VOCAL MUSIC COURSE OFFERINGS 

 

In addition to the courses described below, all Vocal students are required to attend at least three (3) performances each semester and write a one page critique for each performance as a way to involve students in a broader artistic community and to engage literacy across content areas. Two of these performances must be SOTA performances other than the vocal department, and one must be an outside vocal performance of any genre. 

Likewise, as a way for students to be fully prepared for collegiate and conservatory auditions and to be professional artists, each student must prepare a summative portfolio of their work in the department, to be turned in at the end of the school year. This will include a résumé, repertoire list, and copies of all solo repertoire, separated by genre and language and organized in a binder.

 

Also, Vocal students must participate in community and middle school outreach projects, as well as departmental team-building activities.


 

JAZZ & CONTEMPORARY

CLASSICAL VOICE

 

Concert Choir

Instructors: Kristen Grzeca & Michael Desnoyers. Mon/Tue/Th/Fri @ 1:10. These large ensembles are comprised of all students in the Vocal Department and are mandatory for all. Students are divided by grade level and will perform with the grade-level ensembles and altogether as a massed choir. They explore music from many genres, styles, and choral traditions from around the world. Students learn a classical, bel canto vocal technique as well as how to adapt it to diverse styles. Students also learn musicianship skills, music literacy, and ensemble skills. They perform at all major department concerts, festivals and competitions, as well as several community and outreach events throughout the year. 

Small Ensembles

The Clef Hangers Instructor: Michael Desnoyers. Mon/Thurs @ 2:10. This small ensemble is comprised of low voices (Tenors & Basses) from the Classical Voice program. They explore music from the classical choral repertoire, both historical and contemporary, as well as a capella pop, barber shop, and many other styles. They perform at department concerts and at festival competitions in the Spring.

Anacrusis Instructor: Kristen Grzeca. Mon/Thurs @ 2:10. This small ensemble is comprised of treble voices (Sopranos & Altos) from the Classical Voice program. They explore music for treble voices in many different genres. They perform at department concerts and at festival competitions in the Spring.

Chamber Choir Instructor: Kristen Grzeca. Mon/Fri @ 3:10. This is an SATB small ensemble selected by audition at the beginning of each school year. They explore music on the cutting edge of contemporary classical choral composition, as well as some of the most complex and difficult historical repertoire for chamber chorus. Because there are fewer voices on each part in this ensemble, highly advanced musicianship skills are required, and ensemble balance and coordination are strongly considered. They perform at department concerts and at festival competitions in the Spring, as well as outreach events throughout the year.

Instructor: Kristen Grzeca. Mon/Fri @ 3:10. This is an SATB small ensemble selected by audition at the beginning of each school year. They explore music on the cutting edge of contemporary classical choral composition, as well as some of the most complex and difficult historical repertoire for chamber chorus. Because there are fewer voices on each part in this ensemble, highly advanced musicianship skills are required, and ensemble balance and coordination are strongly considered. They perform at department concerts and at festival competitions in the Spring, as well as outreach events throughout the year.

Musicianship

Musicianship 1 Instructors: Tristan Arnold, Scott Cmiel, Michael Desnoyers. Wed @ 1:10 & Friday @ 2:10. Students learn the basics of music literacy and how written concepts match aural phenomena. Students learn through composition, performance, written, and aural practice. No pre-requisite knowledge or experience required. Placement determined by individual assessment.

Musicianship 2 Instructors: Henry Hung, Ava Soifer, Krista Wigle. Wed @ 1:10 & Friday @ 2:10. Students learn more advanced music theory concepts and how they correspond to aural phenomena.  Students learn through composition, performance, written, and aural practice. Pre-requisite: Theory/Aural Skills 1 or by Placement Exam.

Musicianship 3 (AP Music Theory) Instructors: Kristen Grzeca, Marko Bajzer, Jace Wittig. Wed @ 1:10 & Friday @ 2:10. Students focus on advanced music theory and aural skills concepts, including part-writing and voice-leading in 4-part chorale-style harmony, advanced melodic and harmonic dictation, and advanced aural analysis. The curriculum is geared toward successful completion of the AP Music Theory Test in May, although students are not required to take the Test, and anyone interested in pursuing professional or collegiate music study is encouraged to take this class. Pre-requisite: Theory/Aural Skills 2 or by Placement Exam. 

All Vocal Students must pass through the Musicianship sequence above, after which they may choose from the Electives below, which are taught during the same weekly hours. Some Electives require the student to have passed Musicianship 2; some require Musicianship 3.

Composition Instructor: Andrew Vickers. This is a 2-hour class in which students use advanced conceptual knowledge and their own creativity to compose their own music in a variety of styles and instrumentations. Students sing and play each others’ works, workshop their compositions with professional composers, and present a class recital of their compositions each semester as a culminating project. 

Jazz & Contemporary Harmony & Arranging Instructor: Melecio Magdaluyo. The first hour of this class focuses on conceptual and practical knowledge of contemporary harmony, including but not limited to: reading and writing commercial chord symbols, extended harmonies and rhythms, and jazz and blues scales and modes. The second hour of the class will cover Jazz Arranging, and students will use these concepts to create their own works. This course is required at least once for all Jazz & Contemporary Voice students.

