Curriculum

Performance Curriculum

Credits

Each Semester a student should enroll for a minimum of 15 credits. For the complete table of Courses and their credits.

Core Courses

Core courses are designed to equip every student with the required tools for being a well rounded musician. These are mandatory courses that every student is enrolled for depending on the semester, or the by virtue of testing out from Comprehensive Placement Test (CPT).

Core Courses are Ear-training, Contemporary Harmony, Reading Rhythms, Music Notation etc. First semester students also are enrolled in Introduction to Carnatic Music, Konnakol which is the rhythmic language of Carnatic music. The core courses also include the instrument specific Labs, such as Technique Lab, Reading Lab. The core courses also include Ensembles and Private Lessons. For a detailed description of the courses click here, at the end of the document.

Custom Electives

In addition to the Core courses each student can select upto four Custom Electives, depending on the no. of credits that a student can sign-up for in a semester.

The Custom Electives are cultural courses that are designed by the respective faculty. These courses are typically designed for the student to learn about the music of the world. The students get an oppourtunity to understand different styles and also learn to apply these ideas by listening, analyzing and playing.

Carnatic Electives

The student can also choose some electives from the roster of Carnatic courses that are offered. These are courses are designed to provide in-depth information on the history of Carnatic Music, the melodic and rhythmic methods in Carnatic music. For a detailed description of the courses, at the end of the document.

Tests & Grades
Tests

For each credited course a student is enrolled for will be graded according to the prescribed grading system. The students can be tested by a written test, computerized test or assignments or a combination of all these. The scores for each test or assignment should be calculated on a scale of 100, and submitted to the Academics Co-ordinator within 3 days of the completion of assessment. The exams should only be conducted according to the timelines prescribed in the Academic Calendar, which can be found in Appendix I, at the end of this document.

Grading System

Academic standing and eligibility for a diploma are determined by the quality of course work. To determine academic standing, SAM uses a point system, each qualitative grade having an equivalent numerical value.

Letter Grade Equivalent Percentage Numerical Value
A 93-100 4.00
A- 90-92 3.67
B+ 87-89 3.33
B 83-86 3.00
B- 80-82 2.67
C+ 77-79 2.33
C 73-76 2.00
C- 70-72 1.67
D+ 67-69 1.33
D 60-66 1.00
D- 50-59 0.70
F 0-49 0
W Withdrawal 0
I Incomplete 0

Courses Description

Semester I
Title Credits
Ensemble 2
Contemporary Harmony I 2
Music Theory 1
Ear Training I 1
Reading Rhythms I 1
Private Lesson 1
Reading Lab I 1
Technique Lab I 1
Basic Piano 1
Carnatic Music Studies 1
Konnakol 1
Introduction to Music Production & Technology 1
Custom Elective I 1
Total 15

 

Semester II
Title Credits
Ensemble 2
Contemporary Harmony 2 2
Composition & Arranging 1 1
Ear Training 2 1
Reading Rhythms 2 1
Private Lesson 1
Reading Lab 2 1
Technique Lab 2 1
Carnatic Music Studies 2 1
Advanced Konnakol 1
Melakartha & Janya Ragas 1
Custom Elective I 1
Custom Elective II 1
Total 15

 

Semester III
Title Credits
Ensemble 2
Stylized Harmonic Concepts 2
Composition & Arranging 2 1
Transcription 1
Private Lesson 1
Advanced Reading Lab 1
Modern Improvisation Technique Lab 1
Music Preparation Techniques for the Bandstand 1
Tyagaraja, Dikshitar & Syama Sastri Kritis 1
Applications of Konnakol in Modern Music 1
Custom Elective I 1
Custom Elective II 1
Custom Elective II 1
Total 15

 

Semester IV
Title Credits
Ensemble 2
Stylized Harmonic Concepts 2
Composition & Arranging 3 1
Transcription 1
Private Lesson 1
Directed Study (Carnatic Studies) 1
Directed Study with Principal Instrument Instructor 1
Music Preparation Techniques for the Bandstand 1
Modern Improvisation Technique Lab 1
Elective (from Music Production Program) 1
Custom Elective I 1
Custom Elective II 1
Custom Elective II 1
Total 15

Contemporary Harmony

(Core)

Course introduces the various basic and advanced tools of modern harmony and develops the harmonic vocabulary needed to understand, analyze and apply these devices in composition and improvisation.

