The Preparatory Division offers classes and lessons weekday afternoons and all day Saturday. Older students generally attend on Saturday, spending the greater part of the day at Mannes. All ensembles, Techniques of Music courses, and electives meet on Saturday. Some Techniques of Music courses are also offered during the week. Workshops and recitals are held on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Private instruction is offered in all orchestral instruments, piano, voice, recorder, saxophone, guitar, and composition. Assignment of teacher is determined by the director. Whenever possible, students will be placed with the teacher of their choice. Every consideration is given to the musical and personal needs of each student. Students are not permitted to change teacher during the course of a semester; any change of teacher is at the discretion of the director.
Techniques Of Music
Every student taking private instruction is required to participate in our renowned Techniques of Music program. Students are expected to hear accurately, read fluently, write with awareness of musical meaning, and be able to analyze works of various styles and periods. Through small weekly classes and homework preparation, older students who successfully complete the program can expect to enter most universities and conservatories with advanced placement in theory and ear training. All Techniques of Music classes may also be taken as electives.
Children ages 4 to 6 experience the fundamentals of music through rhythmic movement, coordination games, singing, and improvisation. Students explore rhythm, form, and melody with appropriate instruments, combining the Orff and Dalcroze methods. These classes provide an excellent foundation for instrumental study. Classes are formed according to age.
Students learn basic music material through movement, singing, and listening. Coordination, rhythmic awareness, and basic reading are emphasized during the first two years, while the fundamentals of music theory and form are stressed in years three and four. Guided listening acquaints the child with significant appropriate selections of the literature while developing listening skills.
Students continue the work begun in the elementary courses, including more advanced sight-reading and melodic dictation. Harmony and species counterpoint are introduced. Listening is expanded to include longer selections; the emotional and expressive qualities of a work are discussed as well as theoretical concepts. Courses also include intensive review of previously learned materials in order to create a firm foundation for musical growth.
Advanced high school theory instruction centers on chromatic harmonic studies as well as counterpoint in all species. Realization of figured bass, harmonic analysis, and more advanced forms are also taught. Ear training is focused on advanced dictation, sight-singing in all the clefs, complex rhythmic patterns, and score reading. Significant works from the repertoire are often used to demonstrate theoretical concepts.
In addition to the core curriculum, the Mannes Preparatory Division offers a number of elective courses in which students may choose to enroll. Course offerings are subject to change.
Guided by many of the finest coaches in New York City, students study and perform repertoire for strings, winds, and piano. Auditions for chamber music are held on the first two Saturdays of the school year; students are assigned to ensembles by the director in consultation with the faculty. Assignments may change at mid-year to allow for a change in instrumentation, repertoire, or coach. Chamber ensembles perform throughout the year, when ready. Additionally, the second-to-last Saturday of the school year (in May) is designated the annual "Chamber Music Bash"—an opportunity for all groups to perform.
Vocal Chamber Music
Small groups of singers master a repertoire that ranges from madrigals and opera scenes to contemporary music. Students audition the first Saturday of the term and assignments are made by the director and conductor of Senior Chorus. Performance opportunities take place throughout the school year.
Students learn the jazz repertoire from Dixieland through modern jazz in small ensembles. Participants must be proficient in scales and reading; work centers on the mastery of improvisation techniques. Auditions are held at the beginning of the school year; students are placed according to age and age ability.
A three-year course sequence open to students in the Senior Program, Music History is required of Honors Program students; others may elect to take any of the courses with permission of the director and/or instructor. The first year focuses on the baroque period to the death of Beethoven; the second year explores the music of the 19th century. The third year, 20th-Century Music: Styles and Techniques, is a comprehensive survey of the music of our time. In all classes, students analyze significant works of the literature and place them in historical context. Additionally, students have required listening assignments; library research and other written assignments may be required.
Open to students from age ten, space permitting. Junior Program students receive a weekly private composition lesson and meet once a month as a group to discuss their works, hear them read, and receive faculty guidance. Senior Program students meet weekly as a class and also participate in the monthly composition workshop. Students may also enter either the Junior or Senior Programs as a composition major; private composition lessons are also available as a secondary course of study. Additionally, a student composition recital is scheduled each semester. Mannes Prep student composers are frequent winners in local and national composition competitions, including the annual ASCAP Morton Gould Awards and BMI Awards to Student Composers.
Students learn fundamentals of conducting techniques, score reading, and orchestration. Open to Senior Program students, by permission of the instructor.
Advanced Keyboard Harmony and Score Reading
An advanced placement course stressing in-depth score reading at the keyboard is open to students in advanced Techniques of Music courses who desire further study. Skills emphasized include the realization of figured bass and sight-reading the four-hand literature. Open to high school juniors and seniors by permission of the instructor.
College Entrance Preparation
A Techniques of Music review focused on material needed for university and conservatory entrance examinations. The course covers both written theory and advanced ear training topics. Students are generally in the last year of the Techniques of Music program. Admission is by permission of the instructor.