The Academy

The music program launched the Academy of Creative Education when it began in 2003. Two years later we built our theatre program, since then, our commitment to musical and theatre innovation as well as pushing the boundaries of performing arts education has only deepened. We continue in our belief that each student has a distinctive voice as an artist, and that each of these voices deserves to be shared through performance, and the creation of original work.

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ACE Music

The 4-week Academy program for high school students which focuses on performance (rock/pop, jazz, and classical) with specialized programs in songwriting, composition, and electronic music for advanced students.

The ACE music curriculum consists of these major areas of study:

At the core of the ACE music experience are ensembles–where students make music every day alongside music faculty who are some of the most dynamic and innovative music-makers from L.A., New York, and beyond.  Each summer we create an exciting and diverse lineup of ensembles based on student interviews/auditions and faculty ideas: ranging from rock, jazz, and classical ensembles to music from non-western traditions and experimental genre-bending new styles.  In addition to numerous rock bands, jazz ensembles, and classical chamber groups, some of the eclectic offerings from recent years include:

  • Balkan Brass Band
  • Mambo
  • Salsa
  • Dixieland
  • Afrobeat
  • Bluegrass
  • Choro (Brazilian jazz)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Sun Ra Arkestra


Musicianship Skills

Skills classes focus on practical and theoretical aspects of music that are applicable to students’ musical interests. Each week students choose from a variety of topics offered by expert teaching artists. Some recent Skills courses include:

  • Voice leading for back-up vocals
  • Why do I have to understand modes?
  • The Language of Bebop
  • How to Read (and Write) a Lead Sheet
  • Expanding Your Rhythmic Horizons
  • Advanced Harmony
  • The Use of Microtones in Ethiopian Jazz


Instrument Forums
These small group classes bring together students who play like instruments (e.g. strings; winds/brass; jazz rhythm section, etc.) Students work with a master teaching artist on instrumental technique, sight-reading, ensemble playing, instrument maintenance, and other topics specific to their instrument or instrument group.


Guest Artist Concert & Lecture Series

Each day, ACE guest artists present intimate concerts, presentations, and Q&A sessions, giving our students a chance to experience incredible live music and to learn about a diverse array of career paths in music and the arts. Some past artists include:


Specialized Areas of Study

For students wishing to pursue areas outside the core music curriculum, we offer programs in Composition, Songwriting, and Electronic Music, based on student interest.  Students pursuing these special topics receive individual and small group instruction as they work toward culminating compositions, recordings, and performances.  Students wishing to concentrate in one of these areas should contact Danny Holt, the music chair, for more information.

Sign up for music at the Academy this summer and find out what kind of musician you want to be…

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