The right side of learning

Registration is hard. Looking through those lists of classes involves a lot of careful thought – and there’s always the chance that you’ll choose wrong and end up with a class you hate by the middle of the semester. For those who would rather play guitar or pick up a paintbrush than conjugate verbs or solve equations their freshman year, The Hatchet arts team has compiled a list of the best classes for freshmen who are more inclined to use the right side of their brain.

Intro to Acting (TRDA 14)

This class is full of various levels of performers, from kids who’ve been in Broadway shows as children to students who don’t even recognize the name “Ethel Merman.” It’s fun, a great way to meet people, and you play games in almost every class. Yet despite the games and fun, you will learn that acting is not as easy as it looks, and this class does take work and preparation (contrary to popular belief). However, if you are a serious theater student, declare your theater major so that you can be placed in a more advanced course with students who not only know Ethel Merman, but aspire to be her.

Physical Performance Skills

As theater legend/goddess, Stella Adler puts it, “As actors, our instruments are our bodies.” Therefore, we must learn how to use them. Physical Performance Skills is separated into various physical aspects of the theatre including mime work, neutral mask work, stage combat and clown. The thought of rolling around on mats and learning how to punch someone without hurting him is incredibly enticing to just about anyone. This class is very challenging and has the potential to prompt you to re-evaluate the way you act, physically. Always wanted to learn how to stab someone on stage? We’ve got your class right here.

History of World Cinema 1 (FILM 153)

Just what it sounds like: the first 50 years of film history. Not thrilled by the thought of silent film? It’s handled in a fun way through the use of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, two of the greatest silent comedians. Plus, this is a required class for film studies minors, and likely the best for incoming freshmen to take.

American Cinema (AH 157/AMST 192)

Though this class counts as both an art history and American studies class, it’s a film class all the way through. The class covers American film through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on the golden age of Hollywood. A bonus: most of the movies you watch are on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best films ever. Professor Jim Deutsch also occasionally dresses according to what will be screened that day. Ever had a professor show up in cowboy regalia for a class?

Drawing 1 (FA 41/42)

This basic drawing class is a refreshing break from routine class work because the projects are mainly self-directed.

Even students with no artistic skill should see themselves blossom as they experiment with different techniques, perform various practice exercises and draw from live models of all shapes and sizes.

Elements of Music Theory (MUS 1)

Sure, you love music – but how does it work? What is it about music that makes us feel good? For anyone who has ever wanted to learn how to read music or build chords, this class offers a thorough lesson in how music is structured.

For students who like to use the left side of their brain, this class will force you to use the same deductive reasoning found in math and science classes to learn the basics of music theory. While it might help to have a background from high school in voice or on an instrument, anyone who is willing to learn is free to take the class.

Survey of Western Art (AH 31/32)

If seeing “The DaVinci Code” piqued your interest in art history, the department’s two survey courses might be for you. The courses will start you on the road to taking more art history courses and could introduce you to topics you’d like to explore further.

AH 31, the first half of the class, takes students around the world and shows them art of prehistoric cultures, as well as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Celts, among others. AH 32, the second half of the course, picks up where the previous class leaves off and features art from the early Renaissance through the Baroque period.

The classes don’t have to be taken in order and usually have very enthusiastic professors. A word to the wise: the classes can include a lot of memorization – but they’re well worth the extra effort. And remember, there’s more to art history than figuring out Mary Magdalene’s role in “The Last Supper.”

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