Portfolio Projects for Fine Arts at TPA

Students of the Fine Arts at TPA participate in portfolio projects.  This is in compliance with state board of education requirements.  The portfolio project is in addition to the pre-test and post test structure.

The pre-test and post-test structure is an apples-to-apples, quantitative comparison to assess students’ progress through the course of the semester: students take almost the same written test (apples-to-apples) at the beginning and ending of the semester, resulting in a numeric (quantitative) assessment of student progress.

The portfolio project is not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison and it is more qualitative (descriptive) than the pre-test and post-test comparison.  The singing quizzes and the concert performance are examples of opportunities for qualitative assessment.

Samples of students’ work, called “artifacts,” are stored electronically and used to assess both individual student progress and teacher performance qualitatively.  In music class, we plan for four artifacts:

  • Artifact 1: about the 3rd week of class, singing quiz
  • Artifact 2: about the end of the first quarter, singing quiz
  • Artifact 3: near the end of the semester, public concert of the whole class
  • Artifact 4: on the final examination, each student’s written self-assessment of what has been learned that is of value

Since music class investigates both music theory and performance, we will assess students’ work in both areas.  The primary assessment of music theory is done through the written pre-test and post-test, and is quantitative.  The primary assessment of performance is done through the portfolio, and is qualitative.  The TPA administration and the state use both assessments of student achievement to evaluate teacher effectiveness.

Performances (Artifacts 1, 2, and 3) are recorded on video.

Procedures for Artifacts 1 and 2 likely are as follows:

  1. The entire class sings the song to be used in the portfolio
  2. One at a time, students sing a phrase or two of the song for the camera
  3. The entire class sings the song again, in the nature of a refrain

Students and teacher use the same rubric for assessing singing quizzes, including Artifacts 1-3.  Students assess their own performances (not their colleagues’).  The rubric is in the course description and is handed out the day of the singing quiz.

On request, videos are available for students to view themselves.  Parents also may see their student’s performance on request.

Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Brings World Class Performers

Producer Catherine Hayden has a special place in her heart for TPA students, since her daughter is among our former students.  Ms. Hayden is the inspiration and organizing force behind the Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series, which brings world-class chamber performers to the East Valley.  Her affection for our students demonstrates itself every year with discounted tickets and special opportunities.

There is nothing quite like exquisite chamber music: amazing performers, playing together, in an intimate setting so personal you can practically reach out and touch them.

Here is what she wrote to me: “The Sunday afternoon series continues in the TCA Gallery.  A reception follows where everyone can meet the artists.  Students pay $10 and parents and staff pay the series package price of $20, reduced from $25.  Call the TCA Box Office on 480-350-2822 for the least expensive ticketing fee of $1.  Online, the best way is to click on the ‘Buy Tickets’ button on my website for a $3 ticketing fee.  Adults accompanying students must quote ‘charter school’ to get the $20 price.”

All concerts in this series are suitable for review for music classes.

Beethoven’s Fifth on a Graph

A visual representation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Movement 1 is here.  I showed it in my music classes.  The most common comment from the students was that they had no idea of the complexity of the music until they saw the graph displaying in real time what the orchestra was doing.  About 8 minutes.  Enjoy!

Concerts for review now available

The list of concerts suitable for review is now available.  Go to the Music Class Downloads page and click on Concerts Suitable for Review.

All TPA music class students are required to review two live, classical concerts each semester.  The performers are to be college age and above.  The list includes 60 different performances from which students may choose two.  Concerts range in price from free to $25 and more.

Both reviews are due by Friday, December 11, 2015, 3:00 p.m. and are to be reported on the provided form

Appreciating Beauty Speech

This week I delivered a speech to the TPA Parent Advisory Council on beauty and how to appreciate it.  The text of the speech, entitled “Appreciating Beauty: Discovering Beauty through the Fine Arts” is available here.  Your comments and thoughts are welcome.

The speech is one of a series of speeches to be delivered to the council by TPA faculty or administration on the three pillars of our school, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

Beauty Speech to PAC

I was invited to deliver a speech on Beauty to our Parents Advisory Council on Thursday, August 13, 7:00 p.m. in Room 303.  I plan to post the speech and illustrations online following the speech.

While space is limited, I invite parents and students who are interested to attend my portion of the evening.

Register for TPA Performing Arts

Register to participate in Performing Arts at TPA!

Note: registration for the spring musical, My Fair Lady, will occur in the spring semester.

Registration is required of all participants and includes both the form linked above and $100 per year ($50 per semester).

Online fee payment is available here.  Scroll down to find the words, “Is this a payment for a fine or fee?”  Click through and follow the instructions.

TPA Music Groups Begin Next Week!

Cantamus, Sinfonia, Bel Canto, Beginning Strings

Music ensembles begin next week at their regular rehearsal times:

  • Cantamus: Tuesday and Thursday, 7am – 8am  Cantamus registration form click here
  • Sinfonia: Monday and Wednesday, 7am – 8am
  • Beginning Strings: Friday, 7am – 8am
  • Bel Canto: Monday, 3pm – 4pm

All groups meet in the Zelman Center

  • Bel Canto (junior high) Choir: no audition required, for all students interested in learning to sing in ensemble.  Mrs. Rey marlynnrey@msn.com directing
  • Beginning Strings: no audition required, open to all grades, is designed for complete beginners up to those who have played a string instrument for a year or less.  Mrs. Wilkison lwilkison@tempeprep.org  directing
  • Sinfonia Orchestra: audition required, our organization for all orchestral instruments (including saxophone).  Mrs. Wilkison lwilkison@tempeprep.org directing, Monday and Wednesday, 7 – 8 am
  • Cantamus (high school) choir: audition required, our varsity choir with an active performance schedule.  Mrs. Rey  marlynnrey@msn.com directing, Tuesday and Thursday 7 – 8 am

All interested students are invited to visit the first rehearsal

Registration and $50/semester fee is required.  Cantamus singers purchase their concert attire at $35-$80.

Instrumental lockers are provided for a nominal fee.

Performance schedule:


  • ASU Choral Workshop, 9/19/15
  • Performing Arts Fundraising Event, 11/21/15
  • Spring Concert, 4/26/16
  • Spring Trip to Disney Advanced Choral Workshop, 4/29-5/1/16 (additional fee required)


  • Performing Arts Fundraising Event, 11/21/15
  • Spring Concert, 4/26/16
  • Graduation, 5/19/16

Bel Canto and Beginning Strings

  • Winter Concert, 12/8/15
  • Spring Concert, TBD

About the Directors
Mrs. Lenore Wilkison has taught music at Tempe Prep since 2010, following a 30-year career as a professional violinist with the Phoenix Symphony.  She holds bachelors and masters degrees in music, violin performance, and elementary education.  Two of her three children attended Tempe Prep.

Mrs. Marlynn Rey received a Bachelor of Music from a Canadian College with a piano major and voice minor.  She produced one CD for her vocal group “Hosanna” in 2010 and is in the final stages of completing their second CD.  Mrs. Rey is a composer whose most recent compositions have been performed by The Brooklyn Community Chorus in New York (May 2015) and will be performed by the prestigious a cappella group Cantilena in Phoenix this fall.

Please contact the directors with questions.