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Arts and Culture students learn from the experts

Dec 23, 2014

Arts and Culture students learn from the experts

Performing Arts & Communication Technology (PACT) students at Nelson High School don’t always know what to expect from their classes, but they do know it will be exciting. In November they had the opportunity to travel to Toronto to learn from industry leaders in a hands-on Foley and sound recording workshop at the TIFF Lightbox Theatre.

Students went “behind the scenes” to hear how the sound effects on screen really come about before stepping into the driver’s seat to try the technology for themselves. The room was littered with wooden blocks, pieces of fabric and torn sheets of cardboard as students figured out most effective way to emulate footsteps on carpet or the opening and closing of a door. They learned that the more things change, the more they stay the same – advanced electronics are no substitute for the intuition of a good sound engineer.

In the second half of the day-long training, music students got their chance to shine as they learned how musical forms such as volume, tone, and key changes can impact emotions and set a specific mood. Again the students were taking things into their own hands when they broke into groups and used tablets to create and layer a musical soundtrack for a visual opening sequence.

This year’s PACT students, aged 16-18 years, have very diverse interests, ranging from musical composition for video game soundtrack, music and film production technology, costume design, and theatre performance. Application to this unique program is open to all HDSB students and includes an interview process with teachers Marsha King (music), Duncan Warrener (communications technology), and Marisa Cavataio (drama) to assess potential students’ interests and commitment. Once accepted, students choose a focus in music, dramatic arts, or creative technology, but opportunities like this field trip allow them to delve into other aspects of the program and work together as a group.

PACT students are certainly not afraid of hard work, as depending on their focus they could take part in producing 3 complete shows, experience film-making from start to finish, and compose and perform original music. Their intense schedule requires commitment and collaboration both inside and outside the classroom.

Beyond the specific skills, real-world training, and industry-recognized certifications, drama teacher Marissa Cavataio notes that the true benefit of SHSM programs is that they let students tap into their passions and give them a chance to excel – and whether or not they choose to pursue a career in that field, they will come out of high school with a sense of confidence.

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Tags: SHSM
Category: HDSB

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