Chamber Music & Electives

During the afternoon and evening, MMR singers and instrumentalists broaden their musical experience by participating in a wide variety of small chamber ensembles and elective classes. Registered participants will be sent an Afternoon Activities Preference form to indicate their choices. A typical program would be one Chamber Ensemble, and one Elective or Free Time.  Ensembles and Electives are scheduled in the same time slots. Experienced campers reserve some time each day for FREE TIME, practice, rest or recreation.

Campers may also request chamber ensembles using a secondary instrument or voice.  eg.  singers may request an instrumental ensemble; instrumentalists  may request a vocal group; wind or brass players may request a string group; etc.  

Electives change each year. Electives for 2017: 

Free Time  An unscheduled hour for relaxation or personal practice.

And the Beat Goes On... Before Melody and Harmony came Rhythm. Immerse yourself in the  fundamental tool of the singer or instrumentalist.  Michael Burch-Pesses

Gentle Yoga is a slow, relaxing yoga asana (posture) practice, suitable for all body types and all levels of experience. Focus is on connecting the breath with movement and down-regulating the body’s nervous system. Like other styles of yoga, gentle yoga can relieve stress, increases flexibility, calm the mind, and strengthen the body. Gentle yoga, in particular, can be relaxing and help enhance the range of motion. Students interested in this course should bring comfortable clothing for stretching, and a yoga mat. Lydia Van Dreel

Music Theory for the Fun of It  Thane Lewis   Join us for a four-day journey into the language of music. You will do some simple and fun ear training and dictation. You will experience enlightenment as you clarifiy musical terms and review simple notation, keys and key signatures and their relationships.  A special guest artist of the musical occult will join us to plumb the human psychology and mystery of the progression and you will investigate some friendly web-based musical resources to take your study of theory and ear-training with you when you return to the mundane world. An experience not to be missed.

Musicianship for Singers, Loren Pontén Are you overwhelmed by what you see in a choral or vocal score? Do you self-select out of MMR electives because you think your sight-reading or music fundamentals skills are subpar? Do you always learn music by hearing it first? This elective is for you! Through this introductory level elective using the tried and tested Kodály Method, participants will develop critical musical thinking and reading skills, and cultivate inner hearing through direct experience with the fundamentals of music.

Beginning Voice Class, Gabriel Gargari. This elective is geared toward those who are new to singing and will cover the basics of vocal production and singing. Participants will each learn one song for possible solo performance. Open to instrumentalists and vocalists; previous music fundamentals or sight-reading skills study advised.

Composition, The composition class is a workshop for those who are already working on a piece or would like to have input on their completed work(s). Prior experience and knowledge of intermediate theory is required. Roupen Shakarian

Drum Circle, You do not have to be a master drummer to succeed in this class. After learning the basic technique for hand drumming we will learn African and Latin drumming patterns. Through these patterns we practice our ensemble skills of listening, feeling the internal pulse and fitting our rhythm into the pattern. Past students have said that transferring what they learn in this class to their other instruments helps them in rehearsal and performance settings. Patrick Roulet

Baroque Orchestra for Strings Explore repertoire and technique with a master. Will perform at Saturday Tea.  Sandi Schwarz

Brass Ensemble, Open to all brass: uses standard, modern instruments. Directed by William Berry

Jazz Big Band, An ideal group for all who enjoy performing large ensemble jazz. The group features traditional big band instrumentation: saxophones, trumpets, trombones and rhythm section players — piano, bass and drums. Repertoire is drawn from a mix of unique arrangements of jazz standards and originals. The band performs at Skit Night. Jim Sisko

Afternoon Elective Orchestra An afternoon ensemble for strings and classical brass, winds. Repertoire drawn from all eras. Lots of sight reading; low key performance. Very fun! Roger Nelson.

Saxophone Ensemble, Patrick Sheng

Fingerboard Geography for Violinists:  An adventurous class exploring the uncharted territories of the violin fingerboard.  The curriculum will include building a healthy and efficient left-hand technique through tetrachords (4-note finger patterns), examining the intervallic relationship between fingers, exploring new positions, developing courageous shifts, and tender loving care of the pinky. A fun class for violinists at all levels.  Deede Cook

Introduction to the Alexander Technique, Adam Burdick. The Alexander Technique offers principles that help us to understand our body’s structure and workings and uncover how our habits of movement and misconceptions of form can work against our best use of our selves. Using these principles, we can clarify and refine our movements in any activity, from the seemingly simple – like getting out of a chair – to the undoubtedly complex, like playing a musical instrument. Join Adam as he shares some favorite insights to help you explore more nuanced ways to think about your body and your movement. Open to all; no experience necessary.

Women’s “Anything But Classical” Vocal Ensemble, Adam Burdick. There is plenty of popular music out there that is challenging enough to satisfy a discriminating singer with catchy tunes, rich harmonies, and interesting arrangements that are a lot of fun to sing. We’ll explore music by vocally “tight” trios of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 90s, solo artists like Karen Carpenter and Enya, world- and folk-influenced groups like Sweet Honey In the Rock, and a new generation of creative a cappella women’s groups like Moira Smiley and VOCO. Previous singing experience and good sight-reading skills recommended.

Great American Songbook II (All Voices) Rekindle your love of songs from the Great American Songbook or dive into a genre of music that you haven’t yet experienced. We will focus on the music of Cole Porter this year. This elective will involve listening, lively discussion, singing, and performance. Previous singing experience and good sight-reading skills helpful.   Teresa Lin.

I Hate to Read Music, But I Love to Sing!, Lisa Cardwell Pontén. Are you intimidated by sight-reading? Here is a class for you! We'll work on various strategies for looking at music for the first time and making sense out it. Even if you feel you are a beginner, this can help you get to the next level. This will be a 100% supportive and fun learning environment! Instrumentalists are welcome; please know participants will be using their voices a great deal.

Madrigal Madness This elective is perfect for instrumentalists and vocalists who want to explore English and Italian madrigals—and who want to get their fill of “fa la la la las”. Instrumentalists: Consider playing a vocal line on your instrument or singing; vocalists: consider singing or playing your vocal line on a secondary instrument. Good sight-reading skills recommended. Katie Weld.

They’re Not Dead Yet: Choral Music of Living Composers, Scott Kovacs. Open to all voice types, this elective will explore choral music by living composers, an area of passion and expertise for Scott. This elective will involve critical listening, singing, and performance. Previous singing experience and good sight-reading skills recommended.

Flute Choir, faculty

Clarinet Choir, faculty

Percussion Ensemble, faculty

Jazz Improvisation, Open to instrumentalists and vocalists, this class will cover the basics of improvising: chord progressions, what scales to use with what chords, articulation styles, and how to develop a melody. Jim Sisko