Electronic Music Instructor: Ko 

Ethnomusicology Instructor: Monina Cervone 

Songwriting Instructor: Madeleine Mackenzie

Labs

Freshman Lab Instructors: Kristen Grzeca, Michael Desnoyers, Ava Soifer. Wed @ 3:10. Students will be assigned English-language classical solo repertoire in small groups based on voice type and suitability. Each group will work with a student pianist and will be coached by a different Instructor each week. Students will receive individual attention on matters of vocal technique, musical and stylistic interpretation, diction, and presentation. After 4-5 weeks of instruction, the final week of each Lab Cycle will be a graded, jury-style performance. Each student will sing their assigned song, prepared and memorized, in front of a panel of Instructors and an audience of their peers. Instructors will offer private, written feedback, and students will then reflect on their own performances in self-evaluations. Exceptional performances will be featured on Vocal Department concerts. In the Spring Semester, Lab days and groups will be mixed across the classes and all Classical Voice students cast in opera scenes. Following the Opera Gala concerts, students will self-select repertoire of any genre to prepare semi-independently for Vocal Finale.

Sophomore Lab Instructors: Kristen Grzeca, Michael Desnoyers, Ava Soifer. Tues @ 2:10. Students will be assigned Italian-language classical solo repertoire in small groups based on voice type and suitability. Same format as Freshman Lab (see above).

Junior Lab Instructors: Kristen Grzeca, Michael Desnoyers, Ava Soifer. Wed @ 2:10. Students will be assigned German-language classical solo repertoire in small groups based on voice type and suitability. Same format as Freshman Lab (see above).

Senior Lab Instructors: Kristen Grzeca, Rhoslyn Jones, Ava Soifer. Tues @ 3:10. Students will be assigned French-language classical solo repertoire in small groups based on voice type and suitability. Same format as Freshman Lab (see above), but in addition to Vocal Finale repertoire in the Spring, Seniors will prepare repertoire for the Senior Recital.

Electives

Piano for Singers Instructor: Ava Soifer. Fri @ 3:10. This class is a requirement for all Freshmen and Transfer students. Students who can demonstrate keyboard proficiency may test out of this class, with Instructor approval. Students learn basic keyboard skills, including 2-hand scales and simple polyphonic repertoire.

Intro to World Music (Fall Semester only) Instructor: Monina Cervone. Tue @ 3:10. This class is a requirement for Classical Voice Sophomores and Transfer Upperclassmen. Students learn basic concepts of musicianship and instrumental techniques from non-Western musical cultures. Repertoire and instruments include Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Gamelan, Indian music, and much more.

Diction & IPA (Spring Semester only) Instructor: Michael Desnoyers. Tue @ 3:10. This class is a requirement for Classical Voice Sophomores and Transfer Upperclassmen. Students learn lyric diction in English, Italian, German, and French, using the International Phonetic Alphabet and creating transcriptions and translations of classical vocal repertoire.

Music History Instructor: Jace Wittig. Wed @ 3:10. This class is a requirement for Classical Voice Juniors. Transfer Seniors may elect either Music History or Diction, under advisement from the Department Head. Students listen to and discuss music from the Middle Ages to Today and learn to write in the conventions of music scholarship. Students also explore musicological connections across cultural, political, social, and technological boundaries. 

Gesamtklasse Instructor: Rhoslyn Jones. Tue @ 2:10. This class is a requirement for Classical Voice Seniors, but is also open to any student who has taken (or is currently enrolled in) Music History. Students will explore genres and cultures of classical vocal repertoire that tend to be overlooked in most curricula – Oratorio, Eastern European and Russian art song, Scandinavian music, Zarzuela (Spanish operetta), etc. This exploration will include performance assignments, acting/improv workshops, and lots of listening and singing! This class may be repeated.

 

 

 

 

In addition to Concert Choir and Musicianship classes (described in the Classical Voice coursework), Jazz & Contemporary Voice students fulfill the following course requirements:

Small Ensembles

Jazz Choir (Beginning and Advanced) Instructor: Angie Doctor, Steve Blum. Beginning Jazz Choir – Mon @ 3:10 & Thurs @2:10. Advanced Jazz Choir – Mon @ 2:10 & Thurs @ 3:10. These are SATB& SSAA small ensembles selected by audition at the beginning of each school year. As a jazz ensemble, they work in very close harmony, often with just one or two voices on a part. They explore a highly diverse repertoire of jazz styles and a capella pop arrangements. Students develop improv skills and learn the dynamics of a blended jazz sound in both amplified and a capella styles. They perform at Jazz Concerts at SOTA, as well as at jazz festivals and masterclasses throughout the year.

Jazz & Improv Labs Instructors: Angie Doctor, Melecio Magdaluyo, Steve Blum. Freshman/Sophomore Lab – Tues @ 2:10. Junior/Senior Lab – Wed @ 2:10. In these 2-hour classes, students will be assigned songs from the repertoire of jazz standards, as well as a diverse array of contemporary & jazz styles. The class will also explore a variety of improv techniques across jazz and various contemporary genres, jazz history, and practical skills. Students receive individual coaching and rehearsal each week, culminating in a jury-style presentation of repertoire each marking period. Exceptional performances will be featured on Jazz concerts and in masterclasses. 

Keyboard 1 & 2 Instructors: Bonnie Knight, Steve Blum. Keyboard 1 – Mon @ 2:10. Keyboard 2 – Fri @ 3:10. These classes are required for all Jazz & Contemporary Voice Freshmen (1) and Sophomores (2). Students who can demonstrate keyboard proficiency may test out of these classes, with Instructor approval. Students learn basic keyboard skills, including 2-hand scales and simple polyphonic repertoire. In Keyboard 2, students learn chord progressions, chart-reading, and simple vocal accompaniment skills.

 

Clubs & Student Ensembles

Vocal Wave, a student-run a cappella pop ensemble that meets after school and performs gigs on and off campus.

Audio Engineering & Studio Club which meets after school or during lunch times (as arranged) and explores audio engineering and studio recording with state-of-the-art equipment and software.