Apply Now!        

Class Descriptions

Sample List of Institute Activities

Chamber Music Coachings
Each participant will be assigned two chamber music groups for the Institute. Groups will have daily rehearsals and coachings with Decoda faculty as well as opportunities to perform in master class sessions.

Private Lesson Instruction
During the institute there will be scheduled private lesson periods for participants to work with Decoda faculty on an individual basis.

Composition Workshops and Readings
For those participants with a strong interest in composition and/or arranging, there will be opportunities to work with some of Decoda’s own performer/composers as well as with Pulitzer prize-winner Caroline Shaw. There will also be scheduled sessions for Decoda faculty to read and workshop compositions with the composers. 


Public Performances

Faculty Performance (Week 1, 2):  Decoda Institute Faculty, joined by select guest artists from Decoda and Skidmore College Faculty (based on instrumental needs) will present two innovative chamber music performances open to the public.

Faculty Interactive Performance and Workshop (Week 1): Decoda faculty will present a 3-hour workshop on "The Power of Interactive Performance".  Part performance, part demonstration, part workshop, the students and faculty will explore the ingredients of a successful Interactive Performance, the rules of engagement for different age groups, and the art of scripting as a team.

Chamber Music Marathon (Week 1): This Marathon will give all groups the opportunity to perform for the Institute community and a public audience.  This chamber music concert will be the culmination of Week 1's work, serving as a benchmark for each ensemble, and a celebration of the artistic progress in the Institute's internal community.

Interactive Performance Marathon (Week 2):  As part of Week 2's exploration of external community in the greater Saratoga Springs area, groups will spend the week scripting an Interactive Performance for elementary aged students.  The final day of the Institute will feature the work of the student ensembles as they perform their completed Interactive Performances.  This will be hosted by Decoda faculty and presented in front of an audience of the Institute community, general public, and the family and friends of the students. 

Community Engagement chamber music concerts (Week 2): These concerts feature student groups in performance in the greater Saratoga Springs area at selected venues such as a hospital, assisted living facility, or town center.  Throughout Week 2, student ensembles will work with faculty on presentation and public speaking, creating a personally authentic pathway into the music, and cultivating a connection with members of their audience.


Decoda Town Hall

Festival Community - "Who We Are" (Week 1):  What role does music play in your life personally? What role does music play in our society? This initial Town Hall will serve as an introduction to Decoda - how and why we came together and what we hope to add to music in our society.  Students will be asked to reflect on the question, "what role does music play in your own lives and in society at large?" This session will serve as a way to get to know each other and include community building exercises. 

Public Speaking (Week 1): A crash course on speaking from the stage and to your audience.  Finding avenues of relating the music to everyone; preparing an outline for what you are going to say; keeping it short (but passionate!); staying away from the "ums, likes, things."

Entry Points (Week 1): What is an entry point?  Why is it relevant?  Breaking out into groups for "entry point case studies" - identifying something important and personally relevant in the music, and then finding a way to present that to your audience in front of you.   Through this Town Hall we will discover that an entry point is a pathway into the music that gives an audience ownership over the music, creating a deeper listening experience.

Improv - Drama (Week 1): As musicians in the professional world, we find ourselves improvising every day!  What better way to learn how to stay on your toes (while having lots of fun!) than to work with a professional actor/comedian?

Community Engagement (Week 2): As artists, we will find ourselves performing in front of an array of different audiences - presenting classical music to someone who has never heard it before, to senior citizens who have had vast experiences, but do not have access to the concert hall because of their situations.  This Town Hall will prepare students with a tool box for different scenarios of performances in community venues.

Interactive Performances (Week 2):  This Town Hall will serve as a master class for Interactive Performance groups, facilitated by Decoda faculty and guest artists.  This will be a chance for student ensembles to try out a selection of IP activities from their scripts-in-progress.  All groups will have a chance to present and will benefit from watching the other IP groups being coached on their presentations.


Supplemental and Evening Activities

Evenings are designed for the student community to come together as a group. Activities will be centered around concepts and topics that have to do with life as a musician and taking care of one's body, mind, and soul.

Yoga:  The Institute will hire a professional yoga instructor to give a class on stretching and breathing.

Alexander Technique: Many musicians use Alexander Technique as a preventative practice combating tendonitis and other tension-related disorders which are often caused by the overuse of the small muscles.

Performance Anxiety: Musicians of all levels deal with performance anxiety on a day-to-day basis.  Taking from Don Greene's book, "Performance Success", the Institute community will explore ways in which we can actively deal with anxiety and stress that manifests itself in performance situations.

Chamber Music Reading Party: What better way to get to know each other than a round-robin chamber music reading party!

Movie Night:  It's Movie Night!  These evenings will feature music-related films such as Rhythm Is It, War Dance, and West Side Story with moderated discussions afterwards.  Snacks will be served.