Music – Classes & Ensembles

Henry Birks & Sons Inc. generously restored a silver trophy originally sponsored by them in the 1930’s. With that in hand, we established the Birks Cup Challenge for Ensembles, held for the first time in 2010. This is a relaxed, non-competitive showcase open to all Conservatory ensembles of any size, composition, or level of achievement. Participants challenge themselves to prepare pieces to the best of their ability and aim to enjoy the experience of performing for a friendly audience.

As well as or instead of private studio lessons, you are encouraged to register for classes or ensembles. Aside from practice time, the making of music is seldom a private pursuit, and even solo performers work with an accompanist. In addition to opportunities described in this section, other impromptu ensembles may be formed at any time through the year depending on student interest and the availability of an interested coach. Ask your teacher if there’s something being formed that is suitable for you. Duos, piano trios, string quartets, or vocal and instrumental groupings – maybe even collaborations between students of music and dance – are limited only by your imagination and suitable repertoire – and because the lesson time is shared with others, the cost is lower than private lessons.

Interested in sampling chamber music, jazz or light classics? Want to see how another teacher approaches things? Ensembles open doors to lots of new learning, new friends, skills that can keep you playing for a lifetime, and – if the laughter we hear from some rehearsals is any indication – it’s fun!

One-on-one instruction with a member of our faculty provide customized lesson plans tailored to your personal goals.

Please see our Faculty Listing and send in a Registration Request today!

Some teachers offer shared introductory lessons and/or ensembles to assist young students with costs. Please inquire.

Musical Theatre

The Broadway Company Players provides a pre-professional musical theatre experience tailored to the needs of our individual students. Participation in the Elementary Broadway Company Players is open to all students entering grades 4–6 and the Junior Broadway Company Players is open to all students entering grades 7 – 12.

These two 36 week programs will focus on developing the vocal, dance, and theatrical skill-sets of students who are interested in pursuing studies in musical theatre and performance. Students will receive weekly instruction in voice, acting, and dance addressing the specifics of their voice, movement and character work as they are encouraged and guided on a path of personal and artistic growth.

The work students do weekly will culminate in two staged showcase performances on January 27th and 28th and two fully staged musical performances on June 8th and 9th in The Lilian Piercey Concert Hall. The Elementary and Junior Broadway Company Players programs will encourage healthy technique, artistry and a love of musical theatre for the next generation of music theatre performers. We hope that you will join us on this exciting artistic journey!

Jason Davis
Artistic Director

Instructors: Jason Davis / Lucy Hayes Davis
Class time: Fridays from 4:00 – 6:00pm
Tuition: $850 per year (one class per week + special events) + $30 Registration

Repertoire Class: Learn and perform songs in a wide variety of musical styles
with confidence and style. The focus of the class is acting through the song. Students will develop stage presence, good vocal habits, and the ability to interpret and deliver a song to an audience.

Music Theatre Chorus: Exploring group singing from a wide variety of music theatre repertoire.

Dance/Movement: Students will learn technique and combinations in Jazz, Swing, Contemporary, African and Hip-Hop styles with a focus on classical jazz technique, facial expression, and showmanship.

Story Book Theatre: Building reading and comprehension skills for very young actors by reading stories as a group, and then using role-playing and basic creative drama exercises to bring these stories to life. Children will make new friends and discover new ideas while developing self-confidence in performance.

Instructors: Jason Davis / Lucy Hayes Davis
Class time: Fridays from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Tuition: $850 per year (one class per week + special events) + $30 Registration

Repertoire Class: The interpretation, acting and delivery of a song. Selection
of musical material appropriate for student’s voice type, and usable for audition and performance, along with basic healthy vocal technique and use of breath.

Music Theatre Chorus: Group singing from a wide variety of SAT and SATB music theatre repertoire.

Dance/Movement: Students will learn technique and combinations in Jazz, Swing, Contemporary, African and Hip-Hop styles with a focus on classical Jazz technique, facial expression, and showmanship.

Acting & Improv: Includes theatre games, improvisation, acting and creative drama activities, with an emphasis on building collaborative and communication skills through short plays, scenes and individual monologues.

Orchestra Programs

This energetic and fun-packed ensemble class meets three weeks a month to learn how to clap body rhythms, sing pitches, read music, write music and play music notes on the violin with and without fingering on top of the notes. Players should be playing at a solid grade 1 level. This class is a perfect way to prepare for “Junior Orchestra”. Most are in this orchestra for two years. Students should have completed RCM Intro and be at RCM Grade 1 level.

