MUSIC
COMPOSITION 1 & 2

READING
THE SIGNS

MUSIC
THEORY 1, 2 & 3

SMALL ENSEMBLES
& COACHING

Session 3 NOW OPEN TO ALL Students grades 6-12
Join us and expand your musical horizons!


Six-Week session, Saturdays and/or Sundays, February 6th through March 14th

Designed to enhance your skills, foster creativity, and encourage community
SKILLS + CREATIVITY + COMMUNITY = CONNECTION!

Open Registration: January 19 through February 3
Payment Due: February 5
Students may take 1 – 4 courses per week

Music Composition Level 1

Instructor: Haneef Nelson

Have you ever wanted to learn how to compose music but do not know where to start?  Have you ever thought:  “I wish I could write my own songs?” Would you like a starting place in the journey of becoming a composer?  This 4-week session will introduce music composition through an exploration of several styles of writing music. Each week students receive instructor feedback, take part in group collaborations and all students will create an original composition. No prior knowledge of music theory is required for this class.

Offered Saturdays from 9:00-10:00AM
Tuition: $90.00

“It was very informative.  I did a lot of fun new things and learned to compose all sorts of different music.
The teacher was super nice and supportive and knew a LOT about different kinds of music.” ~ James, 8th grade, SSYO

Syllabus

PDF for Printing

Music Composition Level 1

Objective:

To introduce music composition to a group of students who may not have any solid music theory knowledge

Required Text/Tools:

  1. Blank Staff Paper
  2. Computer/tablet to be able to log into Zoom
  3. Ability to record yourself playing your composition
  4. Ability to scan/take a picture and send written work to instructor

Week 1: What is music composition?

  1. Talking about what it means to compose music.
  2. The difference between spontaneous composition (improvisation) and writing a song/piece of music to be played over and over again
  3. Large ensemble vs. small/solo ensemble(s) composition (with instructor’s examples)
  4. Homework: Listen to one of your favorite compositions, tell us what it is, and why you like it so much. It can be from any genre of music.

Week 2: Composition vs. Arranging

  1. What’s the difference?
  2. Is there any originality in arranging?
  3. How do I compose/arrange original music?
  4. Homework: Mary Had a Little Lamb Arranging/Composition

Week 3: Duets

  1. Examples of Duets
  2. Harmonized Duets
  3. Counterpoint
  4. Homework: Write a Duet using techniques we discussed in class

Week 4: Trios/Quartets

  1. Examples of Trio’s
  2. Examples of Quartets
  3. Difference in various genres of trio and quartet writing
  4. Homework: Write an original 4 bar trio and quartet

Week 5: The 12 Bar Blues

  1. What is a 12 Bar Blues?
  2. Why use the Blues?
  3. Which notes can I use?
  4. Homework: Blues Composition (email it instructor at least 48 hours before the next class)

Week 6: Review of our Original Compositions

  1. Review of our composition
  2. How to move forward in composition
  3. Final Thoughts

Music Composition Level 2

Instructor: Haneef Nelson

Students should have some basic knowledge of music theory, have taken SSYO’s Beginning theory, or Intro to Composition. This class will introduce music theory instruction/concepts and apply them to composing music. Students will write and arrange compositions with melodic lines and harmonic structures. If you have any questions, please email Kirsten Lipkens: klipkens@springfieldsymphony.org

Offered Saturdays from 10:15-11:15 AM
Tuition: $90.00

Syllabus

PDF for Printing

Music Composition Level 2

Objective:

To further study Music Composition by introducing music theory instruction/concepts and applying them to composing music. This will include writing/arranging compositions with melodic lines and harmonic structures.

