High School Division

2017 Electives

The Summer Music Academy is unique in offering an extensive list of music and non-music electives. For students considering a career in music, these electives offer an array of experiences that will hone interests and provide new musical experiences typically not available in most summer music programs.

Electives are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration information will be sent via email to all parents before enrollment opens. Posted electives subject to change depending upon interest and enrollment. Students must choose "practice time" for at least one elective period.

Elective Schedule:

Elective Period 1 Elective Period 2 Elective Period 3
Introduction to the Piano Introduction to the Piano - Pop Piano Styles Introduction to Singing *
Performance Anxiety Coaching The Musicals of Stephen Sondheim The Sounds You See - How Music is Used in Films
Introduction to Sound Recording Introduction to Sound Recording Beethoven Symphonies: Then and Now
A World of Sound - Survey of Music From Other Cultures Music and the Mind Brass Instrument Repair
Introduction to Acting Introduction to Theater Improvisation Introduction to Partner Acrobatics
Intermediate Conducting Techniques Juggling for Musicians Jazz Tune Writing
Jazz Improvisation and Standards I * Jazz Improvisation and Standards II Beginning Hand Drum Skills for Musicians
Beginning Conducting Techniques Steel Band for Beginners Electronics for Acoustic Musicians
The Road to College Preparedness Improvisation Made Easy: Using Pop Music to Improve Basic Improvisational Skills Introduction to Composition
Practice Time

Introduction to Composition

Practice Time
  Practice Time  

* : Some restrictions apply, see below

 Elective Descriptions

Beethoven Symphonies:  Then and Now

This class is an introduction to Beethoven’s nine symphonies. As we get to know these pieces, we will discuss the historical context of these works as well as how these compositions are used in contemporary popular culture.  Instructor – Crystal Peebles

Improvisation Made Easy: Using Pop Music to Improve Basic Improvisational Skills 

Many young musicians have yet to learn to improvise and find the task daunting due to complex chord symbols and difficult progressions. Others want to learn, but have no idea where to start. This elective course will use pop tunes as an easy and simple way to introduce students to spontaneously improvising on their instrument. During this course, students will develop both aural and technical skills while performing along with their favorite songs. Students do not need any previous experience with improvisation and all instruments/voices are welcome.  Instructor – Benjamin Rochford

Introduction to Theater Improvisation

This elective introduces students to the craft of actor improvisation by exploring focused theatre games and physical theatre exercises. Students will be required to participate actively and think on their feet in this interactive, challenging, and fun class. Improvisation will help students to increase their stage presence, boost confidence in acting abilities, and learn to be a trustworthy teammate.  Instructor – Jennifer Herzog

The Sounds You See - How Music is Used in Film

 This elective examines various ways music is used in movies. Using a variety of short movie clips, we’ll look at how music is used to set a mood or provide atmosphere, reflect emotion or project underlying psychological aspects, reinforce or contrast with the action on the screen, suggest new story dimensions or provide a composer’s comment, build a sense of continuity throughout the story, and otherwise help a film memorable and marketable. Other uses will be covered as time permits. (Due to the time of day, popcorn will not be provided---sorry!)  Instructor - John White

A World of Sound – Survey of Music From Other Cultures

 This elective explores musical traditions from around the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, India, Japan, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, and others as time permits. Activities will highlight materials, structures, sounds, and cultural contexts surrounding the music presented. Ideally, students will learn to identify the unique style features that characterize each of these traditions.  Instructor – John White

Juggling for Musicians

Juggling has been proven to improve dexterity, executive function, and hand eye coordination.  For total newbies or experienced jugglers, this class will ensure that you develop your skills and get to work on new patterns and props. Each session will include fun and helpful hand and arm warm ups that are easily translated to musicianship as well as an investigation of Site Swap - a notation created for jugglers to push the boundaries of what is possible within juggling pattern creation.  Instructor - Circus Culture

Introduction to Partner Acrobatics

Learn the fundamentals of partner acrobatic pyramids. Class will start with a cardio warm up and active flexibility exercises to ensure you feel safe accessing your range of motion. We will focus on learning base and flyer shapes through games and drills, and then take them to the air and learn various partner and group pyramids. Class will be rooted in learning techniques and tricks, and then translating those skills into to be creative acrobatic choreography. Safety and progressions are the top priority in this class, which will allow you to see the world from a new and different perspective.  Instructor - Circus Culture

Electronics for Acoustic Musicians

This elective covers the basics of using music-related electric equipment, aimed towards those who have absolutely no experience. The class will begin with identifying cables, using a mixer and PA system, various amplification types, and then processing the amplified sounds with guitar effects.  The goal is to make the use of electronics fun and exciting, not scary, and provide significant knowledge to bring back to the band, orchestra, or choir room.  Open to anyone regardless of instrument/voice.  Instructor – Josh Oxford

Introduction to Singing *

A class designed to explore the art of singing through the study and performance of vocal literature.  Students will work on basic functional vocal technique through attention to posture, breathing, tonal onset, vowel purity, reduction of inhibitory physical tensions, and body coordination.  Course content is designed for the beginner singer.  Open to non-vocalists only.  Instructor – Lynn Craver