Instructors: Christy Hodder / Carrie VanSlyke
Class Time: 12:00 – 12:45 a.m. Saturdays

Tuition: $196/year + $60 registration

These fast paced string orchestra classes meet weekly to continue building skills in ensemble playing, note reading and musicianship that have been developed in the “Let’s Read” orchestra. Players should have completed the RCM grade 1 level and be at a solid grade 2 level, able to read notes in A, D and G scales. Regular attendance is required in both the Junior and Intermediate String Orchestras and there will be performances throughout the year especially for the Intermediate String Orchestra. Required dress for all performances is white tops, black bottoms and black dress shoes. Playing placement is at the discretion of the director and is determined by playing level and note reading ability in a friendly and informal audition at the end of September. Members of the Junior and Intermediate Orchestras are encouraged to also join the NSSSE (Nova Scotia Suzuki String Ensemble) Junior Performance group that meets monthly. Students will be able to progress from the Intermediate Orchestra to the Chamber Orchestra when they are ready.

Instructors: Christy Hodder / Carrie VanSlyke
Rehearsal Times:
Intermediate Orchestra – Saturday 9:45am to 11:00am
Junior Orchestra – Saturday 11:00am to 12:00pm

Tuition for Each: $196/year + $60 registration

The Conservatory Chamber Orchestra is a string ensemble for advanced students playing challenging repertoire at the RCM Grade 5 level and up. There will be several performances throughout the year of repertoire from the Baroque period through to the Modern era. Entrance is by audition, and members are expected to attend regularly. This pre-professional ensemble experience will hone the musicianship skills of participants within a supportive and encouraging learning environment.

Conductor: Celeste Jankowski
Rehearsal Times: Monday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Tuition: $300/year + $60 Registration*

The Adult Orchestra provides an opportunity for recreational musicians with variable playing experience and skill levels to make music together in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Under the leadership of Susannë Brown, the members of the Adult Orchestra will meet weekly to play a range of approachable repertoire drawn from various genres and styles. Each term culminates in a final concert. Most importantly, the goal is always to have fun with your instrument!

Co-Conductors: Pat Wyman & Susannë Brown
Rehearsal Times: Tuesday 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Tuition: $196/year + $60 Registration*

Suzuki Strings

Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) was a Japanese violinist and teacher who pioneered the idea that preschool age children could learn to play the violin [or other stringed instrument] if the learning steps were small enough and the instrument was scaled down to fit their body. He believed that with good teaching every child can learn to play a musical instrument well.

Under the direction of Christy Hodder, the Suzuki program at the Conservatory is strong and growing rapidly, expanding this year to include cello and flute instructors. Their exciting and interactive programming includes solo instruction, small and large ensemble playing, outreach concerts and collaborations with other professional musicians and ensembles

Faculty:

  • Christy Hodder (head, violin)
  • Carrie VanSlyke (violin, viola)
  • Andre Pretzel (violin)
  • Karen Langille (violin)
  • Bebel Ribeiro (flute)
  • Maia Bruce (cello)
  • Lyndon Kirkley (cello)

Nova Scotia Suzuki String Ensemble meets monthly. Attendance by both the parent and his/her violinist is required. Repertoire pieces are set for each year and must be learned by the players with their private teachers. All students play from memory. Suzuki Ensemble prepares players for Junior and Senior Performance Groups. NSSSE performers are required to wear white tops and black bottoms and black dress shoes. Monthly attendance is required and there will be performances throughout the year.

Instructors: Christy Hodder / Carrie VanSlyke
Class times: Saturday between 12:00 and 2:30 p.m.
Tuition: $155 per year (one class per month + special events) + $30 Registration*

Preschooler private or small family group program. Small group weekly lessons: 1 to 3 preschoolers with parents in each group.

Maia Bruce welcomes Suzuki cello students from ages 3 and up. One or both parents attend all weekly lessons with their child(ren). A limited number of cellos are available to rent from the Suzuki Cello program, otherwise cellos can be rented from a local music store. Parents will learn the set up of the cello and cello technique using a cello provided during the lesson time. Prerequisite reading for parents BEFORE enrolling your child: Nurtured By Love by Dr. Suzuki. Families will also need Suzuki Book 1 and the accompanying CD. All these required materials are available to purchase from the main desk at the Conservatory for $45.

