Equipping Musicians for Excellence

July 17–August 7, 2021

Course Overview

Equipping Musicians for Excellence

So, you’re a musician! You desire to serve God, and you’re working on building your skill set. Sound Foundations exists for musicians like you!

A three-week course for musicians aged 15 and older, Sound Foundations provides excellent training in a broad variety of topics to take your music and your music ministry to the next level for the glory of God

Schedule

Begins:
July 17, 2021

Ends:
August 7, 2021

Location

International ALERT Academy Campus

1 Academy Blvd.
Big Sandy TX, 75755

View Venue Website

Track Options

Instructors

Testimonials

FAQ

Registration

General Topics

Students in all Sound Foundations levels will participate in the following areas:

Choir & orchestra

Join your classmates in energizing vocal and instrumental workouts in a rich variety of classical and sacred repertoire!

Hymnology

Study the hymns of the faith and learn how you can use them to point others to Christ!

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Masterclasses

Glean insights from musical professionals to take your musical command to the next level!

Biblical music discernment

From the Old to the New Testament, let’s put our personal preferences aside and see what the Bible has to say about music!

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Songwriting

Explore composition principles and learn to craft your own melody and lyrics.

Who is Sound Foundations for?

This course is designed for students ages 15 and older.

What is the recommended skill level?

  • 2+ years of study on your instrument
  • Ability to play/sight read a hymn melody or parts comfortably on your instrument.
  • Basic knowledge of music theory (the ability to play scales on your instrument in major and minor keys up to two sharps/flats is helpful, but not required).

Track Options

In addition to all the general course topics above, choose from three specific tracks:

Level 1

Basic Music Theory

Learn about the building blocks of music, from notation principles to chord progressions, and allow them to bring the pages of your music to life.

Music History

Journey through music, from Biblical times to the present, and explore the people and events that shaped sound through the ages.

Scripture Songwriting

Learn how to take passages of scripture and tastefully set them to music.

Children’s Music Ministry

From music lesson planning to classroom management, gain skills for a variety of music ministry settings.

Basic Orchestrations

Along with your teammates, score and arrange a hymn for full orchestra with confidence and creativity.

Conducting

From handling basic meters to studying orchestral direction techniques, learn what it takes to lead with a baton.

Other

Enjoy extra classes on copyright navigation, music pedagogy, hymn arranging and improvisation, and more!

Level 2 

Basic Music Theory Review

Review topics from SF Level 1, then, take it all up a level!

Intermediate Music Theory

Learn how to harmonize melodies, and how to write four-part harmonies.

Also, learn how to work with:

  • cadences
  • non-chord tones
  • interchangeable harmonies
  • and more!

The main text for this course is based on the college textbook, Principles of Harmony by Dr. Dean Kincaid, American Conservatory of Music.

Note: A proficiency exam is required to register for Sound Foundations Level 2. Once you have completed the exam, email a copy to [email protected].

Level 3

Intermediate Music Theory Review

Review topics from SF Level 2, then, take it all up a level!

Advanced Music Theory

Gain proficiency in your music through studying more harmonic topics, including 7th chords, interchangeable harmonies, borrowed dominant forms, multiple modulation techniques, and a variety of colorful chords.

Introduction to Form & Analysis

Study musical form, specifically the Sonata Form, and learn how impactful it is on how you understand and interpret music.

The main text for this course is based on the college textbook, Principles of Harmony by Dr. Dean Kincaid, American Conservatory of Music.

Note: A proficiency exam is required to register for Sound Foundations Level 3. Once you have completed the exam, email a copy to [email protected].

“. . . and with my song will I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7

“Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.”

Psalm 149:1

What participants are saying:

Sound Foundations was amazing! The instructors were clear and concise in teaching. . . The camaraderie among the students was awesome and friendly in a respectful and God-honoring way.”

—Abigail

I had always wanted to write my own song, but never thought I could. I wasn’t a songwriter. But when I came here and was given the tools and a deadline, I did it! God blessed me with a song and made me a songwriter.”

—Kimberly

Sound Foundations made music come alive, especially hymns.”

—William

[Sound Foundations] prepared me for so much more than I could have possibly imagined! It not only bettered my musical skills but also kept the focus on Jesus Christ and honoring Him in everything I play or participate in with music.”