Beginning Hand Drum Skills for Musicians

All participants will learn to play hand drums and explore the culture and music of drumming from around the world.  Instructor – Conrad Alexander

Introduction to Acting

Introduction to Acting will focus on developing beginning acting skills through theatre games, ensemble exercises, improvisation and open scene work. No previous experience necessary.  Instructor – Jennifer Herzog

Jazz Improvisation and Standards I *

Students will learn the basic elements of how to improvise and compose an effective jazz solo. No previous experience in jazz or improvisation required. Open to non-jazz students only.   Instructors – Nikola Tomić, Nick Weiser

Jazz Improvisation and Standards II

Students will learn more advanced techniques of how to improvise and compose an effective jazz solo, such as playing over more challenging harmonies and more difficult songs. For students with previous jazz and/or improvisation experience.  Instructors – Nikola Tomić, Nick Weiser

Steel Band for Beginners

All participants will learn to play the drums and explore the culture and music of the Caribbean.  Instructor – Conrad Alexander

Beginning Conducting Techniques

This course is designed to equip the student with the fundamental skills of conducting, including baton position, left hand technique, score reading and preparation, transposition and rehearsal procedure. Members of the class will also function as the ensemble and each person will have the opportunity to conduct the ensemble.   Instructors - Matthew Sadowski,  Patrick O’Connell, Kristen Zaryski

Intermediate Conducting Techniques

Designed for students who succeeded in last year's Basic Conducting Techniques class. Students will review the fundamental skills of conducting, including baton position, left hand technique, score reading and preparation, transposition and rehearsal procedure while learning more advanced conducting pedagogy. Members of the class will also function as the ensemble and each person will have the opportunity to conduct the ensemble. This course is available to only students who took the beginning course last summer.  Instructor – Andrew Benware

Introduction to the Piano

Students who have limited experience playing the piano will have the opportunity to learn the basics.  Instructor – Jennifer Pham

Introduction to the Piano - Pop Piano Styles

Go from zero experience to playing your favorite popular songs in 2 short weeks! Learn basic skills of using 2 hands, reading chord symbols, playing simple melodies, and becoming acquainted with basic patterns found in the popular music of today and classics of the past. Participants will be encouraged to play and sing or accompany a vocalist on a song of their choice.  Instructor – Mary Holzhauer

Introduction to Sound Recording Technology

Students will learn basic recording concepts that will include cable and connector identification, interconnecting of audio equipment, microphone technology, live sound, and remote recording techniques.  Instructor – Michael Caporizzo

The Musical Mind

Have you ever wondered why music gets stuck in your head? Or why we like to listen to sad music? Or why music can cause emotional experiences? In this elective we will explore the relationship between music, psychology, and neuroscience. We will explore current literature in music cognition, music education, and music therapy.  Instructor - Crystal Peebles

Introduction to Composition

Students will be instructed in the most fundamental aspects of music composition through listening, discussion, and analysis.  Throughout the course, they will complete one small individual project, and work collaboratively on one final group composition.  The final result will be a theme and variations in which each student will provide a short variation on a given theme. The course intends to stimulate the student's musical and compositional intuition.  Instructors – Katherine Ballantyne, Jacob Walsh

Jazz Tune Writing

Basic techniques of tune writing will be presented and explored in relation to the works of specific Jazz composers whose works are rooted in the creative use of tonal harmonic relationships. Students will analyze tunes by representative Jazz composers, and compose tunes using the musical vocabulary and techniques utilized by those composers.  Instructor – Nick Weiser

Conquering Performance Anxiety

Using concepts from Don Greene’s text Performance Success, students will learn about how fear interacts with us and what we can do to alter our responses to it. Students will be asked to perform a selection of their choosing throughout this elective so they can test out these concepts for themselves. This is a mature subject that requires openness and support. No level of experience with these concepts is necessary!  Instructor – Justin Chervony

Brass Instrument Repair

Learn the fundamentals of brass repair. Topics include: Basic horn maintenance, cleaning of the instrument using varying methods, removing stuck mouthpieces, removing dents and creases in slides and bells, restringing a French horn, replacing water key corks, and soldering. Most topics will utilize hands-on components. No prior repair experience is necessary!  Instructor – Justin Chervony

The Musicals of Stephen Sondheim

From "West Side Story" to "Company," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Into the Woods," "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," and so many more, Stephen Sondheim is a name synonymous with American Musical Theatre. This elective will explore the life of this legendary force as well as the many works of his output through video recordings, plot outlines, and audio tracks of his most well known pieces, complete with opportunities for class participation. Come see why Sondheim has had such an amazing influence in American Musical Theatre and beyond!  Instructor – Andrew Benware

The Road to College Preparedness

Students will learn about and discuss the many factors of the college application experience.  In this course, students will learn about the basic concept of college, the structure of a university, what school might be like for a particular type of student, and the application process.  Students also will learn how to manage the application process in a timely manner, how to begin filling out important documents such as the Common App, and how to cultivate essay and grant writing skills.  The course will focus on the experience of future music students who would have to complete all these tasks as well as perform an audition.  Instructor – Mateen Milan

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