Required Text/Tools:

  • Blank Staff Paper
  • Computer/Tablet to be able to log into Zoom
  • Ability to Record oneself playing their work
  • Ability to scan/take a picture and send written work to instructor

Week 1: What is harmony and how do I use it? Part 1 (Intervals and Triads)

  1. Define and Differentiate between an interval and a triad, and to show how they are used in music composition
  2. Listen to and go over the different types of intervals and triads and use some of them during in class work
  3. Writing Duets and Trios with the knowledge learned about Intervals and Triads
  4. Homework: Using the knowledge gained from this class write a minimum of 4 bar duet and trio

Week 2: What is harmony and how do I use it? Part 2 (7th Chords)

  1. What are 7th Chords?
  2. Where are they used?
  3. Analyzing compositions the use 7th chords and writing brief examples that use 7th chords?
  4. Homework: Write a minimum of an 8 bar piece for either piano or multiple instruments that uses 7th chords for harmony against an original melody

Week 3: Extended Harmony (9ths, 11ths, and 13ths)

  1. What are 9th, 11th, and 13th Chords?
  2. Where are they used?
  3. Analyzing compositions that use 9th, 11th, and 13th chords
  4. Homework: Write a minimum of an 8 bar piece for either piano or multiple instruments that uses 9th, 11th, and 13th chords for harmony against an original melody

Week 4: Quartet Writing

  1. Examples of Quartet Writing
  2. Analysis of Harmony used in Quartet Writing
  3. Homework: Write an 8 bar Quartet composition that uses elements of all of the harmony we’ve discussed so far

Week 5: Rhythm and Time Signatures

  1. Combining different types of rhythm and time signatures
  2. Listening to examples that use a variety of rhythms and time signatures.
  3. Work on brief examples that use a variety of rhythms and time signatures in the same piece.
  4. Homework: Write an original composition for either piano, or multiple instruments that combines everything we’ve done so far Harmony (Using Intervals, Triads, and 7th, 9th, 11th, & 13th chords) along with a melody line as well as varied rhythms and at least 2 different time signatures

Week 6: Review of our Original Compositions

  1. Review of our composition
  2. How to move forward in composition
  3. Final Thoughts

About the Instructor: 

Haneef N. Nelson is a trumpeter, composer, arranger and educator. He received degrees from the Hartt School and UMass Amherst. He has taught at Community Music School of Springfield, Hartt School of Music, Amherst College, and Keene State College. Mr. Nelson currently serves as Professor of Jazz History at the University of Rhode Island, in addition to having a private lesson studio. He has given masterclasses and workshops in various educational and professional settings as well as spent time recording with various Gospel and Jazz Artists. He has performed with Rene McLean, Bill Saxton, Chico Freeman, William Cepeda, Wilson “Chembo” Corniel, Nat Reeves, Yoron Israel, Avery Sharpe, Frank Lacy, Helen Sung, E.J. Strickland, Dezron Douglas, Brandee Younger, Doobie Powell, Musiq Soulchild, Feya Faku, Jonathan Barber, Billy Pierce and many others.

Reading The Signs:

An Exploration in Score Study and Repertoire

Instructor: Cailin Marcel Manson

This course presents students with an eclectic spread of concert music repertoire, inciting them to discern both the obvious and subtle features of a score when rendered for performance. Students will practice the skills of critical and analytical listening, reflect about what they perceive aurally, and pair these reflections with discussions on context and analysis in order to inform their own ideas about interpretation.

This session will require that students visually and aurally examine orchestral literature, extending the work on one piece for a number of weeks, to deepen their understanding and foster robust discussion.

Each unit will contain both an online lecture/discussion and a supplemental watching or listening list. The lecture/discussion will focus on particular concepts in the chosen piece; the supplemental listening for enrichment will contain an audio playlist for students to juxtapose to the week’s presented piece, and to increase their aural exposure to a wide range of orchestral repertoire.

