2019 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, typically starting towards the beginning of June. 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 Sound Recording Technology Introduction to Sound Recording Technology Introduction to the Guitar
Let's Create an Original Musical! Introduction to Percussion Instruments West African Drumming and Dance
Beginning Conducting Techniques Introduction to String Instruments Introduction to Brass Instruments
The Musical Mind The Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein Experience Vocal Jazz Choir!
The Sounds You See: How Music is Used in Films Breathing for Better Music-Making Introduction to World Music
Intermediate Conducting Techniques Blues Legacies, Movement Alchemy, and Black Oral Traditions Introduction to Composition
Introduction to the Piano Introduction to Pop Piano Styles Conquering Performance Anxiety
Analyzing and Arranging This Week's Pop Music Basic Synthesizer Programming Yoga for Musicians
Introduction to Woodwind Instruments Listening to Classic Rock Preparing for a Career in Music
Styles Unlimited! Jazz Improvisation and Standards I Jazz Improvisation and Standards II
Practice Time Practice Time Practice Time

* : Some restrictions apply, see below

Elective Descriptions

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

Let's Create an Original Musical!

You've performed in them, dreamed up character ideas as you fell asleep, heard music in your head--let's put it all together in this collaborative class that begins with brainstorming and ends in an informal performance (which we will film). On the way we struggle with structure, linger over lyrics, and prune stuff we wish we could keep... and make fabulous art. Instructor – Holly Adams

Beginning Conducting Techniques (Choral or Instrumental)

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 – Michael Butler (Instrumental), Kristin Zaryski (Choral)

The Musical Mind

In this class students will participate in a variety of activities to explore the musical mind. We will consider how music shapes the brain and how the brain shapes music. Topics include: perfect pitch, earworms, musical prodigies, and music therapies. Instructor – Crystal Peebles

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 make 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

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 – Mary Holzhauer

Analyzing and Arranging This Week’s Pop Music

Have you ever wanted to arrange a current radio hit? After examining the selection of songs in that week’s Billboard Top 10, we’ll transcribe, and arrange that song! The harmonies, melodies, and background lines will be thoroughly examined, as well as strategies for making an engaging arrangement. Instructor – Josh Oxford

Introduction to Woodwind Instruments

This class is designed for any student who is interested in learning to play woodwind instruments. Students will learn the basics of playing flute, clarinet, and saxophone with the purpose of gaining enough familiarity on these instruments to continue learning after SMA. No prior woodwind skills are required. Instruments will be provided. Instructors - Richard Laprise and Kaitlyn Laprise

Styles Unlimited!

This is a class for brass and woodwind students who are interested in being able to play confidently in multiple styles. In today’s professional music world, versatility is essential to success. The more styles you know how to play, the more opportunities there will be to make music, whether as part of your job, or just for fun. We will spend time listening to and watching videos of great performers, discussing what makes their playing sound authentic and convincing, and finding ways to do what they do. In addition to studying the examples set by important musicians from the jazz, classical, and commercial worlds, we will examine what has gone into making successful versatile performance careers by learning about top-notch Broadway brass and woodwind players. Instructor – Nikola Tomic

Introduction to Percussion Instruments

Open to all SMA students, this class will explore the basic techniques involved in playing the major percussion instruments which include snare drum, mallets, timpani and drum set. Everyone will have the opportunity to play each instrument and explore what each area of percussion has to offer for everyone’s enjoyment. No previous experience with percussion is required. Instruments will be provided. Instructor – Conrad Alexander

Introduction to String Instruments

Open to all SMA students, this class will cover the basics of how to play the violin, viola, and cello. Topics will include posture, plucking, bow hold, left hand position, and tone production. Students will have the opportunity to try out each instrument, and will perform a simple song at the end of the two weeks. No previous experience required. Instruments will be provided. Instructor – Cassandra Sulbaran

Exploring the Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein

From “The Sound of Music” to “The King and I” and “Oklahoma!,” the compositional genius of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein indelibly changed the face of the American Musical Theater genre. This elective course will explore the musicals, both successes and lesser-known, of Rodgers and Hammerstein through a variety of methods including plot and character summaries, scene and song video viewing, and in-class singing. Instructor - Andrew Benware

Breathing for Better Music-Making

Description: This class explores the process of breathing in order to build better brass players, woodwind players, and vocalists. Throughout "Breathing for Better Music-Making" we will dispel some of the common myths about breathing, learn a collection of specialized exercises to help with air control, and work to incorporate healthy breathing practices into your performance. Remember, the key to a great sound is great breathing - now's your chance to level up your music-making! Instructor – David Earll

