Rock, Roots, and Jazz at The Hartt School Community Division
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Weekend Storm and Arrival Advisory

With a severe winter storm forecast to affect our area during Saturday night and Sunday, residential students are asked to postpone their return to campus to Monday afternoon or, for those whose class schedules allow, Tuesday. Students, please do not arrive on campus Sunday, and check back here throughout the storm's duration for the latest advisories. Those students whose travel arrangements do not allow for a return to campus on Monday or Tuesday will be permitted to arrive during the day on Saturday and will be able to access their residential space by ID swipe. (Please note that meal plans go into effect with the Sunday evening meal.)

Hartt Community Division students and families, please check back here during the weekend for the status of HCD activities.

Rock, Roots, and Jazz

Instructor: Luke Nelson

The Creative Studies Department is dedicated to providing students with innovative and distinctive musical experiences. The ensembles inspire students to look at collaboration and inspiration outside of the realm of classical music:


American Roots

For students in grades 7–adult
Tuesdays at 6:30-7:30 pm
Length of course: 24 classes (Sept.-May)

American Roots music covers a wide range of styles, from Blues to Bluegrass, from string bands to the Folk Revival music of the 60s. Much of this music is personal, political, and powerful and here’s your chance to join the band! Playing the music of Pete Seeger, the Carter Family, Bob Dylan and more, you can let your voice be heard. Players at every level are invited to join, using limited music reading and lots of ear training to develop authentic roots performances. The group is sure to improve your playing and listening skills while giving you a chance to jam with other “fans of Folk.” Instrumentation includes guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass and voice, although other instruments will be considered. Don’t miss this chance to be part of the next Folk Revival!

The ensemble welcomes players in grades 7 and up interested in studying and playing this rich, powerful music. Instrumentation is designed for acoustic guitar, string bass, banjo, mandolin, violin (fiddle), and voice. However, other instruments will be considered, depending on interest. A placement meeting is required.  Contact Luke Nelson for more information.

Register now!

Hartt Harmony: A cappella and vocal arranging

For students in grades 9–12
Thursdays at 5:00-6:00 pm
Length of course: 24 weeks (Oct.-May)

A class for singers only! This chamber vocal ensemble will be a training ground for both singers and arrangers. Students will develop their best singing skills and ear training to create an impressive vocal sound, while learning about arranging for voices. Hartt Harmony is an a cappella ensemble featuring close harmony singing, with music supplied by both the director and the students. We will cover a wide range of music, from the Renaissance to today. Students are expected to read music and develop their voices toward an ensemble blend that is at the heart of this performance practice.

Hartt Harmony is limited to 4 sopranos, 4 altos, 4 tenors, and 4 basses.

Register now!


For students in grades 7–12
Saturdays at 2:45-3:45 pm
Length of course: 24 meetings (Sept.-May)

If you are looking to improve your playing and develop a personal style, this is the class for you. Find your musical voice in this challenging and exciting ensemble!

The HCD Hot Club provides the tools and repertoire to perform an acoustic swing music based on the legendary Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Using the songs and style of the great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, students will discover a new level of musical expression.

The music is a combination of European folk music and American swing, sometimes referred to as “Gypsy Jazz.” Many of the songs are very simple to learn and play, which makes them perfect for collective music making and “jamming,” while providing literature of a musical genre that is respected around the world. This musical style provides plenty of room for improvisation, while helping to develop skills that are essential to all musicians (keeping a beat, listening and blending, playing with feeling, etc.). 

The course is limited to three violins, two woodwind instruments, one accordion, one cello, one string bass, and three acoustic guitars. No amps allowed! Students will supply their own instruments and should be able to read music. A placement meeting is required.  Contact Luke Nelson for more information.

Register now!

Jazz Combo

For students in grades 6–12
Grades 6-8: Wednesdays at 5-6 pm
Grades 9-12: Wednesdays at 6:15-7:15 pm or Fridays at 6:15-7:15
Length of course: 24 meetings (Sept.–May)
* Meets in Simsbury

Hartt Jazz Combo

The Hartt Jazz Combo is designed for students looking for a chamber-sized ensemble to develop their jazz playing, practice improvising, and increase their knowledge of classic jazz tunes. From Blues to Be Bop, the Jazz Combo is a training ground for middle school and high school players. 

Students will develop their collaborative skills in this smaller ensemble, and have the opportunity to explore improvisation at great length. The language and history of jazz will be part of the process, as we study the legends and explore this great art form. Students should be able to read music and have an understanding of the jazz style to be part of this ensemble. Find out how far your jazz playing can go in a combo setting that lets you be heard.

The course is limited to 4 winds and a rhythm section. A placement meeting is required.  Contact Luke Nelson for more information.

Register now!


For students in grades 7–12
Thursdays at 6:00-7:00 pm
Length of course: 24 weeks (Sept.-May)

Rock Band 2016 at The Hartt School Community DivisionHartt’s Rock Band offers students a collaborative environment in which they can develop their individual musicianship, study classic Rock literature, and be part of a band. In addition to receiving training in these areas, students will work together to create their own versions of the music.

Instrumentation includes (but is not strictly limited to) guitar, keyboard, bass, some winds and drums. Singers are most welcome! Students are expected to read some music, however, more time will be devoted to developing a musical ear, and creating a unified band sound.

Register now!


Ukulele at HCDFor students in grades 7 -12
Saturdays at 12:30-1:30 pm
Length of course: 8 classes
Two Sessions: Sept-Dec. and Jan.-April

An ensemble designed for everyone! If you are just starting in music, or have played for years, this ensemble will increase your musical vocabulary while providing an ensemble experience that is rewarding and fun. Students will learn about melody, chords and rhythm while playing music from Rock to Bach. No music reading is required. Bring your own ukulele and plan on having a great time growing your musical world. 

Register now!


For 16 and up
Tuesdays at 5:15-6:15 pm
Length of course: 8 classes
Two Sessions: Sept-Dec. and Jan.-April

Adults, don’t let kids have all the fun! This class will provide you with a unique musical experience. Pick up a ukulele and join in!

Ukulele class offers an entry into the world of ensemble playing on an instrument that is easy to learn and played around the world. Beginners and seasoned players are encouraged to join this class, as we learn the basics of melody and chord playing on music from Rock to Bach. Students will learn by ear, playing together as an ensemble, while developing musical skills along the way. Students will supply their own ukuleles. 

Register now!

 Creative Studies registration information.