Encouraging students to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally


We believe all people have the beautiful and unique ability to create music, regardless of age or perceived talent level. This ability should be nurtured in a rich, supportive environment, where students are encouraged to interact with music through many different modes, including singing, moving, listening, performing, and creating. We do not view music learning as a linear process, but rather agree with Jerome Bruner’s concept of the “spiral curriculum,” where concepts continue to be revisited at a deeper level as the student matures. We believe that Kodaly and Orff were right to encourage experience before sight, or “sound before symbol.” We also believe a well-rounded music education is not complete without a firm grasp of written notation and basic music theory. Our instruction borrows ideas and techniques from the Orff, Dalcroze, Kodaly, and Suzuki methods/philosophies of music learning and teaching.


Classes and Ensembles

We incorporate the National Standards for Music Education into the curriculum of every music class and ensemble we offer. The national standards are divided into 4 categories: Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting. We believe each category must be addressed in order to produce a well-rounded musician. The National Standards can be viewed by clicking the buttons below:


private lessons

Private lessons at the Black Swamp Fine Arts School are highly individualized and tailored to the student. Our instructors bring significant amounts of knowledge, experience, and skill to each lesson. Curriculum content and lesson structure will vary depending on the needs and skill level of the student, but in general the following aspects of musicianship will be addressed throughout the year:

  • Playing technique and tone production

  • Reading and performing from music notation and by memory

  • Sight-reading

  • Recognizing and performing expressive elements in music

  • Practicing standard, level-appropriate scales and etudes to improve technique

  • Consistently working on and performing solos both privately (in lessons and for family/friends), and publicly (each semester in our studio recitals)

  • Developing efficient and effective practice habits

  • Instrument care and maintenance

  • Playing technique and tone production

  • Working with a collaborative pianist for performances