Complete Listing of Electives

Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique is a widely recognized educational method for gaining awareness, changing habits, aligning posture, enhancing performance and cultivating effortless poise. Many musicians, conductors, actors and dancers consider the Alexander Technique an essential tool in their artistic development and often credit their professional longevity to applications of Alexander Technique principles on stage, in rehearsals and in the practice room. This class introduces students to the basic concepts of the technique via study with a trained Alexander Technique teacher.

Beginning Piano
Students will explore basic piano techniques and learn how to perform simple pieces on the piano. The class is taught in our Piano Lab with a specialist in beginning piano pedagogy. No prior piano experience is necessary.

Careers in the Arts (Pre-College Week Only: June 24-30)
Designed for students interested in studying music in college, this seminar will allow students to explore potential careers in the arts. Taught by several career development personnel at The University of Illinois, students will learn about developing a portfolio, applying to college music programs, and the wide range of careers available to students with a degree in music.

Students will engage in basic music theory skills and apply this knowledge towards creating their own original compositions. Students will also listen to and examine well-known compositions. The course will be taught by current graduate students at The University of Illinois. No prior experience in composition and theory is necessary.


Led by experienced music conductors, students will learn basic conducing patterns and observe the conducting technique of other well-known conductors. This elective is designed for students with no prior experience in conducting. If you’ve had conducting experience as a drum major, you may want to consider an elective other than conducting since you will already know some of the basic material taught in this class.

Didgeridoo (July 8-14 only)
The Didgeridoo is a long, slightly conical wooden instrument, used traditionally by the Aboriginal people of Northern Australia. Known as the oldest wind instrument in the world, the origins of the didgeridoo may go back as far as 40,000 years. Though only one "note" is normally played with the didgeridoo (called a drone), overtones and vocal sounds from the player give it a rich sound and countless textures. Students will learn how to play the didgeridoo, as well as create and design their own instrument.

Beginning guitar offers students the opportunity to explore basic guitar skills. You’ll learn hand positions, basic chords, and strumming patterns. By the end of the week, you’ll be able to perform simple tunes. Guitars will be provided and no previous experience is necessary.

Heart of the Song - Vocal Master Class with Jerold Siena

A chance to explore and perform your favorite classical vocal pieces with an inspiring, world-famous performer/teacher. Whether you sing in English or a foreign language, Professor Siena will guide you in grasping the musical, poetic, and emotional content of your songs so that you may perform with complete understanding, vocal freedom, and joy in opening your heart to your audience.

Music History
Students will gain a general overview of historical eras of music. Taught by current teaching assistants at the University of Illinois, students will explore the historical developments of Western Classical Music as well as some World Music traditions.

Music Technology

Taught in our state-of-the-art music computer labs, music technology allows students to produce their own original electronic music. From beat making to electronic composition, students will explore the innovative software and processes of creating their own original electronic works. All equipment needed for course will be provided by ISYM.

ISYM Organ, taught by Professor Dana Robinson and Jonathan Young of the University of Illinois, will be open to Pre-College piano students. Students will get a basic introduction to organ performance skills, have one- on-one instruction with Dr. Robinson, and have a chance to explore the historic Smith Recital Hall organ. No prior organ experience is necessary.

Rock Band/Songwriting
Want to learn how to write your own songs? By exploring works by master song writers, our instructors will guide you on creating original lyrics, melodies, and chords for your own songs. This elective is open to students of any instrument or vocal part. No prior rock band or songwriting experience required.


Ukulele is quickly becoming a popular “jam” instruments for students. Learn how to perform basic skills and songs in this course designed for beginners. No previous experience necessary, and ukuleles will be provided by ISYM!