Blues Legacies, Movement Alchemy, and Black Oral Traditions

The elective will offer an opportunity for students to have exposure to and explore the relationship between art and activism. Honoring the historic and present sources of healing, freedom, and social transformation embedded in Blackness and Black Culture, students will have exposure to various Black Creatives (singers, dancers, painters, poets) and learn about the stories and larger social systems that generates such groundbreaking works. Instructor – Nia Nunn

Introduction to Pop Piano Styles

For students with prior piano experience. Learn basic skills of 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

Basic Synthesizer Programming

The course will teach the basic elements of subtractive “analog” synthesis — oscillators, filters, and modulators. Both hardware and software instruments will be used to demonstrate and teach the concepts. Guest performers will also come to demonstrate their equipment and answer questions. Instructor — Josh Oxford

Listening to Classic Rock

Challenge your ears to hear the forms, rhythms and textures of Classic Rock. Activities will include performing and notating rhythms, diagraming forms, and discussing the connections between music and lyrics. Featured groups include The Beatles, Genesis, Yes, The Police, The Cure, Dave Matthews Band, and Radiohead. Instructor – Les Black

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. Instructor – Nikola Tomic

Introduction to the Guitar

This course is designed for students with little or no background in playing the guitar. Students will obtain a functional understanding of the guitar, as well as tools for the continued exploration of the instrument beyond the scope of the class. Emphasis will be placed on right and left hand technique, basic chord shapes, and reading skills. Guitars will be provided. Instructor – Michael Caporizzo

West African Drumming and Dance

Students will have the opportunity to explore first-hand the exciting traditions of West African drumming and dance on authentic instruments. No prior experience in drumming or dancing required. Instructor – Baruch Whitehead

Introduction to Brass Instruments

Designed for the student who is curious about playing brass instruments. Whether you have never played a brass instrument and want to learn, or you currently play a brass instrument and want to learn how to play the others, come join us as we explore the trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba! Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you’ll learn something new in a fun and supportive environment! Instruments will be provided. Instructor – Michael Nave

Experience Vocal Jazz Ensemble!

For musicians new to this genre or those with prior experience, this elective explores the exciting world of ensemble jazz singing. We’ll rehearse at least four tunes in contrasting styles (blues, samba/bossa, swing, funk), focusing on vocal techniques essential to the vocal jazz idiom. We’ll also cover the foundations of vocal improvising (scat singing), especially building a step-by-step approach for how to get started. Bah vah deh bahp! Instructor – John White

Introduction to World Music

This class explores the wide variety of music practices from around the globe. Throughout "Introduction to World Music" we will learn about some of the musical traditions of: Sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Africa and the Middle East, Central Asia, India, & Eastern Asia. We will discuss some of the fundamentals of Ethnomusicology, which studies the relationships between cultures and musical activity, and will help prepare you to discuss unfamiliar music and traditions in a respectful manner. This class allows you to take a musical journey across the world! Instructor – David Earll

Introduction to Composition

In Introduction to Composition, students will experiment with new ways of thinking about compositional techniques, sound, and notation through looking at musical traditions that span the Baroque era to the present day. The course will also teach foundations of music notation software including Finale, Sibelius, and GarageBand, and will provide the opportunity to create a final project written for any of these programs or an acoustic instrument(s). Instructor – Jacob Walsh

Conquering Performance Anxiety

This course will examine the various factors that contribute to music performance anxiety. In addition, students will be introduced to techniques used to cope with this problem and will practice them in class. Instructor – Benjamin Rochford

Yoga for Musicians

This course is designed with two aims. The first is to help students unwind, relieve tensions, refresh the mind and body, and leave with a sense of renewal. The second is to set the foundation for a regenerative yoga practice that students can build upon at any time beyond the course. Expect to learn sequencing, technique, and posture modifications while nurturing seeds for lifelong self-care. Instructor – Shayna Grajo

Preparing for a Career in Music

This course will explore the practical aspects of selecting and preparing for a career in music. Upon completion of the course students will be familiar with practice techniques, time management, goal setting, cultivating a positive mental attitude, overcoming performance anxiety, audition preparation, proper etiquette for working with other musicians, and resume writing. Sample topics covered: Deciding on a career in music; How to motivate yourself to practice; Time management/goal setting ; Developing a practice routine; Identifying skills to improve upon; Cultivating a positive mental attitude; Overcoming performance anxiety; Music apps to help in your practice sessions; Audition preparation; Proper etiquette for working with other musicians; Resume writing. Instructor – Aaron Witek

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. Instructor – Nick Weiser