Our Programs of Study

Piano is the most popular beginning instrument for the young and young at heart musician. All styles from classical to jazz are being offered to students of all ages and abilities, be they beginners or very advanced. We have wide range of students: students who want to play just for fun, students who excel with the SMAA curriculum or students who need to prepare for a career in music. Since we have many teachers on the faculty we are able to match students with a teacher that works best with their particular age, ability and interest.

Beginning with the natural hand/arm technique, students at SMAA learn solid basic technique (correct position, finger dexterity, flexibility, and more) without unwanted bodily stress. Students also learn the rudiments of music: sight reading, rhythmic notation, meter, and harmony. Since the piano allows for highly diverse methodologies and repertoire, music can be carefully selected to match the needs and strengths of each student. Memorization, theory, practicing skills, musicality, and self-listening are taught from the first lesson. For older more advanced students, our lessons focus on musical clarity and power, technical facility, the development of a large tonal palate, and an understanding of musical structure. Students continue to expand their knowledge of repertoire from Baroque to 20th century composers, while searching for their own voice through interpretation.

In addition to numerous performance opportunities throughout the academic year, students have also opportunities to participate in small ensembles if interested. Additionally, end-of-year performance evaluations are available, which allows students to demonstrate their level of proficiency.

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For information about Private Piano Lessons, Auditions and Teacher placement, please contact the Director Mrs. Fiorito at contact@stamfordmusic.org

For information about Jazz Piano study, please contact the Assistant Director at Ms. Cascello at programs@stamfordmusic.org

All styles from classical to jazz, and folk are being offered to students of all ages and abilities, be they beginners or very advanced. We have wide range of students: students who want to play just for fun, students who excel with the SMAA curriculum or students who need to prepare for a career in music. Since we have many teachers on the faculty, we are able to match students with a teacher that works best with their particular age, ability and interest.

The String Program at SMAA begins with music notation reading, proper technique, and attention to intonation in order to enable students for solo, chamber, and orchestral playing. Additionally, students are taught specialized right and left hand techniques: bow hold, bow stroke, articulation, pizzicato, shifting exercises (position changes), vibrato, etc. Lessons also incorporate music theory, sight reading, ear training, and memorization. Students are taught various bowings, sound production, fingering, vibrato, position changes, dexterity, and musicianship. Lessons also incorporate music theory and ear training.

Suzuki and other method books are used in addition to recital repertoire to promote enjoyment, excellence and creativity. As students progress, our faculty introduces a broad repertoire: method books, technical and tonal studies, scales, and pieces from the standard solo repertoire of sonatas, concertos, and virtuoso pieces. The goal of the strings program is to give students a love of music within a comprehensive program that is flexible to individual needs.

Students perform solo pieces with an accompanist for the optional annual winter and spring formal recitals. Proper performance etiquette is emphasized. The opportunity to participate in a small ensemble is available throughout the academic year. Yearly evaluations are completed for each student in order to monitor progress. Students at SMAA are encouraged to participate and be part of local youth orchestras.

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For information about Violin Lessons, please contact the Director Mrs. Fiorito at contact@stamfordmusic.org

Our private guitar lessons include acoustic, electric and bass guitar. Our faculty are specialists in classical, jazz, rock, pop, and just about every other guitar style imaginable. SMAA’s teachers come from around the world to bring our students the highest quality and diversity of instruction. The proper theory and technique is covered in the lesson. Guitar students develop listening skills, left and right hand independence, coordination, reading skills and improvisational creativity. All guitarists will learn to read tablature as well as standardized music notation, chords, finger picking, lead guitar, and rhythm technique.

Classical Guitar

In classical guitar, our students learn to read standard musical notation, rhythm, chords, scales, melodies, and picking patterns in a five finger approach to the instrument. As students progress, the repertoire incorporates pieces that utilize higher positions on the guitar neck. This method ensures a firm grasp of fretboard knowledge and flexibility.

Jazz Guitar

Jazz guitar method focuses on basic chord forms and their extensions, jazz forms, standard chord progressions, scales, modes, strumming (comping), and picking styles. Special attention is given to articulations and style indicative of jazz music. Students work on written music, the ability to read lead sheets, and improvisation.

Rock Guitar

Students wishing to work on folk, rock, or pop styles learn basic strumming and finger picking styles, while working on pentatonic scales, and rudimentary chord progressions. Guitarists are encouraged to play their favorite artists’ music and to begin song-writing themselves.

