Hands-on training for musicians.
Calling pianists to our NEW course: a dynamic piano workshop! Focusing on classical piano repertoire as a foundation for arranging, composition, and improvisation, this week-long workshop will take your piano skills to a new level of creativity and confidence.
Together, we’ll analyze the music of the masters—Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninov, and others—and explore the musical tools they used to build their masterpieces.
August 7, 2021
August 14, 2021
We’ll learn techniques on how to:
- Analyze classical repertoire
- Listen critically to music in general, and your playing in particular
- Overcome technical difficulties in your music
- Study the basics of hymn improvisation, and get tips for playing by ear, improvising on hymns, accompanying congregational singing, navigating modulations, and more.
Workshop projects include:
- Preparing multiple arrangements in specific classical styles
- Collaborating with classmates on piano practice and written assignments
- Writing a short essay on a piano arranging topic of your choice
- Presenting your arrangements in concert at the end of class
Who Can Enroll?
The course is designed for music students ages 15 and upward.
What is the recommended skill level?
- 2+ years of study on the piano
- Ability to comfortably read a hymn written in four parts
- Basic knowledge of music theory, including understanding key signatures, primary chords, and basic musical notation
- Ability to play 2-4 octave major and minor scales with up to three sharps/flats
- Attending Sound Foundations before this workshop is not required but it is strongly recommended
Instructors and Coaches
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Piano Workshop run by a particular church or denomination?
Family Conferences is a non-denominational evangelical Christian ministry, governed by a board of directors and is not run by any particular church or denomination.
Is there much personal time to practice on my instrument?
Yes! Since the goal of this course is to build your technical and interpretative skills on your instrument as much as we can in one week, expect lots of practicing every day! Also expect some friendly competition as students log their times on their own charts… there just might be a prize for the best practice log at the end of the course!
How does the course conclude?
As a finale to our six-day musical intensive, we’ll join forces as a class to present a final concert to our fellow students, instructors, and guests. While this will not be as formal of a concert as Sound Foundations, family and friends are welcome to attend, so that they can join you in celebrating this week of learning and practice.
What’s the dress code?
We encourage you to lead the way in the classroom by wearing clothing that is traditional, classic, and professional, inviting your peers to take you and your skills seriously. As we focus on equipping students for excellence, our choice of clothing can drive us towards, or distract us from that goal.
- Classroom: Business/Professional – classically styled skirts/dresses for girls, slacks/collared shirts for guys
- Performances: Dress/Formal (Solid black – long dresses for girls, suits for guys, black shoes)
- Recreation: Casual (keep it modest-fitting: nothing stretchy, clingy, or revealing)
For more details on the dress code, check out the Orientation Manual.
What should I bring and how can I prepare?
In addition to your instrument, some study items, and clothing that adheres to the course guidelines, we’ve compiled a full packing list for you. Please check it out in our Orientation Manual.
Can family members stay on campus before, during, or after the course?
While we welcome family visits, due to the intense class schedule, students need to communicate these visits with their team leaders or the course coordinators. Families are welcome to come and stay on campus if they’d like, however, how much visiting time is actually available is subject to the class schedule. Family members are welcome to stay on campus before or after the course. For details on room and meal reservations, please contact the International ALERT Academy Events Department.
What is the setup for meals?
All meals, including a continental breakfast, and full lunch and dinner are served in the campus dining hall. Our dining hall features a full cafeteria line, so there are always plenty of options. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions on your application, or within one month of the course start date, so we can plan appropriately.
The weekend meal schedule is as follows:
- Saturday, Brunch @ 10:30am, and Dinner @ 4:30pm
- Sunday, Bag lunch (Pick up at Sat. Dinner) Dinner @ 4:30pm
What can I do during my free time?
The Family Conference venue has many areas for recreation, including a track, disc golf course, basketball and volleyball courts, walking areas, and more. Scheduled volleyball games on the weekend are a highlight for many students!
Is this course accredited?
While the majority of the material in this course is equivalent to college 100–400 level courses, and students receive a certificate of completion, there is no accreditation granted for this specific course. In the past, many individual students have used experience from this class to compile portfolios which are recognized by their school, or used the skills they garnered here to test their way out of college courses.
What is the class size?
Class size is limited to 25 students.
For all other questions, see the Orientation Manual.
Also, feel free to contact the Music Office at [email protected].
Arrival & Departure
For Those Driving
Please arrive at the International ALERT Academy (One Academy Blvd, Big Sandy, TX, 75755) by 3:30pm on Saturday, August 7th. Dinner is provided in the dining room from 4:30-5:00pm, and registration and orientation will take place in the dining room from 5:30-7:00pm. If you are interested in organizing a carpool from your area, let us know so we can connect you with other students.
For flights into Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) or Dallas Love Field (DAL), plan to arrive before 2:30pm on Saturday, August 7th.
For flights into Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (TYR), or East Texas Regional Airport in Longview (GGG), arrive before 3:00pm on Saturday, August 7th.
For DFW or DAL, plan to depart after 12:30pm on Saturday, August 14th.
For TYR or GGG, plan to depart any time after 8:00am on Saturday, August 14th.
Get a $75 discount per additional student from the same family!
Early Bird Pricing
Sign up before July 26!
|Individual Registration||$750 — $625|
|Additional Sibling Registration||$675 — $550|
- Daily lessons with your personal coach
- Daily rehearsals with your ensemble coach
- 15+ structured practice hours on-site
- All core classroom materials (please note that some instructors may recommend the purchase of supplementary materials)
- One week of lodging and meals
Registration closes August 1, 2021.