The academic program begins progressively with classes for elementary age students through high school.
These courses cover the basic vocabulary necessary to understand and analyze music. Fundamentals from key signatures to basic four-part harmony are taught in the first year. Second year concentrates on part-writing and analysis skills as well as exploring forms. Third year begins the study of species and tonal counterpoint. Fourth year introduces chromatic harmony and 20th c. practices. Advanced seminars are available for study after the fourth year.
These courses correspond directly with Music Theory topics. Students learn to identify musical ideas by listening: they practice taking rhythmic, melodic, and four-part dictation. Sight-reading and pitch sense are developed through singing. Students learn to use a moveable number system for sight-singing as well as the “fixed Do” system of Solfege.
Music History & Literature
The history courses offered help students develop a broad knowledge of music literature and historical styles that is crucial to effective performance. We use a chronological approach designed to study interrelationships between composers, styles, and surrounding cultures. All classes emphasize listening, and advanced seminars include some analysis. Classes for younger students focus upon in-class projects while older students take lecture-style courses. A comprehensive appreciation of, and familiarity with, music from all periods are fundamental goals.
In this course, students use body movement, and their own instruments/voices to respond to elements of music such as rhythm, pitch, and dynamics. This specialized class gives non-pianists the chance to become familiar with the keyboard and begin working on collegiate-style proficiency requirements. The Dalcroze Method lays the foundation for good musicianship and also develops attentiveness, concentration, and motor coordination.
Courses are taught to support the Music Theory Program. More extensive harmony, chord progressions, transposition, and figured bass are taught to pianists.
Collegiate/Performance Preparation (Grades 8 and up)
This course trains students to become well-rounded, confident musicians who are capable of performing under pressure, and are knowledgeable in self-presentation. It prepares students for collegiate music school and orchestra auditions, as well as local, national, and international competitions. Weekly performance classes give students the opportunity to play and also to be evaluated by the audience. Classroom seminars are held in performance psychology, collegiate audition/application preparation, stage etiquette and demeanor, and forums are featured to inform students and families as to what it is like to be a professional musician and also get feedback from the annual senior results panel. Community performances are scheduled throughout the year. High school seniors are given solo performance opportunities in preparation for auditions and support in collegiate audition tour management. Sophomores and juniors are assigned college research projects. Grade 4-7 students in the Academic Program are invited to perform in January. This class is offered through both the Academic and Performance Programs.
This course surveys the wide and immensely varied repertoire for piano. Knowledge of this literature is of importance to all pianists. Students are encouraged to perform for the class to illustrate works that have been discussed. The course provides an opportunity for peers and participants to share observations and insights. Different segments of the repertoire are featured each year.
Orchestration & Conducting
Students learn basic physical conducting skills while orchestration, transposition, and score-reading techniques are introduced. Class members participate in a laboratory orchestra, and all students have the opportunity to conduct an ensemble of peers.
Those who have passed through Year II Music Theory are encouraged to take this class. Examples of master composers in every genre from the 12th to 20th c. are studied. In addition to weekly assignments, students in the class are expected to give presentations throughout the year while continuing to work on their compositional projects.