The How

 

The CTA Music Academy will focus on the following aspects of 21st Century music-making acknowledging that musicians continue to develop over a lifetime and that these are crucial skills that will set these young musicians apart from their traditionally trained peers.

·      Strong Fundamentals (ear training, listening, harmony, technique)

·      Improvisation 

·      Composition

·      Mixed Chamber Music

·      World Music 

·      Roots of American Pop (Jazz, Blues, Classical)

·      Business Skills

Strong Fundamentals
(Ear Training, Listening, Harmony, Technique)

Strength in the fundamentals of music and technique have always been, and will continue to be, the key to success and the ability to create. The more usable tools that are at a student’s disposal the more they have the capacity to create and continue to nurture their talent.  We aim to help provide structure and learning strategies to build and develop these basic building blocks.  It ultimately doesn’t matter how innovative or creative a Picasso, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, or Beethoven is without the skills to pull it off from the thousands of hours of deliberate practice that came before.

Improvisation

Improvisation has forever been the central building-block of musicianship.  Skills in fearless improvisation is the key component in a multitude of styles from jazz, blues, and rock to flamenco, classical Indian, and Cuban son.  In the western classical tradition, it is well known that the great composers like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were all gifted instrumentalists and improvisers, which ultimately gave rise to their composition prowess.  Unfortunately, in our music classes, improvisation is left only for the institutionalized jazz tradition and is often taught as an add-on in the general curriculum.  We aim to bring it back to the front-and-center as a fundamental part of what it means to function as a musician.

Composition

The past century has seen the rise (and maybe the fall?) of the expert. The solitary artist creates a masterwork and reveals it to the world as performed by expertly trained musicians that can sight-read and perform with precision. However, prior to this model, and in many other traditions like jazz and rock, it is relatively common for musicians to create their own material.  In fact, the ability to create your own music is certainly the key factor to being able to participate fully as a musician in the growing industry.

Mixed Chamber Music

Music is being made with increasingly diverse groups.  Rock music with cello, Balkan-brass bands, and mixed chamber music.   The existing amazing body of repertoire will continue to pull orchestras, string quartets, and traditional ensembles together and the skill set to perform this music at a world-class level will continue to be necessary. But, as music becomes increasingly diverse, the ability to function in a non-traditional ensemble, with non-traditional repertoire is crucial.  Besides, playing music with people you usually don’t get to create with is both musically and socially rewarding (a ton of fun!)

World Music

Influences from diverse music have always been a part of the music-making tradition.  From Mozart’s use of Turkish music to Johnny Cash’s use of Mariachi, the bringing together of musical styles has long been a catalyst to new sounds.  Diversity in music is one of the most exciting trends currently made possible by the technology of high-speed internet creating an explosion of new music.  So many traditions warrant dedicated study including (and certainly not limited to!) Argentine Tango, Cuban Son, Brazilian Choro, Flamenco, Sub-Saharan African folk, Arabic devotional, Indian classical, and Chinese opera.  Our goal with the Music Academy is to pick one or two- delve into the roots and fundamentals of these traditions with an expert and draw out of the process additional resources, added musical talent, and an expansion of the mind.

Roots of American Pop

Understanding the roots of American Pop from a sound-based musical perspective is extremely helpful in a young musician’s evolution.  Hearing the evolution from the emergence of European classical tradition with African folk into the blues and early jazz, into swing, country, and folk, into be-bop, rock and roll, punk and hip-hop builds a framework for the modern musician.

Business Skills

Many art schools are redesigning entire curriculums around the vocational skills needed for entrepreneurial success in the 21st Century. While certainly a huge missing component to most programs, it would be a colossal mistake to encourage a student to think about promoting themselves when they are just beginning the process of learning to create. Still, just as the tech in our current era has made it easy to create professional level material, certainly, business skills are needed to disseminate our work. Our goal at CTA Music Academy is to provide structure and insight into how to start to build a self-directed entrepreneurial skill set while acknowledging that the emphasis for young musicians needs to be on talent development and artistic validity.