Visual and Performing Arts Academy

  • Larkin High School is the home of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy. Students with special interests in and talent for dance, music, visual art or drama will flourish in this program. While the program has a focus on the arts, it centers on educating the whole student.

    The District U-46 Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPAA) is available to any eighth grade student within the district. Students are invited to apply and audition for selection into this four-year performance-based program in the focus areas of dance, drama, visual art and vocal and instrumental music.

    The Visual and Performing Arts Academy allows students to:
    • Explore a wide variety of arts areas 
    • Focus on one in-depth area 
    • Develop and express their talents through performance and presentation 
    • Create in a supportive, nurturing environment 
    • Experience the interconnection between art and the world around them

    The mission of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy is to provide artistically talented students with a comprehensive arts-based education. This academy offers an education utilizing multiple approaches to learning with a fine arts focus. This focus targets problem-solving skills, the creative process, imagination and an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

    The academy has been recognized by the Grammy Foundation as a 2000-2001 Grammy Signature School for its excellence in music education and by the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education as the 2000 Service Recognition Award winner for the VPAA program.
     
    To find out more about the selection criteria for the Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

Criteria for the Visual and Performing Arts Academy

  • Application and entrance requirements:

    • One-page student handwritten essay 
    • Two teacher letters of recommendation (one must be arts specific) 
    • Portfolio review (visual arts pieces) or audition (dance, drama, music) 


    Dance audition 
    Each student applying for admission in Dance Focus will be asked to: 

    • Participate in a class, which will consist of ballet barre and center work. 
    • Choreograph and perform a piece for the selection committee. Audition piece should be from one to two minutes in length, with music to be chosen by the student. Pick a dance style from the list below: 
      •    Ballet 
      •    Modern 
      •    Jazz/Lyrical 
      •    Tap 


    Drama audition 
    Each student applying for admission in Drama Focus will be asked to do the following: 

    • Prepare and perform two (2) one to three minute monologues with contrasting themes. 
    • Perform a cold reading of material provided by the selection committee. A cold reading includes reading a story or script without preparation. Material will be provided at the audition. 
    • Perform a short improvisation based on a subject or theme suggested by the selection committee at the audition. 
    • Answer several interview questions by the selection committee. 


    Instrumental music audition 
    Each student applying for admission to the Instrumental Music Focus area will be asked to do the following:

    • Brass and Woodwind 
      • Prepare and perform the required etude for your instrument. 
      • Prepare and perform both sides of the required scale sheet for your instrument.
      • Sight-read a short excerpt provided by the selection committee at the audition. 
    • Orchestral String Instruments 
      • Prepare and perform the required etude for your instrument. 
      • Prepare and perform scales from the ILMEA District IX Junior High Orchestra Scale Sheet. 
      • Sight-read a short excerpt provided by the selection committee at the audition. 
    • Percussion Instruments 
      • Prepare and perform the three required etudes listed in packet for timpani, mallets and snare drum. 
      • Play the following major scales from memory on the xylophone:  A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb. Scales should be played two octaves in quarter notes at a minimum tempo of quarter note-120 beats per minute. 
      • Sight-read three short excerpts on the following instruments: timpani, mallets and snare drum. 


    Visual Art Portfolio Review 

    • All original work should be presented in a portfolio case. In your interview you will be asked about your work, your ideas, inspirations and what you would like to learn. 
    • A portfolio is a continuing record of your artistic development. When you apply for admission to this Academy, a portfolio with examples of your best artwork is required. Always remember to show a variety of your work in your portfolio. Emphasize your strongest area of talent, but make sure to include samples of different techniques and media. 
    • Your portfolio may contain the following items: drawings, paintings, graphic designs, calligraphy, printmaking, photographs, ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, sketches and computer art. 
    • Presentation is important – matting of 2-D work is the best way to show your work. 
    • During the interview you will also be asked to create one drawing that is based on an idea suggested by the committee. 

     

    Vocal Music Audition 

    Each student applying for admission in Vocal Music Focus will be asked to do the following: 

    • Prepare and perform a memorized vocal solo with accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided. No recorded accompaniment will be allowed. Standard contest literature is desired: traditional, folk or art songs. Pop or show tunes are not acceptable. The traditional hymn “Simple Gifts” is provided in the audition packet. If you decide to sing a different piece, bring three copies of the solo for the selection with numbered measures. 
    • Sight-sing a short excerpt provided by the selection committee at the audition. 
    • Sing one tonal memory pattern provided at the audition.


    Applicants are evaluated on the following: 

    • Essay 
    • Recommendations 
    • Interview and portfolio review or audition 
    • Application and transcript