, who enjoys taking drama courses, said, “It doesn’t really matter if you’re good or bad, as long as you think
you’re growing.” Liu agreed: “It doesn’t matter your skill set, I promise you will have a wonderful time.”
Baum emphasized that if you are willing to put in work and enthusiasm, there is an Arts course that “appeals to everyone. Every course is designed to take beginners and to take people who want to study that art for the rest of their life: Hopkins art courses are open to anyone who wants to try something new. Because of this, you can learn just the basics of any art form, or you can stay on a track and further immerse yourself in something you enjoy.” Maloney said that Arts courses are a time to be “with friends and let creativity take its course.”