Electives and Mini-Courses


Composition Seminar

Rodney Lister, Instructor

This class gives students the opportunity to develop technique in original composition. Compositions are performed and discussed in class. Performances are arranged at workshops and student composition recitals.


Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor

Songwriting is designed to improve students’ skills in developing musical ideas and using songs as their compositional platform within a group class. This course is open to students ages 10+ from different NEC Prep departments, musical backgrounds, and instruments. Students will draw inspiration from a multitude of genres and through the class build the framework to be a songwriter who can work on both their own compositions and re-compositions of existing songs.

Mini Courses (6-week)

Please contact prepplacements@necmusic.edu if you are interested in joining a mini course in 2023-2024!


Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor

The film scoring industry has grown exponentially in the last few years, opening the door to further musical growth for coming generations.  By writing soundtracks to accompany selected scenes from films, students will learn the basic fundamentals of film scoring.  Orchestration, arrangement, creative writing, and improvisations are only a few of the skills sharpened through this class.  No previous experience required.  Classes will take place online.


The Art of Practice and Performance

Eli Epstein, Instructor

Since many of us have been practicing and performing from an early age, at some point we need to take stock of our work habits and attitudes, and retool. In this interactive workshop, Eli Epstein, veteran of the Cleveland Orchestra, will help us become optimal teachers to ourselves, identify practice skills that promote deep learning, introduce physiological and cognitive techniques that help us manage performance anxiety, and present methods that free us to express our feelings, our stories, and ourselves with our audience. Please bring your instruments. This class meets for 6 sessions.


Composing with Electronics

Aaron Smith, Instructor

This class will give young students the beginning foundation for electronic music. Students will be exposed to the basic physics of sound and the computer tools available for making and composing digital music. They will also explore some of the foundational ways to think about music generally and philosophically that have historically led to the formation of electronic music. This includes exploration of diverse sonic possibilities and experimentation with sound. Students will engage in fundamental exercises in music-making and listening to broaden their perception of sound, while gaining an introduction to DAWs (digital audio workstations). Thus, this will empower them with the basic tools to begin composing, electronically, or with live instruments.


Diction for singers Online Course

Corey Gaudreau, Instructor
Open to students age 12–18 

These online 6-week courses provide singers with an introduction to the lyric diction skills necessary for polishing their performance in German, Italian, and French. It will include a study of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as well as practical application of the language skills toward singing performance. Three separate language sessions will be offered this year:

  • Fall 2022 - Italian
  • Winter 2023 - German
  • Spring 2023 - French


Alexander Technique for Singers & Instrumentalists: Mindfulness & Ease in Performing

Clara Sandler, Instructor
Open to students age 11 and up

Have you experienced tension/pain/fatigue/performance anxiety while playing your instrument or singing? In this class, you will learn tools that will help you find more freedom of movement, ease, and joy in your performing. This class will address how performance anxiety affects the whole body: the mind gets cloudy and the body gets tense: not a good combination for a good performance! We will learn tools to feel more grounded and centered so we can function with more ease. We will work on specific mindfulness techniques for musicians which help develop the awareness of how we use our body in our playing and help change habits that cause tension and pain. In this experiential workshop, we will learn how we usually interfere with the body’s natural alignment and coordination and how to bring ourselves into a more centered, balanced, and a freer way to play and sing. The class will be part lecture, awareness exercises, and performing. For over 100 years the Alexander Technique has helped musicians, actors, dancers, athletes and others get rid of unnecessary tensions and perform with ease and enjoyment.

The Alexander Technique has been proven to:

  • Reduce back and neck pain 
  • Reduce arm tension/pain 
  • Optimize breathing
  • Help with stress 
  • Improve posture 
  • Facilitate movement 
  • Provide a sense of being centered and fully connected with the music and audience 
  • Enhance performance
  • Help with performance anxiety

“Learning about the Alexander Technique has taught me so much about how to practice better, perform with more ease, transform habits, and go through everyday life in a way that is more calm. The Alexander Technique changed the way I practice because it taught me to be more aware of myself, the instrument, and the space around me, and how to use my body more easily. What I’ve learned this year has also taught me that there is so much more to learn, and with everything we read and put into practice there is always a deeper level of understanding that can be reached. For example, when we first learned about the whispered ‘Ah’ it seemed like a breathing exercise to help you calm down, but after more practice it became a way to feel more centered, grounded, aware, at ease, and present in the space around you. Learning about and practicing the Alexander technique takes time, but makes every movement and action and thought, feel more free. Thank you Ms. Sandler, we all learned so much.”

–Niko O'Grady, violinist