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Fine Arts Electives


Art: 2D & 3D (SEM)

This class focuses on the process of art making, 2D and 3D art media including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and sculpture. Students will create artwork based on their own ideas through brainstorming, planning, and research. No prior art experience is necessary.

Ceramics (SEM/YR) 

This course is offered to students wishing to work exclusively in clay. Students may take this course up to four times at Desert Shadows Middle School (DSMS). Students will gain skills and experience creating pottery and sculpture from clay. Students will learn the basics and progress towards complex forms.

Advanced Ceramics (SEM/YR) 

Students will continue to develop their skills working with clay to create pottery and sculpture. Students will learn more complex forms of working, such as throwing on the potter’s wheel. Students must have completed Ceramics in semester 1.


Band (YR)  

This beginning band course is offered to students who have little or no experience playing a band instrument (woodwind, brass, or percussion).  Students will perform a minimum of 2 evening concerts.

Concert Band (YR)  

Students must have a minimum of 1 year study on percussion, woodwind, or brass instruments and teacher approval.  Class emphasis will be on developing music reading proficiency and technical skill.  Students will perform a minimum of 2 evening concerts.

Symphonic Band (YR)  

This course is an intermediate to advanced level ensemble for students who have a least 2 years of playing experience in a school music program or private music instruction. Teacher approval is required. Students will perform a minimum of 2 evening concerts during the year. Please email Band Director Julianne Clark for additional information.  

Guitar (SEM)  

Students learn to play guitar and make music together in an ensemble setting. Using a class guitar method book and additional song materials, students will learn to read and interpret traditional music notation, guitar tablature notation, and chord diagrams. DSMS provides acoustic guitars for all students to use at school. Having a guitar at home for practice would be ideal, but is not required.

Orchestra (YR)

This class is offered to students with a minimum of 1 year of violin, viola, cello, or double base. Teacher approval is required. Students will focus on developing music reading proficiency and technical skill. Students will perform a minimum of 2 evening concerts during the year.

Percussion Ensemble (YR)

Students will learn to play snare drum, mallet percussion, auxiliary percussion instruments and more. Students will focus on learning music notation, drum rudiments and making music together as a percussion ensemble. Students will perform a minimum of 2 evening concerts during the year. Students need their own drum practice pads, practice pad stands, drumsticks, and mallets.

Band Academy

By enrolling in the Band Academy, wind and percussion students will become members of the Symphonic Band. Students will study and perform advanced musical techniques in a variety of different styles. This ensemble will challenge students to increase their knowledge of music theory while developing self-confidence, fine motor coordination, and cooperation with other musicians. The Symphonic Band will participate in frequent performances for the school and community and attend musically enriching field trips throughout the year. An audition and an application submission are required for acceptance.


Mixed Choir (SEM)

This class is for 7th-grade boys and girls interested in singing.  The class includes training in choral singing, music theory, sight-singing, ear training, and show choir staging.  There will be 1 performance required outside of class.  For all questions, please email our Chorus Director, Ms. Kahn.


This is an 8th-grade all-girls choir. This full-year show choir participates in all concerts as well as our Anaheim (Disneyland) choir trip in March. Prerequisite is Desert Harmony, Bravo, or Mixed Choir and Musical Theater

Desert Harmony

Desert Harmony is the advanced mixed chorus at Desert Shadows Middle School. Admission is open following a successful vocal audition and admission into the Desert Shadows Middle School Academies of Choir. Students primarily perform two, three, or four-part choral literature from the Medieval through Contemporary musical periods. Students perform in three major concerts per year along with special performances for the community throughout the year. ****** Vocal audition and application submission are required for acceptance.


Bravo is an ensemble specializing in musical theatre literature. Students will study and perform a variety of musical theatre selections. These performances will consist of extensive vocal work and choreography. Students perform in three major concerts over year along with special performances for the community throughout the year. ***** Vocal audition, callback dance audition, and application submission are required for acceptance.

Intro to Musical Theater

This elective is great for the student that is interested in Musical Theater – both on stage and “behind the scenes.” Students will have the opportunity to rehearse, perform, and choreograph projects during the semester. The class will culminate in a performance at our concert. 

Advanced Musical Theater

This class will introduce students to the joys of participating in a show and producing a Broadway Junior musical. Legally Blonde Jr. and High School Musical Jr. are examples of past shows. Prerequisite is Intro to Musical Theater, Bravo, or Desert Harmony. Teacher approval if a student is in Mixed Choir.


Drama (SEM) 

This course is designed to inspire the student who wishes to develop a love and appreciation of the theater. The class is structured to provide the students with a basis in theatre skills, to offer a creative outlet, and to produce well-rounded performers. There will be at least one performance opportunity during the year outside of school for students to demonstrate what they have learned and to experience the exhilaration of the interaction between actors and audience.

Advanced Drama (SEM) 

Students will expand on the foundation built in drama. Students will explore developing characters, play analysis, audition techniques, inner monologue, and more. Students will enjoy a unit on musical theatre and historical aspects of theatre. Students must have completed Drama as a prerequisite.

Visual Arts Academy

The Visual Art Academy at Desert Shadows allows students to study art year long, for their full two years in middle school. The curriculum begins in 7th grade with an emphasis in skill building in observational life drawing, linear perspective, advanced color theory, and utilizing new media such as studio grade acrylic paints, printmaking of various types, sculpture, and ceramics. As the first year progresses students are introduced to "Design Process Thinking," and begin to increasingly develop their own ideas based on themes and creative restraints. By the time they move into 8th grade, students are working with complex themes more conceptual in nature. Academy students participate in one art related field trip in both 7th and 8th grade.