New schedule makes time for the arts


Staff Writer

Symphonic Orchestra students rehearse during first period with conductor Mrs. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.)

After University High School (UHS) created its new seven-period schedule, the majority of arts students can now take their art classes, including visual and performing arts, during the regular bell schedule rather than after school. For many UHS students, the new schedule simply means taking two classes after lunch and sleeping half an hour longer in the morning (unless they take a zero period, in which case they have a half an hour less). But to arts students, the new schedule means much more. Students now have to take up a period for art classes because the rehearsal times have moved from afterschool to during the day. Ian Kiyoshi (Sr.), a choir student, said, “[The new schedule] made it easier to take my arts classes because I don’t have to take them after school.”
Holding performing arts classes during the school day splits up rehearsal time into smaller, daily segments but increases the overall weekly rehearsal time. Prior to the schedule change, orchestra and choir classes rehearsed after school; for example, Concert Orchestra rehearsed from 5 PM-7:45 PM twice a week. Ms. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), conductor of the UHS orchestras, said, “I think the new schedule will help improve the orchestra program. Having the orchestra program during the school day makes it feel like a real class.”
The schedule also makes it easier for students to pursue other extracurricular activities by clearing up afterschool hours in the weekdays that would have been spent on rehearsal. Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Sydney Mariano (Sr.) said, “Honestly, I felt that the new schedule benefitted me since I will be pursuing music as my career. I know that last year, it was really hard for me to find time since my schedule was so tight, but now I can have from three hours up to five hours of practice.”
On the downside, there are some students who now find it difficult to take all of their desired classes. “Because of this change I have lost all of my wind and percussionist players in Symphony Orchestra. It is rare for a high school to even have a full symphony orchestra so I hope to be able to have that again in the near future,” Lee said. Although the new schedule was meant to clear up more classes in the day for artists, band members are required to take two periods of band in a day if they want to remain in marching band, and band members who have performed with the orchestra in previous years as an after school class are unable to take part because it is now part of the seven-period school day. Assistant Drum Major Jonathan Myong (Jr.) said, “There’s definitely a discrepancy between what the administration wanted and what students wanted out of a ‘schedule change.’ I also think the administration should have looked more closely at the little things like how making all the classes within seven periods could actually limit how many arts you take.”
The theory behind the changes in arts rehearsals is that more rehearsal time helps the students improve more quickly, and therefore leads to an overall higher level of achievement. Ms. Ranae Bettger (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) said, “Raw talent will still thrive but new folks will gain the skills they need to be competitive.” Overall, more students have enrolled in arts classes compared to previous years’s enrollment. Mrs. Dana Kramer (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) said, “In previous years we had two sections of Visual Imagery, this year we have three.” Theater student Kathy Flores (Jr.) said, “Arts kids (specifically students involved in performing arts) are used to staying at school for long hours, and for them, the zero period doesn’t really change that. I still favor our old schedule, which would’ve allowed me to take more classes like Tech Theater or Madrigals but for visual arts kids this seems like a better alternative.”
The new schedule is the first step in UHS’s movement to become more accomodating towards arts students. Band Executive Council President Grace Xu (Sr.) said, “I definitely believe Uni’s culture needs to change to not only accommodate, but also respect the arts more. To be honest, I think it’s too soon to tell whether this schedule will achieve that, but I know I’ve actually been enjoying the new schedule, even with the zero period.”