Composition and Musicianship

The Composition and Musicianship Department offers group classes and private lessons that deepen students’ understanding of how music works and fosters their ability to express themselves musically. The Musicianship programs give students a strong foundation in reading music, ear-training, and analysis. The Composition programs provide instruction on the techniques and processes of creating music in a variety of styles and genres, while allowing students to develop their skills through hands-on workshops and performances. Browse through the C&M offerings below to learn more

Young Composers Project | Musicianship Group Classes | Conducting Basics | Composition/Theory Private Lessons 

Conducting Basics

The covered topics will enhance the students' performance in both ensembles and private lessons.
The covered topics will enhance the students' performance in both ensembles and private lessons.

This 6-week introduction to the fundamentals of conducting will allow students to receive hands-on instruction from HCD faculty member Scott A. Provost Switzer on aspects of successful ensemble leadership. Topics include conducting technique, score reading, and musical interpretation. At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to apply their newfound skills by conducting an instrumental ensemble.

Prerequisites

Students must be in grades 9 through 12 with a minimum of 3 years of musical study on their instrument of choice. They must read music, and have a solid understanding of time and key signatures. This course is open to all instrumentalists as well as vocal students.

How to Join

Please contact department head Jessica Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu to be placed on our interest list.

Musicianship Group Classes

Musicianship classes are designed to supplement weekly private instruction on an instrument or voice.
Musicianship classes are designed to supplement weekly private instruction on an instrument or voice.

Musicianship classes allow students to build skills and gain knowledge relating to music theory, ear training, and music history. These engaging classes are filled with opportunities for listening, discussion, and active participation. Students will apply concepts through performance, analysis, and composition. Both in-class and at-home activities will help students master the covered material and grow as musicians. For the convenience of our students, these classes are offered both in-person and online.

Music Theory and Ear Training Fundamentals I

Grades 7–Adult
Saturdays, 8:45-9:45 a.m.

This introductory class helps students become proficient in the fundamentals of music literacy. Students will improve their note-reading in treble and bass clefs, as well as rhythm reading in simple and compound meters. They also will learn major scales and key signatures, minor scales and key signatures, and intervals.

This level is offered as both an in-person class and an online course that students can work through at their own speed. Online classes are open to all ages, and students can join at any time during the year. 

No placement assignment is required to join Music Theory and Ear Training Fundamentals I.

Music Theory and Ear Training Fundamentals II

Grades 7–Adult
Saturdays, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

This class builds on the topics covered in Music Theory and Ear Training Fundamentals I. It is designed for students who can: 

  • Fluently read notes in both treble and bass clef
  • Fluently count rhythms in simple and compound meter
  • Build and identify major and minor scales and key signatures
  • Build and identify musical intervals
  • Demonstrate proficiency with basic aural skills 

Students in this class will further develop their skills in those areas, while also gaining proficiency with tonal harmony. Topics will include triads, seventh chords, diatonic chords, analysis of diatonic harmony, and basic formal analysis. Singing with solfege, musical dictation, and other ear training skills also will be covered.

All students (both new and returning) must complete a placement assignment. Please contact department head Jessica Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu to express interest.

Advanced Music Theory and Ear Training

Grades 7–Adult
Saturdays, 1:30-2:30 p.m.


This class builds on the topics covered in Fundamentals I and II. It is designed for students who can:

  • build and identify triads and seventh chords
  • complete tonal harmonic analysis
  • complete basic formal analysis
  • demonstrate proficiency with selected aural skills


Students in this class will further develop their skills in those areas, while also exploring more advanced topics. The class content rotates each year, so that students may repeat the class as desired. For more information on course topics, please contact Jessica Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu

Tuition and Registration

Classes are open to all HCD private-lesson students at no additional charge. Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

All students (both new and returning) must complete a placement assignment if they would like to join Fundamentals II or Advanced Theory and Ear Training. No placement assignment is required to join Fundamentals I. Contact Dr. Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu for more information about placement. Students may join the online Fundamentals class at any time.

Classes and Tuition

Class Tuition for HCD Private Lesson Students Tuition for All Others
Fundamentals I (Online) Free $125
Fundamentals I (In-Person) $200 $475
Fundamentals II $200 $475
Advanced $200 $475

Young Composers Project

When students deepen their understanding of music, they grow as listeners.
When students deepen their understanding of music, they grow as listeners.

The Young Composers Project (YCP) inspires students to express themselves creatively in music. This unique program is designed for students of all experience levels, and will provide each student with the skills necessary to develop their own voice as a composer. The course of study found in YCP not only helps prepare students for future compositional work (such as collegiate study or a career in composition), it also deepens their understanding of music.

Click here to learn about YCP Summer Edition.

Program Highlights

YCP participants work with a faculty composer in one-hour classes from October to May. The small class size fosters a collaborative environment and allows students to spend a considerable amount of time on personal projects. Class time is typically divided between instruction on various compositional techniques and group discussion of the students' in-progress pieces.

In addition to the regular class meetings, YCP also includes a number of special activities for the students. In the past, these have included master classes with visiting composers, behind the scenes visits to rehearsals of local ensembles, and a special reading/recording session in which advanced students performed each others’ works.

Who Can Participate?

YCP is for students in grades 7–12 with an interest in:

  • Learning to express themselves through music
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of how music works
  • Sharing their music with other students
  • Studying with active and enthusiastic mentor composers
  • Working with professional musicians
  • Hearing their music realized in live performance

Students of all levels are welcome. Previous composition experience is not required, though students should be comfortable reading music. Intermediate/advanced students are welcome in YCP, and/or are encouraged to consider private composition lessons.

Schedule and Tuition

Classes will be offered at the following days/times:

Tuesdays at 7:30–8:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 10-11 a.m.
Saturdays at 2:35-3:35 p.m.

Tuition: $475

Interested in starting mid-year? Please e-mail department head Jessica Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu

HICO Residency

Hearing one’s music realized by live performers is essential to growing as a composer, so YCP has partnered with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra for an exciting residency. YCP students will have the opportunity to participate in reading sessions with HICO musicians during the fall and winter, and a subset of the ensemble will be available to perform students’ compositions at our annual final concert in May. Students receive recordings of all reading sessions and the final concert for their own personal use.

Technology

Participants will use relevant music software to communicate their ideas.  Access to a computer to complete work outside of class is required. If you would like recommendations on software (including free options for those starting out) or have questions about the use of technology in this program, please contact Dr. Rudman at rudman@hartford.edu.

Student Examples

 

Aiden Caron - Somewhere Between Home and the Heavens 

Helkin F. Sosa - La Conquista - I. Hernán Cortés

Benjamin Rickevicius- A Duet for Two Guitars 

 

Questions?

Please call the main office at 860.768.4451 or e-mail us at harttcomm@hartford.edu

Experience the transformative power of a Community Division education.