Contemporary Harmony 1
Major Scales, Circle of Fifths, Simple and Compound Intervals, Triads and inversions, Seventh chords and inversions, Functional aspects of Dominant Seventh chords, Upper extensions such as Ninth, Eleventh and Thirteenth chords, Harmonization of Major Scales, Natural, Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales in three and four parts

Contemporary Harmony 2
Secondary Dominants, Extended Dominants, Altered Dominant Seventh Chords, Standard Reharmonization, Substitute chords, Sus chords, Chromatic structures, Pedal Points and Ostinatos, Quartal chords, Non-functional Harmony, Constant structure progressions, Line Cliches, Pandiatonicism, Hybrid chords, Poly chords, Modal Harmony

Stylized Harmonic Concepts
This uniquely designed harmony course will have students study specific harmonic concepts that are part of the compositional and improvisational process of the faculty. Each faculty being a top level composer/improviser comes with his/her own set of harmonic approaches and this course will help students understand and apply some of these customized concepts of harmony in their own work. Students will apply these in assignments, ensembles and recitals.

Ear Training

(Core)

Course prepares students to effectively train their ear to recognize and reproduce melodic and harmonic elements through singing and/or their principal instruments

Ear Training 1
Recognizing, identifying and applying the following by ear – Melodic and Harmonic intervals, Major Scales, Natural, Harmonic and Melodic minor Scales, Modes, Motifs, Sequences, Inversions, Step-wise and leaping motion, Triads and Inversions, Seventh chords and inversions, Arpeggios of triads and seventh chords

Ear Training 2
Recognizing, identifying and applying the following by ear – Motifs, Sequences, Inversions, Angular melodies, Dominant Seventh Chords and its alterations, Substitute chords, Sus chords, Chromatic structures, Quartal chords, Hybrid chords, Poly chords, Modal Harmony, transcription of melodic and harmonic material

Transcription

This coursework introduced students in to the art of transcribing. This advance level course enables students to apply their ear training and harmonic skills to analyse complex chord structures, melodies and improvisation lines over chord changes, bass lines and other accompaniment parts. This coursework will also introduce students to understanding of big band and large ensemble arrangements through detailed transcription.

Music Notation

(Core)

Course prepares all students irrespective of their principal instrument to be able to write, understand and interpret staff music notation Basic calligraphy, Notes in Treble and Bass Clef, Note values and durations, Rests, Ties, Time Signatures, Key Signatures, Groupings, Flags, Beams, Slurs, Notation of Form elements such as repeats, DC, DS, Coda, Chord symbols, Grace notes, Glissandos and more

 

Reading Rhythms

(Core)

Course prepares all students irrespective of their principal instrument to be able to read different rhythms and rhythmic phrases from notation

Reading Rhythms 1
Recognizing and clapping of simple rhythms with quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets etc. In simple time signatures like 4/4, 3/4. The students will be expected to correctly read and clap rhythms presented to them and will be graded accordingly in quizzes and tests

Reading Rhythms 2
Recognizing and clapping of more advanced rhythms with sixteenth notes, rests, ties and syncopations in more complex time signatures

 

Carnatic Studies I

(Core)

Students will study first exercises in Carnatic Music as is customarily taught in the tradition. 14 Sarali Varisais, 9 Janta Varisais, 5 Mel Sthayi Varisais, 2 Dhatu Varisais in Mayamalavagowla raga, Basic Suladi Sapta Talas, Alankaras in Sapta Talas, A minimum of 3 geethams and 1 Swarajathi will be covered. All exercises will be taught by singing.