Repertoire: Verdi, Saint-Saens, Bonds, Poulenc, Beach, Tchaikovsky, Still, Strauss, Schumann, Silbelius

Offered Sundays 5:00-6:00PM
Tuition: $90.00

“With the online classes that SSYO offers, I have been able to appreciate the value of using music to share feelings
across long distances, even during these dark times. I have deepened my ability to understand the structure of music
and to take in the diverse array of repertoire classical music has to offer through these online sessions.
I hope that more people are able to enjoy these courses.” ~ Kala, 8th grade, SSYO

Syllabus

PDF for Printing

Reading The Signs: An Exploration in Score Study and Repertoire

Students are expected to come to each lecture prepared with:

  • Journaled thoughts about the weekly supplemental list
  • Notes on the week’s assigned score
  • Readiness to listen and learn from each other
  • Openness and good humor

Any materials necessary for the study prescribed within the course will be distributed digitally.

Week One: Introduction (or Review) to Score Reading

Lecture: Score Order and Instrumentation, Melody, Harmony – and some musical “detective work”

Supplemental Watching:
Video: Gerard Schwarz gives a walkthrough of a masterpiece (with the All-Star Orchestra), Johannes Brahms – Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Link: https://youtu.be/VIV-yJfIrlI

Unit One: Weeks Two through Four

Lecture Piece:
Giuseppe Verdi – Overture to La forza del destino

Supplemental Listening:
Camille Saint-Saëns – Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op. 22
Margaret Bonds – The Ballad Of The Brown King
Francis Poulenc – Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani, FP 93
Amy Beach – Symphony in E Minor, “Gaelic,” Op. 32
Giacomo Puccini – Crisantemi, SC 65

Unit Two: Weeks Five and Six

Lecture Piece:
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

Supplemental Listening:
William Grant Still – Miss Sally’s Party
Richard Strauss – Don Juan, Op. 20
Clara Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7
Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39

About the Instructor: 

Cailin Marcel Manson, baritone and conductor, currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Music Performance at Clark University, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Germantown Concert Chorus in Philadelphia, PA, Music Director of the Bennington County Choral Society in Vermont, Music Director of BARN OPERA in Vermont, and Music Director of The Keene Chorale in New Hampshire. Mr. Manson studied voice performance at Temple University, and opera performance and orchestral conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.

Music Theory Level 1

Instructor: Kirsten Lipkens

This introductory course for any music student will start with the basics and create a strong foundation in Music Theory. We will go over the basics: clefs, intervals, rhythmic values, time signatures and begin to touch on chords.

Offered Saturdays, 10:15 – 11:15 am
Tuition: $90.00

“I am learning a lot through the music theory courses, which are giving me a deeper understanding of the music I am playing.”
~ Anna, 10th grade, SSYO

Syllabus

PDF for Printing

Music Theory Level 1

This introductory course is designed for all music students, no matter their level of performance.  The class will start with the basics and create a strong foundation in Music Theory. Topics covered: clefs, intervals, rhythmic values, time signatures, and ear training. Each class will include written and aural skill training.  Students will be able to actively participate during the class – using online tools and their own instruments. Printable worksheets will be provided for practice between classes as well as fun assignments that will fit into a student’s regular practice time on their instrument.

Week 1

  • The staff, pitch notation, rhythmic notation, and clefs

Week 2

  • The piano keyboard, chromaticism, major scales, all minor scales

Week 3

  • Whole steps and half steps
  • Intro to major and perfect intervals

Week 4 

  • Major, perfect, diminished, and augmented intervals

Week 5

  • Building the triad
  • Looking ahead: everyday theory with our instruments: how it makes us better musicians

Week 6

  • Super TRIVIA review game for prizes

Music Theory Level 2

Instructor: Kirsten Lipkens

This class is for students who have some basic theory knowledge, or have taken SSYO’s Music Theory 1. Theory 2 will begin with a review of intervals and move directly into building triads and 7th chords, reading complex meters and rhythms, and Roman numeral analysis.

