Preparatory Division Curriculum
Students in the Preparatory Division participate in a well-rounded program of music study that includes private lessons of age-appropriate length in piano, violin, cello, double bass, flute, and voice; matched with Musicianship Class, in which elements of music theory and ear training are offered. Students also have recital opportunities, in which they are given the chance to perform for their parents and friends. It is optional to add a Performance Class, in which students play for each other in a relaxed and supportive environment.
The Preparatory Division provides its students with many advantages, including an expert and nurturing faculty, as well as access to concerts and master classes presented by the Conservatory free of charge.
Music and Movement Class Ages 3-4 years old
Ages 5-6 years old
Music and Movement classes are based on the pedagogical theories of Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze. Students explore musical elements through movement, folk songs, games, and other hands-on activities.
Some of the skills emphasized in Music and Movement include:
• Matching pitch with the voice
• Keeping a steady beat
• Reading and understanding rhythmic notation
• Sight-singing from the staff
We encourage students to take this class before going onto the Musicianship Class.
Musicianship Class In this class, students study an integrated curriculum that includes the fundamentals of music theory (clefs, intervals, scales, chords, etc.) while developing aural skills through solfege (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti) and ear training exercises.
This class is offered in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Placement is determined by the musicianship faculty.
Chorus Chorus is for all children to sing and make music together! No singing experience is necessary and students will not be required to sing solo. Students explore the fundamentals of singing including proper posture, breathing techniques, intonation, and phrasing. Repertoire will include simple choral pieces in unison and with harmony. The joy of singing is what this class is all about!
Vocal Ensemble In this class we will work on vocal performance topics while learning and performing small ensembles (mainly duets and trios) from classical and musical theatre repertoire. This class is specially targeted to voice students, since it will deal with the challenges and creative opportunities that arise while singing in harmony and performing along other singers.
Chamber Music Class Students are grouped according to age and level and are coached by the faculty. Students learn the skills of ensemble performance and explore the roles of other instruments. This class is for intermediate to advanced students. Students must receive permission from the faculty in order to enroll.
Private Lessons We offer private lessons to students of all levels and ages. The one-to-one instruction by our expert faculty is one of the most important components of our program. Private lessons are matched with Musicianship Class, and must be taken together.
Group Lessons in Violin, Cello, and Guitar Ideal for beginner students ages five to eight, this class offers an introduction to violin, cello, and guitar. Students work in a supportive, nurturing environment with our expert faculty and explore the basics of their instruments. This class is recommended to take as a companion class to the private lessons. However, you must be enrolled in Musicianship or Music and Movement classes in order to take this class.
Private Composition Lessons Prerequisites: Ability to read and write musical notation fluently. (For more advanced students.)
Description: Students enrolled in private composition lessons may work on whatever kinds of projects are of most interest to them. These could include writing pop songs; writing music for a school band, orchestra, or small ensemble; or writing music for themselves and/or their friends to play. Students are free to write in whatever genre/style they would like. Similarly to the group composition class, we will work on how to notate musical ideas, how to structure a piece of music, and where to find inspiration, but the instruction will be more tailored to the student's specific needs. As with private instrumental lessons, students will be expected to work on their craft during the week.
Composition Class Prerequisites: Ability to read and write musical notation fluently.
Description: This class will provide students with an opportunity to write music for themselves and others to play, to improvise on and think creatively with their instruments, and to apply concepts and skills from their private lessons and Musicianship class. We will work on how to write down musical ideas, how to structure a piece of music, and where to find inspiration. The class will introduce students to basic concepts of instrumentation, such as instrumental families and ranges, differences in timbre, methods of sound production, and playing techniques. The class will also cover basic orchestration – how composers combine instruments together to create interesting sounds. The focus will be on writing and playing music, but we will also listen to and discuss works by well-known composers. Students will be expected to complete some take-home composition assignments outside of class. Advanced students will have the opportunity to write chamber music for their classmates, and will also learn how to notate full scores and create parts.
Recital Opportunities Students have two formal recitals per semester at Olin Hall: October 20 and December 15 in the fall semester, and March 9 and May 11 in the spring semester. Family members and friends are welcome.
In addition to the formal recitals, students will have several other performance opportunities per semester. Warm-up recitals at Bard and community outreach performances at various locations will take place througout the semester.