The Juilliard School in New York City will offer music education to K-12 students across the nation for the first time and Utah high-schoolers can take the online courses for free.
"In America today, specifically, music education has diminished significantly," Juilliard President Joseph Polisi said this week. "We're using the power of technology to bring Juilliard's expertise to users around the world."
Called Juilliard eLearning, the conservatory's virtual music courses are probably the first to be offered in the nation, officials said.
In Utah, the new courses were first offered to students enrolled at the virtual school Utah Connections Academy, whose parent company, Connections Education, was a partner with Juilliard in creating them.
But any Utah high school student can sign up for the Juilliard course free of charge, thanks to SB65, which allows them to take online classes throughout the state. Utah students can enroll in up to three free online courses this fall.
Juilliard created the Living Music course for high school students, who study rhythm, beats, notation and music history. Students also learn about the relationships between various sections of the orchestra and are exposed to the concepts of improvisation and composition.
In addition, students use online interactive tools, including a virtual instrument and digital sampler, to arrange their own music.
Chanse Phoenix of Murray, a freshman at Utah Connections Academy, was one of the first 600 students across the nation to take the new course. He is especially interested in guitar and piano.
"My favorite is writing down different notes and sending it to the teachers," Chanse said. "I didn't know we would be doing the singing and warming up and how hard it would be, but [it's] a lot of fun."
His mother, Suzanne Phoenix, said, "There's a virtual music tool kit for any instrument. You can try those, but the one Chanse likes is piano and guitar. He's already done a couple of measures of music he's written and different sections, different sounds and quality of notes; they go through everything."
For the public, four Juilliard eLearning music courses cost $249 for grades Kindergarten through 5 and $299 for grades six through nine. They were aligned around national standards and include:
Experiencing Music: Students in grades K–2 are introduced to basic components of music including melody and rhythm. Students explore their own voices through performing and composing beats, rhythms and melodies. Students use their critical listening skills to analyze music they see and hear as they participate in interactive experiences.
Discovering Music: Designed for students in grades three through five, this course teaches students fundamental musicianship skills from a Western-Classical approach. It challenges students to develop their listening, analysis, performance, composition and improvisation skills through studying standard repertoire pieces. Students also learn how to read music, are introduced to types of instruments and families of instruments, and are taught about music style periods.
Exploring Music: Students in grades six through eight develop their appreciation for music as they hone their listening, notation, analysis, performance and improvisation skills. Students gain an understanding of the various families of the orchestra and use interactive instruments and tools to compose their own music.
In subsequent years, courses such as music theory, music history, drama history or dance history may be added to Juilliard eLearning.
Kathleen Webb, principal of Utah Electronic High School, said it does not offer virtual music courses. The school offers three fine arts courses: foundation of art, art history and digital photography.
Kevin Sweeney of Connections Education, which runs 23 virtual K-12 schools in 22 states, said he believes the Juilliard courses are the first in the nation.
Utah high school students can sign up for the Juilliard course through their school counselor or clicking on Utah Connections Academy: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/utah-school/soep.aspx.
Juilliard online music classes
Watch a video of the new online music classes here.