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2021 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.

Elective Schedule

Elective Period 1 (2:00 PM) Elective Period 2 (3:00 PM)
Beginning Music Theory (Ickes) Intermediate Music Theory (Ickes)
The Collaborative Sound Recording Experience (Ogilvie) The Collaborative Sound Recording Experience (Ogilvie)
Introduction to GarageBand (Oxford) Introduction to Composition (Oxford)
Improvisation for All (Shaut) Elements of Jazz Through History, Style, and Improvisation (Treat)
Elements of Vocal Improvisation - An Introductory Look (Pastore) Theater Improvisation: Lots of Fun and Seriously Serious (Adams)
West African Drumming and Dance (Whitehead) SMA Klezmer Experience (Zawel)
Introduction to the Guitar (Guarino) Introduction to the Piano (Holzhauer)
Introduction to Conducting (Rochford) Developing Leadership Skills (Witek)
Introduction to Learning the Art of Magic (Stanley) Yoga for Musicians (Grajo)
Practice Time Practice Time

Elective Descriptions

Beginning Music Theory

Students will delve into the fundamental building blocks of music theory and will solidify their understanding of note reading, notation, clefs, meter signatures, key signatures, scales, intervals--and beyond!  An introduction to sight-singing will also be included.  This section is best suited for students who do not feel fully comfortable with concepts like: reading bass and treble clef, building major and minor scales, identifying key signatures, and performing meter signatures with something other than "4" in the denominator. No prior experience with music theory needed. 

Instructor – Emily Ickes

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Intermediate Music Theory

A more advanced music theory class for students who feel secure in reading music notation and have some familiarity with meter and key signatures and scales.  We will review basic concepts and continue new concepts such as intervals and chords.  We also will work on sight-singing skills. 

Instructor – Emily Ickes

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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.

Instructor – Tyler Ogilvie

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Introduction to GarageBand

The popular program that is freely available on Macintosh computers and iOS devices will be thoroughly explored!  Every day, students will have the opportunity to learn more nuances of the program, such as automation and looping, and to write their own unique pieces of music.

Instructor - Joshua Oxford

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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 - Joshua Oxford

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Improvisation for All

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

Instructor - Dan Shaut

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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

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Elements of Vocal Improvisation – an Introductory Look

Elements of Improvisation introduces you to the building blocks that make improvisation fun, spontaneous, and unpredictable.  We will explore vocal improvisation (does not include jazz improvisation, however), physical improvisation to music, and dramatic improvisation of vocal pieces currently in your repertoire. Step out of your comfort zone and prepare to be surprised! 

Instructor – Patrice Pastore

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Theater Improvisation:  Lots of Fun and Seriously Serious

From comedic to serious, from games of wit to character-driven 'long form', improv always involves listening to your partner, supporting the story, and thinking on your feet. Come prepared to work hard, learn lots, and have fun! 

Instructor – Holly Adams

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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.

Instructor – Baruch Whitehead

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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

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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

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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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Introduction to Conducting

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

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Developing Leadership Skills

Whether you have a leadership title or not, we all can be leaders. Come immerse yourself in an interactive environment where you will learn about yourself, how to form relationships, build confidence, develop self-motivation, grow a positive attitude, and better your communication skills. 

Instructor – Aaron Witek

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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

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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