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.

2021 Electives To Be Announced

We are in the process of identifying our electives for the upcoming season. This page will be updated with our 2021 electives as soon as we are able!

Elective Schedule

Elective Period 1 Elective Period 2
Breathing for Better Music-Making Introduction to World Music
The Collaborative Sound Recording Experience The Collaborative Sound Recording Experience
Introduction to Composition Basic Synthesizer Programming
Elements of Jazz Through History, Style, and Improvisation West African Drumming and Dance
Music Theory Fundamentals SMA Klezmer Experience
Beginning Conducting Techniques Improvisation for All
Introduction to the Piano Introduction to the Piano
Introduction to the Guitar Introduction to the Guitar
Introduction to Stage Combat Introduction to Learning the Art of Magic
Practice Time Practice Time

*Some restrictions apply, see below

Elective Descriptions

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

The Collaborative Sound Recording Experience

Instrumentalists and vocalists will collaborate to produce and record a song by the end of the week. Students will follow a predetermined song form developed by the instructor and be given the opportunity to contribute artistically throughout the recording process. The final recorded product will be presented at the final concert on Saturday afternoon. Instructor – Tyler Ogilvie

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

Elements of Jazz Through History, Style, and Improvisation

Students will be introduced to defining elements of jazz through learning a bit of history and by listening to representative jazz artists. Students will learn to perform several jazz standards while concentrating on the elements of jazz style and will learn the steps to improvise on these songs. Instructor – Michael Treat

Music Theory Fundamentals

Students will delve into the fundamentals of music theory as well as receive an introduction to sight-singing. The study of fundamentals is designed to enhance each student’s overall musicianship by expanding reading and analysis abilities, and will strengthen each student's visual and aural understanding of music. Instructor – Emily Ickes

Beginning Conducting Techniques

Students will learn basic conducting technique including various meters, styles, and dynamic ranges. Members of the class will also function as an ensemble and each student will gain experience conducting their peers. This course will be taught by an experienced ensemble director and conducting teaches. Instructor – Benjamin Rochford

Introduction to the Piano

Students who have limited experience playing the piano will have the opportunity to learn the basics. Open to band and orchestra students only. Instructor — Mary Holzhauer

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 — Peter Guarino

Introduction to Stage Combat

In this safety-driven class, students learn to glorify technique rather than violence. Students will begin with learning the basics of control: tucks, checks, and timing that are the ground rules for any safe and exciting stage fight. They will then learn hand-to-hand, basic weaponry techniques (staff, swords) and simple rolls and tricks (tumbles, lifts, falls, throws). Students will also create their own sequences! We hope to have a huge battle to record at the end. Instructor – Holly Adams

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

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

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

SMA Klezmer Experience

Klezmer was originally the ritual and celebratory music of the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe, where it developed over the course of many centuries. Brought to North America with the Jewish immigration wave from Russia and other Eastern European countries during the turn of the 20th century, a modern klezmer tradition developed in the urban centers, particularly in New York City. Since the 1970s, a dynamic revival of this tradition has been taking place. It has since become one of the most visible transnational music and culture movements involving thousands of participants on five continents. The SMA Klezmer Experience will welcome students to a trove of ancient melodies and a communal sense of folk music-making. We’ll learn tunes both by ear and off the page. All instrumentalists are welcome, regardless of previous experience, cultural identity, or instrument. Instructor — Ryan Zawel

Improvisation for All

A course which will foster musical creativity and improvisation and is open to all instrument areas. Instructor — Dan Shaut

Introduction to Learning the Art of Magic

Students will work with and learn magic with everyday objects: newspaper and paper, playing cards, money magic with coins and bills, rubber bands, paper clips, corks, dice, etc. They will work on puzzles, deductive and inductive reasoning, and thinking outside the box. Students will start to learn how to interact and entertain an audience by using patter and stories with the mechanics of the magic. Instructor – Mike Stanley