November 25th, 2003
Designing Another Juilliard
Procedures for Teachers


Media Components

Computer Resources:

  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM and/or Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
  • Software: Any presentation software such as Power Point or Hyperstudio (optional)

Bookmarked sites:

TIP: Prior to teaching, bookmark all of the Web sites used in the lesson and create a word processing document listing all of the links. Preview all sites and the American Masters episode before presenting them to the class.

NOTE: Students will be expected to search different Web sites based on the type of school they choose to design. They will also be expected to search the Internet for photos to include in their pamphlet or presentation.


Students will need the following supplies:

  • Large newsprint paper to storyboard their PowerPoint presentation during brainstorming sessions
  • Handouts of Web resources if computers are not available in the classroom
  • Markers
  • Pens and/or pencils


Introductory Activity: Understanding the idea of a “mission”

1. Ask students the following question: “What is a personal mission statement?” Lead a general class discussion about what a mission statement is. You may wish to direct the discussion to cover the following: A mission statement should be a “compass” of sorts – something that is a source of guidance about one’s values, principles, and about what matters most to a person. A mission statement should be succinct (often one sentence long). A mission statement can help you understand who you want to be, what you want to do in the short- and long-term, and how you want to achieve your goals.

2. Print out a copy of a personal mission statement from, a Web site that helps people focus their goals in their job search. Share these mission statements with the students and talk about the general themes that run through all of them.

3. Give students about ten minutes to create a mission statement for themselves.

4. Call on a few students to share their personal mission statements.

5. Next, introduce the idea of mission statements for institutions such as schools, non-profit organizations and clubs. Does your school have a mission statement? If so, write it on the board and work with the students to dissect the language of the mission statement. If your school does not have a mission statement, choose one of the following organizations and discuss their statements.

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters – The mission of Big Brothers/Big Sisters is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth, primarily through a professionally-supported, one-to-one relationship with a caring adult, and to assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become confident, competent, and caring individuals, by providing committed volunteers, national leadership and standards of excellence.

  • American Red Cross – The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

  • Chicago Bulls – The Chicago Bulls organization is a sports entertainment company dedicated to winning NBA Championships, growing new basketball fans, and providing superior entertainment, value and service.

  • United Way – The mission of the United Way is to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.

Learning Activities:

1. Introduce the Juilliard lesson to the students. Ask if any of the students have ever heard of Juilliard. If not, tell them that Juilliard is a world-renowned conservatory of music, drama, and dance. Explain to students that they will be watching a video about the Juilliard School.

2. Tell students about the culminating project of the lesson. Working in groups of three to four people, students will create their own fictional top-notch school that promotes excellence in a discipline of their choice. In these groups, students should select the type of school that they would like to create. Below are some ideas to choose from. If students have other ideas, they should run them by you to make sure that their topics are not too broad.

  • culinary school
  • fashion
  • architecture
  • hotel
  • education

3. Before beginning the project, students will view an episode from the American Masters series about the Juilliard School. Lead a brainstorming session about some of the things that students should pay attention to as they view the program. Then, distribute the “Questions about the Juilliard School” organizer and point out any elements/questions that were not raised during the brainstorming session. The list of questions is presented in step 3 below; students’ answers to these questions will be useful as they start designing their own school.

4. After watching the film, students should be able to answer the following questions. If there are any questions that students missed, they can seek the answers at the Juilliard School’s Web site:

  • Where is the school located?
  • What is the school’s mission statement?
  • What are the major departments of the school?
  • What are the special or unique classes that students remember from their years at the school?
  • What are the characteristics of the students who attend the school?
  • What does the school look for in its faculty?
  • What is the class size?
  • What are the general requirements to get in?
  • What is student life like?
  • What is residential life like?
  • What is the campus like?
  • What is the history of the school?
  • What facilities are available for students to use to hone their skills and techniques?
  • What are the tuition and fees?

5. Just before viewing the program, the teacher will conduct a short lesson based on a reading strategy known as “Guided Reading.” Guided reading — traditionally used at the elementary level, but adapted for use with older students in this lesson — is an instructional strategy for teaching small groups of students to read fluently and with comprehension. The guided reading lesson is generally brief and focuses on the needs of individual students. Guided reading is based on heavy teaching BEFORE students actually read the text to introduce ideas and concepts they will encounter, light teaching DURING reading to avoid distractions, and HEAVY teaching after students complete the selection to assess the comprehension level.

    a. Ask students what they know about the Juilliard School and its students.

    • What is the reputation of the school?
    • What types of students attend the school?
    • What departments exist at the school?
    • There should be a brief discussion about this to answer all of the questions and to give the students an idea about what they will be reading about.

    b. Have students read Frank Rich’s essay about Juilliard from the American Masters site: Distribute photocopies so that students can read the essay out loud to each other in small groups of 2 or 3.

    c. Then ask the following questions to assess their comprehension of the essay.

