Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Few Words About the Conservatory Program

There's a new program in town, with the daunting name "Conservatory." Don't be afraid...it's a good thing. And it may just be the program you've been looking for.

The PMAC faculty's biggest concern as we were developing the curriculum for our new Conservatory Program was the name. They are worried the "lofty" implications of the word conservatory will intimidate some students and their families, or lead them to believe that the program is not for them. In reality, we've designed the Conservatory Program to meet the needs of any student who has a sincere passion for music. We want the program to be inclusive, and any auditions that take place are for placement.

The concept is to offer an organized, well-rounded curriculum for students who have a desire to play in ensembles with others and who want to learn more about the music they play. There are three primary aspects to the curriculum:
Music Theory
Specialized Electives

Beginning October 22, 2005, students will be able to come to PMAC on Saturdays to play in ensembles and take music classes. This program goes beyond individual instruction, creating real life musical opportunities for young students. It promises to be a fun and exciting time for any aspiring young musician

Ensembles are the crux of the Conservatory Program. (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary assures me that one definition of crux is "a main or central feature.") While individual instruction is an important aspect of a student's music education, playing music with others should be a goal of every musician, student or otherwise. The Conservatory Program provides students with the opportunity to play in ensembles. Whether duos, trios, quartets or larger groups, ensembles give students valuble musical experiences that can not be achieved when playing alone. The faculty will tailor ensembles to the abilities, goals, and needs of each participating student. Ensembles will perform at PMAC, in the community and at appropriate competitions and festivals such as New Hampshire's Solo and Ensemble Festival in February 2006.

Another important aspect of the new Conservatory curriculum is Music Theory. Students will be placed in theory classes based on their knowlege and abilities. Theory topics range from beginning reading and the understanding of scales and key signatures to composition of chorales in the style of Bach and complex sight-singing and dictation. The highest level of theory will be an AP Course that will prepare students for the Music AP test for college entry. While sometimes challenging, learing the basic fundamentals of music theory brings new understanding and interpretive skill to any performing musician.

Finally, students will have a variety of elective classes to choose from. They may participate in a composition seminar in which they learn about the music of contemporary composers and can share their original compositions with others. They can even hear their own music played by others. They can take an accompanying class and learn how to accompany other musicians at the piano. They can also take a class on improvisation to stretch their musical performance skills. These are just a few of the classes we intend to offer in this program.

Any student who loves playing music is welcome to join the program. It is not only for those who wish to pursue music as a career, though the program offers a lot to those with professional aspirations. If you believe your child might be interested in this program, call me at PMAC or e-mail me. I can answer any questions you may have in more detail. Just know that this program is inclusive. We hope that you will consider enrolling your child.

Return of the Blog

After a four month hiatus I'm baaaack.....

Yes, I've been on "blog vacation" for a third of a year. It has been incredibly busy and I finally realized what my friend Steve meant when he said, "You do realize a blog takes a lot of effort to maintain." If you know Steve, you realize I'm paraphrasing, but it gets the point across. A blog is a cool idea for a website, but it takes a bit of effort - and I'm back and ready to put forth that effort. So don't be shy - leave a comment or two. Go ahead, egg me on. Let's get this show on the road.