At auditions and college visits, when I told people that I had already composed three operas, they thought I was a graduate student. I told them ‘No, I’m about to be a freshman!’ They couldn’t believe it.”
— Karen, Music '17

The Music Department curriculum is firmly rooted in the traditions of classical music and jazz, and is comprised of high-level private study, academic music courses, chamber and jazz ensembles, music composition, and performances.

Private Lessons: The focus of the music department curriculum is private instruction with Academy Faculty. Each student has two weekly 45-minute private lessons on his or her principal instrument in both classical and jazz instruction. These prepare students for performances, competitions, juries, a senior recital, and ultimately, college auditions.

Studio: Studio is another central aspect of the department. Students perform repertoire from private lessons & ensembles in Studio, and are given feedback from Academy Faculty.

Music Classes: The Music Department classes consist of a combination of requirements and electives. These courses include Music Theory, Ear Training, Piano Lab, Composition, Film Scoring, Music History, Jazz Combo, Chamber Ensemble, Jazz Vocal Workshop and Classical Vocal Workshop. The curriculum is designed so that as students progress into their Junior and Senior years, they have more control over their afternoon schedule, upon completing the requirements.

Ensembles: All Academy students are placed in ensembles such as Jazz Combo, Classical Vocal Ensemble and Chamber Ensemble. These groups participate in Academy recitals and concerts. Chamber performance ensemble focuses on developing individual musicianship through a small group setting. Students will work on specific repertoire with an ensemble coach while developing note reading skills, intonation, rhythm, articulation, dynamics, and balance. Ensembles will study individual and group practice and rehearsal techniques, interpretive and stylistic decisions as an ensemble, and performance skills.

Senior Recitals: Each student performs a Senior Recital as part of the Music Department graduation requirements. This is a 40 to 60-minute performance showcasing the skills and repertoire they have developed through private lessons, classes, and ensemble study. The performance should demonstrate the depth of their technical proficiency, style, interpretation and overall musicianship and professionalism. The recital serves as a senior project, and is essentially an independent study overseen by the Department Chair.  

Student Performances: Our Concert Series includes Classical Recitals, Jazz Concerts, The Opera, and a number of other specialty events. Last year, in addition to in-house performances, Academy Music students performed at the legendary Jazz Showcase, Winter’s Jazz Club, The Athenaeum Theatre, The Museum of Contemporary Art, A Red Orchid Theatre, and Curtiss Hall, and had the honor of performing alongside Grammy Award-Winning ensemble Eight Blackbird, world-renowned saxophonist Seamus Blake, and The Chicago Symphony Orchesta. Furthermore, jazz students held a regular Saturday gig at Andy’s Jazz Club during the spring.

Lecture Series: Each year, the music department hosts a number of performances and lectures by world-renowned performers, educators, composers, and music industry professionals. In the past couple of years, Academy Music students have experienced master classes with Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming, among others.

Juries: At the end of each semester, students are required to perform a Jury for a panel of Music Faculty. This should reflect work done in their private lessons at The Academy. Juries are meant to replicate college auditions.

More about the Music Department

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*Course titles reflect transcripts for the 2017-2018 freshman class.