    • Frank Rich uses the phrase “high standards” throughout his foreword. What does the phrase mean?
    • What does it mean to create a school that brings “high standards” to every performing arts arena?
    • Remind the students that this is the most important concept in the program and that they should be thinking about how their fictional school would achieve “high standards.”

6. View the program. For students’ initial viewing, it may be a good idea to pause the video after each department of Juilliard is featured in order to allow for discussion. Students may also use the time to take notes with the “Questions about the Juilliard School” organizer.

7. In their groups, students should brainstorm some of the characteristics that would be held by any institution promoting excellence in a discipline.

8. Using the questions that they answered as a guideline, they will need to plan, design and create a school of their own. Hand out the “Fictional School of Excellence” rubric.

Culminating Activity/Assessment:
The students’ culminating assignment will be to create a PowerPoint presentation or a pamphlet introducing their new “elite” school to the public. Before students begin researching and organizing material for this presentation, distribute the Fictional School of Excellence Rubric and go through each of the criteria with them, making sure they understand what is required.

Share the following tips with students as they research and design their schools:

  • Students should search the Internet for photographs and graphics that they can use in their presentations.
  • Students should explore examples of culinary, fashion, architecture, hotel management, and education schools to generate ideas for their own schools.
  • Remind students that this is a proposal for a new school and they need to think about the broader picture. Focus on the mission and vision of the school, the types of students, faculty and classes, for example.
  • Students should pay close attention to the interviews about the creation of the Drama Division under the direction of John Houseman in 1968. They should devote equal attention to the interviews about the Dance Division established under the direction of Martha Hill in 1951. What was the school hoping to create when it established these divisions? What were some of their concerns about standards of excellence? How did the institution cope with differing philosophies about each art form? (Note: If possible, have a VCR and a tape of the American Masters episode about Juilliard available for students to use in class as they prepare their final assignment.)
  • Students should pay close attention to the interviews with dance students hoping to gain admission to the school. What are the interviewers looking for?
  • Students should be as creative as possible.
  • Students should cite all of the resources they use.


  • A Readers’ Theater lesson — In the American Masters episode about Juilliard, students perform a reading from a scene in William Shakespeare’s HAMLET. The students should watch this clip (about two-thirds of the way through the episode) as a class. The class will then discuss what the instructor is looking for from his students. Responses should include comments about how the reader is expected to “develop” the character through emotions and inflection. Their project will be to take a scene from HAMLET and perform a dramatic reading (no acting) the way the students did in the class. In this lesson, students will perform the scene by using a reading strategy called Reader’s Theater.
  • The lesson above can easily be adapted for eighth graders as well. Instead of focusing on a particular discipline, eighth graders can design a high school of their choice. Some eighth graders have to apply for independent and/or high schools, while others automatically attend their local public school. Either way, these students will have ideas about what their ideal high school will be like. The same questions will apply.
  • A Guided Reading lesson using an excerpt from Leslie Gourse’s WYNTON MARSALIS: SKAIN’S DOMAIN: A BIOGRAPHY. Wynton Marsalis is a clear, though exceptional, example of the type of student that Juilliard is looking for. The teacher may use Chapter 4, “Wynton Comes North,” from the biography, which was published by Schirmer Books. Only the first three pages include information about Juilliard. However, the rest of the chapter does offer insight into how he pursues his passion, hones his talent and how he influences and is influenced by artists around him.
    • Before reading the chapter, ask the students to brainstorm ideas about what Juilliard looks for in a student. What does a musician have to do to make it to Juilliard?
    • The students should take turns reading the chapter out loud in small groups. When there are questions, they should ask each other for help.
    • When students have completed the chapter, ask the following questions to see if they understand it.
      1. How do we know that Wynton Marsalis is a talented musician based on the interviews with people who listened to his auditions?
      2. Why are people so convinced of his talents?
      3. How did his audition with the Juilliard School turn out?
      4. How did Marsalis practice and why did he do it that way?
      5. How did Marsalis influence his friends? Why was this significant given his lack of training up to that point?
      6. Was Juilliard the only place for Marsalis to learn about music?
      7. What did Justin Cohen, a trumpet player and Marsalis’ best friend at Tanglewood, mean when he said, “We were both trumpet players. But for me — imagine, if you were in Renaissance Italy, and you’re interested in painting, and you meet this kid whose name is Leonardo. He talks about painting, sculpture, flying machines… I knew he was broadening my mind and my experience from the time I met him.” Who is the Leonardo that he is referring to? Is this an appropriate comparison?

Community Connections:

  • College Admissions – Doing this project should help students, especially seniors, in their college search. After viewing the American Masters episode, students should think about what colleges may be looking for in their applicants.

Inside This Lesson


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