Advanced Conducting Skills for the Theater
This is a hands-on, lab-style course, focused on skills particular and unique to theater conducting. Each student will choose a different musical from a list of possibilities and during the course of the semester will prepare, analyze and conduct parts of it. Additionally, all students will conduct each other. Students will also sing, play, and read dialogue for each other in order to simulate specific, relevant theater conducting situations.
Theater Musical Direction
This is a lecture/discussion class, which begins with a brief history of the modern American musical and basic definitions of theater terminology. Topics discussed will cover the period from the 1920s through the present, following the development of the musical from its song-and-sketch and European operetta roots to the modern integrated music drama. The body of the course follows the journey of a show from its inception through to closing night. Each participant will choose a songwriter or songwriting team as a subject for an in-depth presentation for the rest of the class. Basic theater terminology will also be taught and students will be tested on history and theater craft.
Coaching Theater Vocalists
This is a course designed to benefit both conducting students and vocalists who wish to hone their theater skills. Conducting students will observe the instructor coaching singers in theatrical material, both in performance and audition settings, eventually taking over the coaching under the instructor's supervision. The format is much like a master class. Each vocalist will have his/her moment to perform each week. Text and character analysis; choosing and fully realizing the dramatic action of the material; and determining the appropriate vocal style, correct key, and song's routine is discussed in each case. Emphasis is on the dramatic elements of the material as a basis for musical decisions, and how musical and theatrical aesthetics inform each other. Basic elements of song structure will also be addressed for the benefit of both singers and coaches. Vocalists may rehearse off-hours with conducting student/accompanists if they wish, but part of the training involves singing with pianists they have not rehearsed with to in order to improve communication skills with accompanists and simulate actual audition conditions.
Careers in Conducting
Presentation and discussion on the topics of what it takes to succeed as a professional conductor in the 21st century. Several topics will be presented throughout the semester, including how to run a recording session, the business aspect of being a conductor, interpersonal responsibilities, management, and planning. Conducting remains one of the music's elusive professions: why do some succeed while others fail? Following Richard Strauss, we spend our whole lives trying to become better conductors, only to find out at the end of our lives how much more we have to learn. In addition, the financial and managerial aspects of our organizations and of our own careers ought never to be too far from our minds: for in them we occupy the dual roles of senior manager and principal artist.
The Art of Counterpoint
This course will instruct students in the fundamental principles of free counterpoint (i.e., composition with melodic lines) with an emphasis on two-part writing. Through the utilization of a three-pronged focus on principles, literature, and experiential practice, students will complete exercises and projects involving composition and performance within the common-practice period with additional attention to and experience in contemporary tonal practice.
Tonal Counterpoint 1
Free counterpoint within a functional tonal context. Emphasis on two-voice writing, binary, and melodic phrase forms.
Tonal Two-Part Canon and Invention
Continuation of CP-211. A thorough study of canon and two-part invention through analysis and composition within a functional tonal language.
Art of Counterpoint 2
A thorough study of the Two and Three-Part Inventions of J.S. Bach through analysis and composition within a functional tonal language. There will be two projects, a two-part invention and a three-part invention in the style of Bach.
Analysis and writing of three- and four-voice imitative counterpoint based on traditional models. Models include fugue, chorale prelude, and passacaglia or chaconne.
The course is based on the examination of different realms of 20th-century counterpoint through the detailed analysis of contrapuntal styles and techniques of leading innovative composers such as Ravel, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Bartók, Messiaen, Honegger, Barber, and composers of the New Viennese School. More recent stages in the evolution of counterpoint will be studied in examples by Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Schnittke, and Gubaidulina, as well as contemporary American composers (including Berklee composers).
Jazz Counterpoint 1
Study of the process for creating multiline textures in a given melodic and/or harmonic situation. Voice-leading, melodic analysis and embellishment, rhythm, and form. Assigned written projects to emphasize the role of contrapuntal practices in arranging.
Jazz Counterpoint 2
Continuation of CP-361. Emphasis on the role that counterpoint plays in jazz composition.