American Festival for the Arts, 2007 Summer Music Conservatory and Concert Series

Music Enrichment Classes


AFA believes in the development of a “total musician” by providing important classroom training in music theory and history taught by AFA’s accomplished composition, piano, theory and music history faculty.

In 2007, all students will have the opportunity to sign up for a variety of enrichment courses. Based on your department, all students sign up for a minimum of 1-2 weeks of music theory classes and, with their remaining weeks, will have a menu of options to choose from. See your enrollment package for further details.

Music History
Taught by rotating faculty, music literature classes focus on selected periods of Western music history. Topics vary each year and are based on the programming of the AFA orchestra as well as significant works performed by both AFA ensembles and Houston and Southeast Texas presenting organizations.

Music Theory
Students receive an introduction to the building blocks of music and learn to understand the music they play including scales, keys, rhythm, triads, voice leading and, for more advanced students, chromatic harmony and counterpoint. All orchestra/chamber music, piano, composition and choral students are automatically enrolled in music theory.

Other Electives (Houston Campus only)
Electives currently planned for the 2007 season include the following classes. Other classes will be added. See your enrollment package for further details.

  • Conducting
  • Introduction to Composition
  • Songwriting
  • Alexander Technique
  • College and Career Seminar (11th and 12th grade)
  • Vocal Improvisation

Music Theory Placement Information
AFA understands that students who attend the Summer Music Conservatory will have had widely different backgrounds in music theory and history. This is why we administer a brief placement exercise on the first day of the program. There are no grades on this exercise. It is simply a tool to help AFA place each student in a section of music theory that is appropriate to his or her background.

Music theory is a critically important part of developing a “total musician.” Young musicians need to fully understand the mechanics and background of the music they play in order to realize the highest level of performance possible. This is why music theory and history are such an important part of the AFA curriculum.

Following the placement exercise, students should sign up for sections that, based on the exercise, best reflect their knowledge and grasp of the concepts of music theory. If, after attending class for a few days, a student feels that they have been placed in a section that is either too advanced or not advanced enough, the student should speak to the Director of the music theory program or to the Executive Director. In almost all cases, a move to a new section that is appropriate for the student can be arranged.