Celebrate and explore
Music students find ample opportunity for the study and performance of music at all levels at Western Reserve Academy. Courses are offered in choir, string orchestra, symphonic winds, music theory, studio music, jazz ensemble, and digital music production. Students may elect to take our performance courses — choir, string orchestra and symphonic winds — repeatedly for credit and are strongly encouraged to do so.Students also take individual tutorials with adjunct music faculty, who are practitioners from the Cleveland Orchestra and Akron Symphony. In past years, WRA musicians have traveled to Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria to showcase their work.
- Music Performance Programs
- Explore Our Music Courses
- Supplemental Music Programs
- Private Lessons
- Yearly Performances
Symphonic Winds (Band) encompasses students that play brass, woodwind and percussion. This performing ensemble focuses on building correct playing technique and comprehension of musical notation and style with an emphasis on performance.
The Academy Choir is a traditional mixed choir that performs music from a variety of styles and time periods in both large and small group settings. While emphasis is placed on developing vocal skills and music reading, the primary focus of the group is performance.
Choir: The Academy Choir is WRA’s traditional mixed chorus and is open to all students regardless of level of experience. While emphasis is placed on developing vocal skills and independent music reading, the primary focus of this group is performance. The choir performs music of many style periods and genres and is particularly proud of its history of multicultural works. Performance opportunities include a mid-winter Madrigal Feaste, Vespers, a major work with chamber orchestra, singing at numerous WRA events and occasional off-campus opportunities. Students seeking a more selective opportunity may also audition for Chamber Choir and/or unReserved, our a cappella group. The course can be taken as a semester elective or a year-long course.
String Orchestra: The Academy String Orchestra brings together students who play violin, viola, cello, and bass. The ensemble primarily plays classical repertoire for string orchestra, occasionally combining with members of Symphonic Winds to play music written for full orchestra. String players will also have the opportunity to play chamber music and partner with The Academy Choir. The course can be taken as a semester elective or a year-long course.
Symphonic Winds: The Reserve Symphonic Winds is WRA’s ensemble for students who play brass, woodwinds or percussion instruments. This group plays standard concert band repertoire as well as working in jazz, film, and contemporary music. WRA has a small selection of instruments for students to borrow who may not have their own. While most students have prior experience, students who are new to their instrument are welcome and encouraged to join. The course can be taken as a semester elective or a year-long course.
CL Music Theory: This course is intended to help students master the tools necessary for understanding the building blocks of music; they will gain fundamental understanding in musical notation, rhythm and meter, scales and chords. Some prior music experience (playing an instrument or singing) is helpful; students will gain expertise in active listening and do some composing as well as focusing on building aural skills. During the second half of the year, the focus will be on extensive work in harmonic analysis and writing music using the rules of the Common Practice Period.
Studio Music: Open to serious musicians looking to develop their skills and explore performance in a sophisticated way. Students will work on repertoire illustrative of developing excellence in their particular instrument/voice. Students must be able to practice independently and will be expected to demonstrate exemplary progress towards their targeted goals through performance. A final program/ recital to showcase progress will be expected during each semester of participation. Prerequisite: Departmental permission and demonstrated expertise via audition or participation in WRA’s ensembles.
Jazz Ensemble: This course is offered to students who want to develop and grow in their performance and understanding of jazz. Instrumentation is open to any and all interested. Band members will learn advanced scales, sight-reading and elements of jazz theory. Band Members will perform varying styles underneath the umbrella of Jazz Literature, which can include swing, bebop, big band, blues, funk, pop, rock, gospel, fusion and multi-ethnic repertoire. This is a performance-based ensemble where concerts take place both on campus and off campus. The course can be taken as a semester elective or a year-long course.
Digital Music Production: This course will introduce students to the realm of music production and the necessary skills needed in this digital age. The focus of this course will be honing students’ ability to listen and analyze professional productions, ranging from Michael Jackson to Randy Newman to Avicii. Topics covered will include stereo processing, analog and digital processing, compression, limiting, filtering, panning, reverb, and EQ. Mixing and creating a final mastered product will provide students the ability to actualize the different components in producing commercial level music. All D.A.W.’s (Digital Audio Workstations) will be explored with the main use of Apple’s Logic Pro. Both live streams, D.A.W.’s, and production courses will be made available to the students.
Advanced Digital Music Production: This course builds upon the foundations learned in Digital Music Production. Advanced mixing techniques are explored along with the techniques needed in creating commercial media music. Students will create music for advertisements, film trailers, and their own EP Album. A wider range of music analysis will be examined along with creating special audio effects within Logic Pro X. Prerequisite: Digital Music Production.
Songwriting: This course highlights the many paths and combinations by which artists, performers, songwriters, and producers create their original sounding music. Learning the beginning basics of piano and/or guitar will parallel learning to create original music. Beginning music theory, arranging, melody writing, and genre analysis will be explored along with writing effective song titles and lyrics. No prior instrumental experience is required.
Musical Theater Performance: In this semester-long course, students will study the history of Musical Theater, will experience live theater and/or video performances of important pieces, and will study some of theater’s superstars. The real purpose of this workshop, however, is actual performance informed by contextual study! Singers, actors, and dancers will prepare solos and/or ensemble pieces for performance and critique. The workshop will culminate in a showcase open to the public.
Advanced Musical Theater Performance: Musical Theater Intensive is designed to provide an opportunity for serious Musical Theater practitioners to deepen their experience. In addition to revisiting all of the genres performed in the Performance class (with different repertoire), students taking MT Intensive will be expected to participate at an advanced level by creating their own Showcase.They will also be expected to participate in masterclasses with guest artists, prepare mock auditions, and develop a portfolio. Prerequisite: Musical Theater Performance
ELECTRIC STRING ORCHESTRA
This ensemble combines students from the Academy String Orchestra with elements of a modern rock orchestra. This ensemble will perform contemporary rock music with a orchestra flair.
THE WRA JAZZ BAND
The Jazz Band performs jazz standards as well as contemporary jazz and pop. Students have to opportunity to work together to create new music through improvisation.
This collaborative ensemble features students from band, orchestra and choir. This ensemble is a unique form of marching music activity. This activity combines Music, Movement / Dance and Theater to tell a story. This all takes place in a gym. This ensemble will travel and participate in the Ohio Indoor Performance Association and Winterguard International competitive
Upon approval, students may participate in afternoon music to replace a sport for one season. Afternoon music offers short courses in basic music theory, rhythm workshops, small ensembles, and individual practice.
Any student can take private lessons for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet. horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, percussion, violin, viola, cello, bass, and Voice. Lessons are also available for piano and guitar. Lessons are offered all school year and are credited monthly to the students bookstore account.
Built Circa 1878
- Three floors of music rehearsal space
- Band Room
- Orchestra Room
- Choir Room
- Recital Room
- Music Offices and Extensive Literature Library
- Each rehearsal room is equipped with a state of sound system, smart board and recording capabilities
- Practice Rooms
- each equipped with a piano and metronome/tuner
- 9 Pianos in the building 4 grand, 5 upright
- 7 Computers with recording capability
- Smartmusic Integration - music software used to record students progress and assess students throughout the school year.
- Smartmusic allows our students to access a vast library of music for solo, small ensemble or large ensembles. Students can play along with the band and listen to their progress in real time.
- Music Student Lounge
Knight Fine Arts Center
Built in 1986
- Digital Music Production works in our Digital Media Lab, formerly known as our Photo Studio.