Each class will include written and aural skill training.  Students will be able to actively participate during the class – using online tools and their own instruments. Printable worksheets will be provided for practice between classes as well as fun assignments that will fit into a student’s regular practice time on their instrument.

Offered Saturdays 9:00 – 10:00 am
Tuition: $90.00

Syllabus

PDF for printing

Music Theory Level 2

Theory 2 will begin with a review of intervals and move directly into building triads and 7th chords, and learning complex meters and rhythms. Each class will include written and aural skill training. Students will be able to actively participate during the class – using online tools and their own instruments. Printable worksheets will be provided for practice between classes as well as fun assignments that will fit into a student’s regular practice time on their instrument.

Week 1

  • Review of rhythms, intervals and basic triads. Listening and playing activities.

Week 2 

  • Triads and their inversion
  • Time Signatures and complex rhythms

Week 3

  • The Seventh Chord

Week 4

  • 7th Chords continued with inversions
  • Roman numerals

Week 5

  • Roman numeral analysis

Week 6

  • “Music theory comes to life”
  • Listening examples and review.  How to use theory in our daily practice and ensembles.
  • Theory trivia games

Music Theory Level 3

Instructor: Kirsten Lipkens

Open to students who have taken SSYO Music Theory 2 or understand intervals, triads, and 7th chords. Please contact Kirsten Lipkens: klipkens@SpringfieldSymphony.org  if you have any questions. This course will focus on ear training, melodic and rhythmic dictation, and Roman numeral analysis.  Students will learn how to look at a piece of music and identify chords and their inversions. If time permits, the class will explore counterpoint and 4-part harmony.

Offered Sundays 6:15 – 7:15pm
Tuition: $90.00

Syllabus

PDF for printing

Music Theory Level 3

Open to students who have taken SSYO Music Theory 2 or understand intervals, triads, and 7th chords. Please contact Kirsten Lipkens: klipkens@SpringfieldSymphony.org  if you have any questions. This course will focus on ear training, melodic and rhythmic dictation, and Roman numeral analysis.  Students will learn how to look at a piece of music and identify chords and their inversions. If time permits, the class will explore counterpoint and 4-part harmony.

Week 1

  • Deep dive into minor scales
  • Students will play them on their instrument

Week 2 

  • Review of chords and inversions
  • Rhythmic and melodic dictation

Week 3

  • Roman Numeral analysis in music
  • Rhythmic and melodic dictation

Week 4

  • Roman Numeral analysis continued
  • Rhythmic and melodic dictation

Week 5

  • Harmony and voice leading
  • Rhythmic and melodic dictation

Week 6

  • Final projects
  • Trivia games

About the Instructor: 

Kirsten Lipkens received degrees in music performance from Eastman School of Music and Yale University School of Music. She taught music theory for 7 years at Western New England University and enjoys making this subject fun and accessible to all students. As an oboist she has played with symphonies in Virginia, West Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Albany,NY,  and Springfield, MA. Before becoming the Education Director with the Springfield Symphony, she taught oboe at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College.

Small Ensembles & Coaching

Instructors: Members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra

To be scheduled by ensemble. Open to all instruments, and levels.

If you are a string player and interested in working with a program that allows you to hear your group in real time so that you can all play together, please specify.  This requires set up and purchase of a microphone and headset.

All other ensembles utilize Zoom.

Please contact Kirsten Lipkens directly to register for this class: KLipkens@SpringfieldSymphony.org

“I miss playing (with the Springfield Youth Symphonia), so I like being able to connect with people online.
It’s great being able to see everyone, to practice together, and to keep my skills current.”  ~ Arianna, 9th grade, SSYO
“I had a lot of fun being able to play my instrument during the pandemic with my fellow musicians in the small ensemble group.
I have especially enjoyed getting feedback and coaching from the professional musicians in the Springfield Symphony, and appreciate the time
they spent with us. I would never have had these opportunities without the SSYO.” ~ Anna, SSYO, 10th grade, SSYO