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2022 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.

Current elective offerings are subject to minor changes.

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 in the Performance Track must choose Practice Time for at least two (2) elective periods – all others must select one (1) Practice Time session.

Elective Schedule

Elective Period 1 (1:30 PM) Elective Period 2 (2:15 PM) Elective Period 3 (3:00 PM)
Introduction to Sound Recording (Klingensmith) Introduction to Sound Recording (Klingensmith) I Might Want to Prepare for a Career in the Musical Arts (Burgess)
Modern Band (Keefner) Modern Band (Keefner) Vocal Improvisation in Different Musical Styles (Hilaire)
West African Drumming and Dance (Whitehead) Introduction to String Instruments (Sulbaran) Introduction to Percussion Instruments (Alexander)
Introduction to the Piano (Holzhauer) Hip Hop Piano (Bernard) Jazz Improvisation and Standards I (Bernard)
Introduction to Conducting (Benware) Exploring the Musicals of Stephen Sondheim (Benware) Jazz Improvisation and Standards II (Weiser)
Introduction to Composition (Oxford) The Sounds You See: How Music is Used in Film (White) Let's Create an Original Musical! (Adams)
Yoga for Musicians (Grajo) Yoga for Musicians (Grajo) Introduction to World Music (Earll)
The Craft of Teaching Lessons (Burgess) Diction for Singers (Holzhauer) This Week in Pop Music (Oxford)
Practice Time Practice Time Practice Time

Elective Descriptions:

Introduction to Sound Recording

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 - Luke Klingensmith

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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

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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

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Diction for Singers

Learn about the sounds of singing, the symbols we use to describe them including the International Phonetic Alphabet, and how to communicate through song in English and other languages (Italian, French, and German). No prior knowledge of languages other than English required.  For vocal students.  

Instructor – Mary Holzhauer

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Introduction to the Piano

Students who have limited experience playing the piano will have the opportunity to learn the basics. 

Instructor - Mary Holzhauer

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Modern Band

In this course students will learn how to engage in informal music making practices such as learning by ear, songwriting basics, and jamming. Guitars, basses, drums, and keyboards will be provided with some instruction but any instruments and singers are welcome. Learn how to hone your aural skills in a supportive, self-directed environment.  

Instructor – Jon Keefner

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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

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Introduction to Composition

Students will get the opportunity to begin composing their own music!  Time will be divided every day between instruction and composing.  The participants will listen to a variety of classical music, discuss techniques for crafting a cohesive piece of music, and learn about various computer-assisted compositional techniques utilizing notation software.  

Instructor – Josh Oxford

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Beginning Conducting

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.  

Instructor – Drew Benware

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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

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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 Sulbarán

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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

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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.  Click on this link to see a recent performance by the Ithaca College West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble.

Instructor – Baruch Whitehead  

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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 – Alejandro Bernard-Papachryssanthou

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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

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Hip Hop Piano

Using the music of MF DOOM, Nujabes, and Robert Glasper, students will learn a general approach to playing hip-hop styles at the keyboard. Students will lean chord progressions, riffs as well as fundamental rhythmic concepts used to play along to a backing track. A minimum of 2 years of piano playing experience is required to take this elective. (This is NOT a production course; fresh beats will be provided).  

Instructor – Alejandro Bernard-Papachryssanthou

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I Might Want to Pursue a Career in the Musical Arts!

If you are contemplating a career in the musical arts, this course is for you! Join us as we explore a myriad of topics including goal-setting, career options and career diversification, how music school differs from your high school program, healthy practice strategies, selecting music schools, professional etiquette, networking, preparation for and the audition process itself, the value of private instruction on your instrument or voice, strengthening your ears, and engaging in activities that enhance your music school application. Additionally, we will address issues facing the music profession today such as mental health concerns, diversification of the repertoire and the need to promote artists from underrepresented groups, performance anxiety, time management, and the true meaning of success! Come with your questions and leave with a sound game plan!  

Instructor – Aaron Burgess

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The Craft of Teaching Lessons

Have you ever mentored a younger musician or taught private lessons on your instrument or voice? Perhaps you are curious about a career as a music educator or want to be a stronger leader in your home music program. In this course we will explore various approaches for facilitating effective individual and small group lessons. We will discuss basic learning theory, practice strategies, lesson planning, methodologies, administrative considerations, the coaching of small ensembles and sectional rehearsals, and unlocking what it means to be an effective leader. You will have the opportunity to participate in discussions and lesson simulations both as the student and teacher. There will be ample opportunities to delve deeper into related topics as well!  

Instructor – Aaron Burgess

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Exploring the Musicals of Stephen Sondheim

This course will be an interactive survey of the musicals of the great American Composer, Stephen Sondheim. From "West Side Story" to "Into the Woods," "Assassins" to "Company," Sondheim indelibly changed the landscape of American musical theater. This course will be a survey of his most influential works complete with plenty of video and audio clips as well as class discussion and even an opportunity for performance! If you are a fan of musical theatre or even just a little bit curious, this is the elective for you!

Instructor – Drew Benware

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Vocal Improvisation in Different Musical Styles

Improvising with the voice has always been a huge part of singing technique. In this class we will explore how it is the same and different in a variety of styles from baroque and bel canto to the blues, gospel and pop.  

Instructor – Carami Hilaire

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This Week in Pop Music

What makes a pop song great? In This Week in Pop Music we'll look at the Billboard Top 10 hits of the week, discovering their forms, melodies, harmonies, and how words and music interact to form a hit song. After all ten songs are discussed, we'll select a song or two from the list to arrange for the class to perform.  

Instructor – Josh Oxford