Music students are classically trained in orchestral instruments (including piano), voice and guitar. Students receive free weekly private lessons with professional musicians and supplemental training in music technology, music theory, aural development, sight-singing, class piano and music history. Foundational classical music is taught with exposure from Baroque to Contemporary and Jazz periods.
Ensemble training in orchestra, choir, jazz, and chamber music are also key components of the curriculum. Professional musicians regularly give master classes and perform for students, allowing them to connect with working artists. The music faculty includes Co-Chair Dr. Robert Janssen, a solo, chamber, orchestral and touring Broadway pit clarinetist; Co-Chair Cathy Spence, an opera singer and recording artist. Flute teacher Kim Strickland, an international orchestral soloist, Billboard top 15 jazz flutist, and a national radio show host; Dr. Lucy DeSa, an international touring pianist, recording artist and master teacher and Les Fillmer a conductor for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Alabama Youth Symphony.
Students perform in ensembles and as soloists across the state and country. They have been winners in local, state, and national competitions such as AMTA (American Music Therapy Association), MTNA (Music Teachers National Association), Lois Pickard Concerto Competition NATS (National Association of Teachers Singing), All-State Orchestra, All-State Jazz, All-State Choir and NPR’s “From the Top”. Curriculum and faculty prepare students to pursue musical careers and to attend top conservatories and universities including Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, The Julliard School and Berklee College of Music.
Notable Music Alumni:
Amari Ansari: Touring musician with bands including Stevie Wonder, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, John Batiste, and Dee Dee Bridgewater
Thomas Bagwell: Assistant conductor Metropolitan Opera and Washington National opera, recitals with Marilyn Horner, Renee Fleming, Susan Graham and Denyce Graves
Chip Williams: Musical director and keyboardist for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Kate Taylor Hollingsworth: Singer and musician in the band Deadfingers
Adam Guthrie: Custom guitar maker and business owner