An integral part of the Suzuki method is the group class. Cellists will meet once a month to work as a group exploring and developing skills learned in their lessons and begin the joyous experience of playing together as a group.

Saturdays 1:30 – 2:15 (start date TBA)

Fee: $95 + $15 registration (full year)

Wind Ensembles

This new and exciting mini-clarinet is perfect for young children, and changing to clarinet when they’re bigger is easy! In this program your child will learn to play the clarineo in an environment that shapes their imagination, develops their creativity, and teaches them how to cooperate with others to make wonderful music. Upon graduation from Level 4, students transition to playing the clarinet.

Maximum enrollment: 5 per class; extra classes will be added if demand warrants.

Instrument info:
Students must bring their own clarineo to the first class.
Clarineos can be purchased at Long and McQuade on Cunard St.

Level 1 (age 5-7)
Wind music class for young children aged 5-7. In this small group class, your child will learn the basics of clarineo playing, play fun easy songs together, and learn how to perform.
Wednesdays 6:00pm-6:45pm
Faculty: Vasana Abeysekera

Level 2 (age 6-8)
For students who have graduated from level 1.
Thursdays 5:15pm-6:00pm
Faculty: Patty Shaw

Level 3 (age 7-9)
For students who have graduated from level 2.
Date and time TBA
Faculty: Patty Shaw

Level 4 (age 8-10)
For students who have graduated from level 3.
Tuesdays 5:30pm-6:15pm
Faculty: Patty Shaw

Tuition-all levels: 15 weeks $330 per student + $15 registration fee*.
Classes start in September and continue until June. Tuition is paid in 15 week segments.

*Registration fee is not applicable if you have already paid the fee for other lessons at the Conservatory in the term.
For more information contact Patty or Vasana.

Saturdays, 2:00 – 4:00pm

The brass ensemble for students aged 8-18 provides participants with a year-long introduction to brass instrumental performance. Repertoire will be chosen from a variety of musical styles and periods. The purpose of the ensemble is to provide high quality technical instruction while fostering a love of the brass instrumental medium.

Instructor: Rod MacGillivray (also Trombone)
Tuition: $195 + $60 registration per year

Vocal Ensembles

A small vocal ensemble for motivated teens aged 13-18 focusing on jazz, pop and contemporary styles. Now in its fourth season, Vivid Vocal Ensemble has quickly become a top small ensemble in Halifax for teens that are wishing to develop both as an ensemble singer as well as a soloist. This is an auditioned group.

Teacher: Zoe Leger

Fee: $155 per term + $30 registration (Two 18 week terms)

Mondays 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Swingalong is the perfect group for adults who want to discover the classic jazz standards of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s while sharpening their vocal technique. Swingalong is a small ensemble that sings in three to four-part harmony. This ensemble is perfect for those looking for a relaxed way to learn more about singing jazz and performing with others! No audition required.

Teacher: Zoe Leger

$130 per term + $30 registration (Two 18 week terms)

Wednesdays 7:30pm – 9pm

Traditional Music Ensemble

Join the Traditional Music Ensemble (ages 13-adult) on a musical journey exploring
many different cultures – Irish, Cape Breton, Scottish, Québecois, Scandinavian,
Breton (France), Galician/Asturian (Spain), Balkan, and more. We are open to
traditional instruments – fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar, pipes, mandolin, harp, accordion,
keyboard, banjo, etc. – and to some non-traditional ones too.

We will learn tunes together and build up some common repertoire, learn how to
arrange the tunes in creative ways, and perform them as a real trad stage band. Flutist
Jennifer Publicover directs. A rotating roster of guest instructors from Halifax’s vibrant
traditional music scene will visit and share their knowledge. Our group is a social one
too, with opportunities for some session playing, i.e. jamming tunes in Irish “seisún”
style, complete with munchies.

If you are comfortable getting around on your instrument, self-directed, and willing to
play by memory and to learn by ear, you will enjoy our group. Learning by ear is the
best way to capture the great energy and style of this music. We email you .mp3 files
to practice with at home, and scores in case you get stuck.

Sundays, 1:30 – 3:00pm
Interested players are encouraged to contact Jennifer Publicover through the
Conservatory for more information.

September- May

Faculty: Jennifer Publicover

Tuition: $225 per term (two 15 week terms) + registration

Register Today
harpsichord front
Soundboard of a Harpsichord