 

Carnatic Studies II

(Core)

In this course students will start by learning Noteswaram by Sri. Muthuswamy Dikshithar. Students will also study and Analyse Varnams(a song form) in different Ragas such as Sankarabharanam, Mohanam, Abhoghi, Hmsadhwani and Kalyani. Along with this students will learn compositions in different Adi, Rupakam and Chapu Talas.

 

Technique Labs

(Core)

Guitar Technique Lab 1
Triads (Maj, Min, Aug, Dim) and inversions in all 12 keys, Seventh Chords and inversions (Maj7, Maj6, min7, min6, Dom7, min7flat5), Arpeggios from various scale degrees, Major, Natural minor, Harmonic Minor and Melodic minor scales in position from various scale degrees in all 12 keys, Harmonization of these scales in 3 and 4 part harmony

Guitar Technique Lab 2
Triads in Open voicings, Seventh Chords and inversions including altered structures coming out of Maj7, min7, Dom7, minmaj7, 9ths, 11ths and 13s, Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 and 4 voicings, Arpeggios, Concepts of voice leading over chord progressions, Modes from Major Scale, Natural minor, Harmonic minor and melodic minor, Altered Scales, Symmetrical Diminished scales (whole- half and half-whole), Whole Tone Scales

Bass Technique Lab 1
Fingerboard essentials, right and left hand co-ordination, scales in all 12 keys, arpeggios, patterns, major, minor and dominant chords

Bass Technique Lab 2
Continuation of more advanced scales, arpeggios and modes, application of creatives harmonic concepts in grooves, creating interesting bass lines in even and odd time signatures

Piano Technique Lab 1
Triads (Maj, Min, Aug, Dim) and inversions in all 12 keys, Seventh Chords and inversions (Maj7, Maj6, min7, min6, Dom7, min7flat5), Arpeggios from various scale degrees, Major, Natural minor, Harmonic Minor and Melodic minor scales from various scale degrees in all 12 keys, Harmonization of these scales in 3 and 4 part harmony

Piano Technique Lab 2
Triads in Open voicings, Seventh Chords and inversions including altered structures coming out of Maj7, min7, Dom7, minmaj7, 9ths, 11ths and 13s, Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 and 4 voicings, Arpeggios, Concepts of voice leading over chord progressions, Modes from Major Scale, Natural minor, Harmonic minor and melodic minor, Altered Scales, Symmetrical Diminished scales (whole- half and half-whole), Whole Tone Scales

Vocal Technique Lab 1
Technique, Anatomy of Voices, intergrating all Physical Aspect of the instrument, Breathing Techniques, placement and support. Using the Vocal Intsrument, Major and Minor blues, form and harmony, improvising in the Blues and other scales, Singing Base Lines Chord Tones and Guide tones, II-V-I Improv Excersices.

Vocal Technique Lab 2
Continuation of Integrating all aspects of the vocal production, Effortless singing, Extending you voice range, Freeing your voice, Write your own songs, Review of the minor blues improv, Singing in all modes, Singing solis, Singing Vocalese, free Improvisation

Drum Technique Lab 1
Working on Rudiments, Basic Independence, Basic Hand Foot Coordination, Basic Grooves and Understanding Different Time Signatures and Styles.

Drum Technique Lab 2
Advance Independence, Advance Hand and foot Coordination, Learning Different Styles and Grooves and complex Time Signatures, Soloing over Complex Time Signatures and Styles.

 

Reading Labs

(Core)

Guitar Reading Lab 1
In this course, students are taught a holistic approach to guitar technique based on physical stability and optimal relaxation. Points of focus are: natural positioning of thumb in left hand, exercises that develop dexterity and flexibility simultaneously (for right and left hand), utilization of the pinky finger, and the practice of leaving all unused fretboard fingers relaxed. The goal of the course is to improve students’ agility on the instrument, to help the student discover which positions afford them the most relaxation, and to develop discipline in practice through focused and meditative exercises.

Guitar Reading Lab 2
Reading positions 1 though 5 in all keys emphasis on 8th and 16th notes, Reading Rhythms with 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords and all its inversions.