Bass Guitar

Bass guitar is the foundation of any great rock, blues, or country band. It has a longer scale neck than the electric guitar and is an octave lower in pitch. Lessons cover topics such as bass chords, technique, finger strength, dexterity, ‘walking’, chord symbols, and slap techniques, to name a few.

Click here to submit an online Inquiry Form.

For information about Guitar Lessons, Jazz and Rock bands, please contact the Assistant Director Mrs. Cascello at programs@stamfordmusic.org

Voice classes introduce the fundamentals of breathing, diaphragm control, correct posture, good vocal support, tone production, and diction in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. In addition, students receive training in pitch, tone, agility, projection, timing, and phrasing.

SMAA strives to give voice students the best training possible to prevent vocal injury and to increase range, flexibility, and control. Students gain confidence as they learn to use their voices properly and expressively while reducing strain and physical tension. These lessons can also help students prepare for future auditions through vocal coaching, staging instruction, and assistance in selecting appropriate repertoire. Students learn vocal and physical warm-ups and how to work with an accompanist.

Repertoire may include classical (opera/oratorio), folk, jazz, pop, and Broadway selections. Classical voice involves the study and application of different vocal techniques using repertoire from folk songs to art music. English, French, German and Italian arias are sung in the original languages. Emphasis on voice production may include clarity of speech, economy of breath, and proper articulation. Our goal is for each student to be able to sing with ease, confidence, and enjoyment.

For students younger than 12 years old, we recommend a preliminary assessment with one of our voice faculty members in order to assess vocal development and capability. Early instruction in voice focuses on simple songs and pitch exercises to aid in developing a musically tuned ear.

Voice students are encouraged to enroll in music theoryclasses as well as children’s choir. Theory study enhances vocal training and builds a strong foundation for future musical progress.

Click here to submit an online Inquiry Form.

For information about Voice Lessons, please contact the Director Mrs. Fiorito at contact@stamfordmusic.org

SMAA offers group and individual classes in theory and composition. Group lessons are offered once per week for 45 minutes. SMAA’s faculty gently guides students through the basic understanding and construction of music. Whether as a supplement to certificate programs or for personal growth, all individual lessons can be custom tailored to the specific desires and aspirations of students. Music theory directly furthers a student’s ability to understand and communicate the full meaning of music. SMAA theory classes teach the “language of music”, enabling students to learn and memorize faster, improve sight reading, and render informed interpretations as well as solfegio. These classes are a fantastic addition to regular individual lessons on a given instrument. Registered SMAA students will receive a discount for these invaluable classes.

Music theory builds student musicianship, and directly furthers a student’s ability to understand and communicate full musical meaning. With sufficient theory background, students learn and memorize faster, and generally sight-read better than students without theory knowledge. To develop the ability to hear and manipulate sound mentally, vital for effective musical performance, ear training is strongly emphasized in class. Well developed theory skill also forms the basis for student composition, and/or any styles of improvisation. In theory classes, students learn basic knowledge of note reading in treble and bass clefs, rhythmic values, and simple terminology. As the students progress, they are able to recognize and analyze complex harmonic and rhythmic applications in music. These classes provide the means by which students can approach any musical score or performance with intelligence, creativity and insight. Upper levels cover formal analysis, harmonic procedures, ear-training, and “inner-hearing” as students’ knowledge of music history and literature continues to broaden.

Music Composition:

The purpose of studying composition is to encourage and enhance creative thinking in music. Core compositional techniques (voice leading, counterpoint, harmony) and the study of conventional musical forms are essential to a composer’s development. In addition to creating original works, composition students are taught to analyze and compose in a variety of musical styles. Formal instruction in music composition is available at all ability levels. These courses include voice leading, harmony, standard chord progression, voicing procedures, forms, and counterpoint. Completion of Music Theory Fundamentals or an equivalent understanding of music reading is required. Students will be evaluated in a mandatory trial lesson.

Song Writing:

Song writing is composition made easy! Geared towards a more informal approach to composition, students of Song Writing will master harmonic progressions, simple rules of voice leading, song forms, and arrangement of texts. Basic proficiency in music reading is strongly recommended, as is experience on a harmonic instrument (guitar, piano, etc.).

Jazz Composition:

Studies in jazz composition include understanding chord notation, deciphering lead sheets, voicing of parts for diverse ensembles, and standard jazz forms. Familiarity with keyboard instruments is strongly recommended but not required. The ability to read music and fulfillment of Intermediate Theory (or an equivalent understanding of basic theory) is a pre-requisite.

For information about Music Theory and Composition please contact the Assistant Director Mrs. Cascello at programs@stamfordmusic.org.

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