Courses

Below is a complete list of current Musical Arts Academy course and ensemble offerings. Fall classes run for 10 weeks, September 12 through November 19, unless otherwise specified. Please feel free to contact the instructor for additional information.

BANJO (BLUEGRASS): BEGINNER GROUP CLASS

This course serves as an introduction to the bluegrass banjo style, as made famous by Earl Scruggs. We’ll talk about basic technique for both hands, and will work through the basic right-hand patterns, or “rolls,” that are the building blocks of the style. Students will work through tunes from the quintessential bluegrass repertoire, and will become fluent in the different roles of the banjo, both as a soloist and playing backup. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: Wednesday evenings
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Nate Roberts
EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC CLASS

Just like a language, children start learning music when they are born. At first, they watch and listen and babble in response to their environment. In Early Bird Music Classes, your child will participate in 45 minutes of informal, structured guidance in music, which will give your child the opportunity for exposure to an extensive music vocabulary and to play and experiment with music. This class is for ages birth-5.

  • Tuition: $140
  • Class meeting time: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Room: 192
  • Instructor: Christina Hornbach
FIDDLE: BEGINNER GROUP CLASS

This course will serve as an introduction to playing the fiddle. We’ll focus on various aspects of technique applicable to all styles of violin and fiddle playing such as intonation, posture, grip, rhythm, double stops and vibrato. Along the way, we will learn American old-time and bluegrass fiddle tunes in the keys of D, A, G and C. Students will also begin to develop the famous “chop” technique. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: Wednesday evenings
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Kyle Nester
FLUTES SOLI

Flutes Soli is a group for flutists from grade seven and higher who want to play flute music with flutists. This group is meant to be challenging for some and moderate for others, but it will be a learning experience and fun for all who join! For ensemble policies, as well as a detailed schedule of rehearsals and performances, please visit the Flutes Soli website.

  • Tuition: $25
  • Class meeting time: Tuesdays 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Room: 130
  • Instructor: Julie Sooy
GUITAR (FLATPICKING): BEGINNER GROUP CLASS

This course will introduce the flatpicking style of acoustic guitar playing used in most traditional American folk music, and especially bluegrass. Students will learn basic left and right-hand technique, and will develop efficiency, tone and speed with a pick. We will cover basic open position major and minor chords, and will discuss accompaniment styles and lead playing. Students will learn to play bluegrass standards and fiddle tunes, and will be introduced to following song forms and taking improvised solo breaks. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: Wednesday evenings
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Nate Roberts
IMPROVISATION/MUSIC THEORY LAB

This course is open to all instruments and is intended to serve as introduction to and an accelerated course in improvisation in all styles, and practical music theory as it relates to improvisation, songwriting and basic musicianship. We will take concepts that seem like rocket science and make them practical, simple and useful, and provide a friendly and unintimidating environment to explore improvisation. You will gain knowledge and proficiency as an improviser in all styles of music, from Americana to Zydeco. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: alternating Saturdays 10–11:30 a.m. 
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Nate Roberts
KANTO CHILDREN’S CHOIR

KANTO is one of our performance division children’s choirs. We welcome singers in grades 3–8 with unchanged voices. After auditioning prior to the semester, singers are placed in either SHIRA or KANTO. KANTO performs a fall and spring concert each year and has previously collaborated with the Holland Chorale and the Holland Symphony Orchestra.

LARKS CHILDREN’S CHOIR

LARKS is our new Preparatory Division Choir! The focus of LARKS will be on listening skills, musicianship, healthy vocal development and age-appropriate rehearsal skills. Though LARKS will not sing in formal concerts, the group will provide an in-class demonstration at the end of each term. This non-performing group is intended for students in kindergarten through second grade. 

MANDOLIN: BEGINNER GROUP CLASS

This course will introduce bluegrass-style mandolin playing. Proper technique and fundamentals will be emphasized, and students will develop efficient right-hand alternate-picking technique. We will cover basic open position major and minor chords, and will discuss accompaniment styles and lead playing. Students will learn to play bluegrass standards and fiddle tunes, and will be introduced to following song forms and taking improvised solo breaks. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: Wednesday evenings
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Nate Roberts
MUSIC HISTORY FOR ADULTS

This class offers an overview of music history for the Western classical music-loving non-musician who is interested to know more about composers or place works into a historical context. This class is an opportunity for members of the community to be a part of MAA even though they may not read music or play an instrument. Participants will be expected to read a short article and listen to the provided music prior to each meeting so that classes are part lecture and part group discussion. The fall semester focuses on early music through Beethoven and the spring semester reviews all music post-Beethoven. 

  • Tuition: $140
  • Class meeting time: Mondays 4:30–5:30 p.m.
  • Room: 194
  • Instructor: Genevieve Beaulieu
SHIRA CHILDREN’S CHOIR

SHIRA is one of our performance division children’s choirs. We welcome singers in grades 3–8 with unchanged voices. After auditioning prior to the semester, singers are placed in either SHIRA or KANTO. SHIRA performs a joint fall and spring concert each year with KANTO. 

SONGWRITING WORKSHOP

This course functions as a class as well as a writer’s workshop, with songwriting assignments for each class period and in-class peer reviewing. Topics discussed will include traditional American folk song forms, basic music theory, chord progression writing, lyric writing and lyrical analysis, band part-writing and instrumental arranging. Aspiring songwriters of all experience levels (including the “never written a song in my life” crowd) are encouraged to participate.

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: alternating Saturdays 10–11:30 a.m.
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Nate Roberts
UKULELE: BEGINNER GROUP CLASS

This course will introduce the fundamentals of both Hawaiian and popular stylings of ukulele playing. We will explore the rudiments of tuning, technique and posture. Students will learn basic left- and right-hand technique, while developing efficiency and tone. We will cover basic open position major and minor chords and discuss accompaniment styles and lead playing. This course will also concentrate on reading tablature music notation and developing a repertoire of various popular tunes. 

  • Tuition: $250
  • Class meeting time: Wednesday evenings
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Jared DeMeester
WOODWIND QUINTET

The woodwind quintet is comprised of students on flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and french horn. The quintet will perform once a semester. An audition is required for admittance. Please contact the instructor to schedule an audition prior to registration. 

  • Tuition: $150 for the year
  • Class meeting time: TBA
  • Room: TBA
  • Instructor: Gabe Southard