Sight Singing Lab 1
Recognizing notations on staff in C major Scale both in treble and bass clef and sight singing in C major scale. Recognition signature notation on staff in all major keys in both Bass and Treble clef. Sight Singing in all major Keys in both the clefs. Introduction to Minor keys and sight singing in Am key in both Bass and Treble Clef. Introduction to Different Minor Keys.

Sight Singing Lab 2
Review of Sight Singing I, Recognition of harmonic and Melodic Minor in Base and Treble Clef. Introduction and Recognition of Modes in Treble and Bass Clef. Sight Singing in modes in all keys in Both Treble and Bass Clef. Recognition Sight Singing of Chromatic Approached Notes in Both Treble and bass Clef.

Bass Reading Lab 1
This course covers chart reading through extensive use of detailed charts in wide range of styles, including rock, funk, pop and contemporary instrumental. Concentration is on rhythmic accuracy, pitch correction and song form.

Bass Reading Lab 2
Material Presented will advance the concepts taught in previous classes. The focus will be on out of class preparation of written examples as well as in-class sight reading at an advanced level.

Piano Reading Lab 1
Introduction to basic reading. Learning how to read treble and bass clef. Also understanding Rhythms and time signatures. Working on easy early classical pieces by Mozart and Beethoven.

Piano Reading Lab 2
And extension of Piano Reading Lab 1. Understanding dynamics and interpretation. Learning how to read chord symbols with melody. Also, working on more advanced classical pieces as well as popular styles (Jazz, Pop, Rock etc)

Drum Rudiments and Basic Reading Lab
This course will cover Snare Rudiments, Stick control and basic reading studies.

Drumset Reading Lab
Reading Charts and Drum Beat, Reading Syncopated Rhythms, and Complex Time Signatures in Various Styles of Music.

Solo Drum Performance Lab
The basic concepts of composing a drum solo performance, development of ideas in a cogent manner, building soloing vocabulary across genres are some of the concepts that will be covered in this lab. Students will prepare and present two contrasting drum solos

Modern Improvisation Lab for Drums
Interaction, Fluidity, Orchestration, Metric Modulations, Subdivisions, Soloing over Vamps, Trading etc will be covered.

Modern Improvisation Lab for Piano
Construction of melodic and rhythmic phrases using stylistic approaches, interaction on the tonal plane, polymodal  improvisation concepts, parametric approach to building musical form, soloing over chord changes using altered dominant scales and application on synthetic scales.

Modern Improvisation Lab for Guitar
Different approaches to improvisation using target, passing and neighbour notes. Super imposing and symmetrical scale usage( diminished and whole tone). Technique such as legato, hybrid picking, sweep picking and finger style. Attention will be given to chords in improvising a more pianistic approach for extended and altered sounds.

Music Technology

(Core)

Introduction to Music Technology and Production
This course introduces the students to the latest technology in computer based recording and production. The students would be introduced to the popular Digital Audio Workstations, introduction to MIDI and basics of using controllers for production.

Carnatic Studies

Melakarta and Janya Ragas
(Core)

A detailed look at the Melakarta system as codified by Venkatamakhi involving 72 ragas that utilize all 16 scale degrees as seen in Carnatic music divided on the basis of Suddha Madhyama and Prati Madhyama Ragas. Representative Janya Ragas from some of these Melakarta Ragas will be studied. The various forms of Janya Ragas including Audava, Shadava, Audava-Shadava, Shadava- Audava, Audava-Sampoorna, Shadava-Sampoorna, Sampoorna-Audava and Sampoorna-Shadava including Vakra Ragas will be studied. Representative Ragas in each category will be chosen to highlight the gamakas, prayogas and murchanas. Studies will be supplemented by listening sessions in and outside class. Students will present class projects, assignments pertaining to the course content. Students are expected to apply concepts learned in this course to performance work in ensembles and recitals.

Sapta Talas and Chapu Talas
(Core)

A comprehensive study of the Suladi Sapta Talas including their gathi variants. Each tala will be covered in detail with representative examples either found in the literature or composed as exercises specifically for class. Chapu Talas will also be covered in detail. Students will present class projects, assignments pertaining to the course content. Students are expected to apply concepts learned in this course to performance work in ensembles and recitals.

Konnakol
(Core)

Konnakol is the art of uttering the sounds of rhythm syllables verbally. Dynamics, clarity of diction and control over Laya are stressed. This fascinating art of reciting faster phrases of rhythms, articulate expressions by tongue-twisting syllables makes it an eloquent presentation. Students will learn detailed vocal percussion exercises, starting from the basics, weaving patterns and phrases. Students will also have an insight into various Talas, Sollukattu, Aksharas, Matras, Angas, 5 Jaatis, Yatis, Kaarvais, Moharas and Korvais. Exploring imaginative patterns in rhythmic improvisation using these syllables, would be studied and performed.

Advanced Konnakol
(Core)

Continuing from the basics of Konnakol, this course will guide students in exploring the rhythmic concepts such as Yatis, Kaarvais, Moharas and Korvais in more detail.

Tygaraja, Dikshitar and Syama Shastri Kritis
(Core)

Tygaraja, Dikshitar and Syama Shastri are the three most important composers in Carnatic music. Students will study specific compositional features composers’ works through listening and analysis. Three representative Kritis Sadinchane of Tygaraja, Sri Sukhra Bhagavantham of Dikshitar and Palinchu Kamakshi of Syama Shastri will be studied in detail.

Modern Masters in Carnatic Vocal Tradition
(Core)

This course will introduce students to some of the legendary masters of Carnatic Vocal Performance in the twentieth century. These masters have redefined Carnatic performance practice and have made immense contributions. Students will study distinguishing styles of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, K V Naranaswamy, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G N Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, M L Vasanthakumari, D K Patamal and D K Jayaraman.

Hindustani Studies

Hindustani Studies I/ Introduction to Hindustani Studies: 

This comprehensive course is an Introduction to Hindustani Music Classical Music. Students will study the history, evolution and song form. This class will also have detailed seminars explaining the various aspects and characteristics of the music tradition such as Sruthi, Swar, Spathak, Smavadi, Alaap, Meend, Ghaseet and etc, with both live singing and audio- visual examples. During the course the students will also be introduced to different Semi- Classical styles.

Raga and Tala of Hindustani Music  

In this course the students will be introduced to the Raga and tala System and their structure and system in Hindustani classical music system. This includes analysis and study of the raga system, orgins of ragas and their order according to their jatis. This course will also have comprehensive lectures and seminars about the Tala system of Hindustani Music which will explain various taals such as tritaal, dadra, kaharawa, deepchand and etc, with in class examples.

Electives change each semester based on faculty – For Spring 2014

Essentials of Rhythm Section
How to lock in as rhythm section in various styles, How to complement both harmonically and rhythmically in a band, Understanding song form, syncopations and subdivisions, melodic, harmonic and rhythmic considerations in interacting with fellow rhythm section members and the soloist.

The Musical and Business Challenges of Leading a Small Band
The course will address the challenges faced by a musician both in musical terms and business terms as they embark on a career in music. Students will gain pro insights on how to make the right musical and personnel choices for their chosen style of music in small band contexts such as trios, quartets, quintets etc. They will study about how to promote themselves and their bands with quality resumes, bios, press kits and everything else necessary. Students will be required to present a band portfolio as their final project.

Music Preparation Techniques for the Bandstand
The Course will deal with best practices in effective preparation for maximizing musicality in performance. Rehearsal preparation, preparation of charts, arranging techniques, ideas for effective interpersonal communication musically and otherwise amongst band members are some of the concepts that will be discussed. This is a performance based course where the students will have an opportunity to play with the faculty in class and get feedback on all aspects of performance in a bandstand. Students will present a recital featuring the various organisational tools studied in class.

Application of Konnakol and Bol in Modern Music

This unique course instructed by Carnatic, Hindustani and Contemporary western music faculty includes detailed study on applying ideas and concepts of Indian classical music into western harmony. The course work will explore the art of fusing different styles of music and the do’s and don’ts. Students will be given in class examples and experimental projects as part of the course work.

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