—Katrina

I was really encouraged in my journey in music to try new things like orchestration, conducting, and songwriting. I learned a lot in the three weeks and am excited to take what I’ve learned and keep growing and serving the Lord through music.”

—Anne

I enjoyed every single one of the courses. After these three weeks I feel like a much more rounded musician, and I know I am now better equipped to serve the Lord in the area of music.”

—Hannah

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sound Foundations 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.

I don’t like sitting in classrooms. Is this course a good fit for me?

Since the purpose of the course is geared towards equipping students with tools for ministry, there are a lot of classroom hours. However, many of them are hands-on or involve assignment completion time within the class time. For details, check out our sample schedule.

Is there much personal time to practice on my instrument?

Yes, but not much! Personal practice can take place during study halls, in the mornings and evenings, and on weekends. In order to maximize the benefits of this course, most students put most personal music aside for the duration of the course.

Will there be opportunities for 1:1 training or coaching?

While SF does not provide private lessons for students (for that, come to our Instrumental Workshop!), if students participate in masterclasses or they are selected for ensembles, they will receive some valuable coaching. In masterclasses, students will receive coaching on their instrument and the music they bring. In ensembles, students will receive coaching on their instrument and the music they are using in the ensemble.

Can I play in an orchestra at SF?

Yes! The size and structure of the orchestra is determined based on the instrumentation and skill levels that register for the course. At a minimum, the orchestra plays the arrangements created by students in their classes and assignments. If more advanced players are available, the conductor may select sections or ensembles to do special presentations. In addition, during the final week of the course (coinciding with the Big Sandy Family Conference), SF students can join in with the Family Conference orchestra. If you want to participate in the orchestra, be sure to include an audition with your registration. 

Why is choral training such a big part of the schedule?

The voice is the perfect instrument, created by God, and if we can use it with excellence, it will bring excellence to the rest of our music. Every day, SF students enjoy two hours of choral training – and while most students don’t come as vocalists, many conclude at the end of the course that their favorite class was choir. In addition, the lessons learned in tackling fun and challenging music under skilled conductors cross over into every other area of music.

Can parents/adults observe the course?

Yes! Parents/adults are welcome to sit in on some classes as observers (not participants). For this, they need to specify if they are just observing a single class, or choosing to officially audit parts of the course. For a breakdown of options for auditing, see our Pricing page.

How does the course conclude?

As a grand finale to our three weeks together, we’re excited for all levels of Sound Foundations students to present a formal final concert for their family and friends. For details on the final concert, click here

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 SF 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

Prior to the weekends, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase in the campus bookstore, or you can bring your own.

What do meals cost for visiting family members?

For details on meals and reservations, please see our pricing page.

For all other questions, see the Orientation Manual.

Also, feel free to contact the Music Office at [email protected].

Travel Details

Arrival & Departure

For Those Driving

Please arrive on the campus by 3:30pm on Saturday, July 17th.

Dinner is provided in the dining room from 4:30 – 5:00pm. After that, the fun begins with refreshments and Orientation in the Auditorium at 6:30 pm.

Please plan to leave by 12:00pm on Saturday, August 7th. If you are interested in organizing a carpool from your area, let us know so we can connect you with other students.

Flight Arrivals

For flights into Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) or Dallas Love Field (DAL), plan to arrive before 2:00pm on Saturday, July 17th.

For flights into Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (TYR), or East Texas Regional Airport in Longview (GGG), plan to arrive before 3:30pm on Saturday, July 17th.

Flight Departures

For DFW or DAL, plan to depart after 12:30pm on Saturday, August 7th.

For TYR or GGG, plan to depart after 8:00am on Saturday, August 7th.

International ALERT Academy

International ALERT Academy Campus

1 Academy Blvd.
Big Sandy TX, 75755

View Venue Website

Course Registration

Get a $100 discount per additional student from the same family!

Tuition

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Early Bird Pricing

Sign up before June 1!

Individual Registration $1450 — $1200
Additional Sibling Registration $1350 — $1100

Tuition includes:

  • Three weeks of lodging and meals
  • 120+ classroom hours and study hall time (total of course content is roughly equivalent to one semester of college studies)
  • All classroom materials, including a complete course binder with session notes for classes, a personal hymnal, and additional books and related resources (additional materials and class memorabilia will be available for purchase)

Sibling Discounts:
Multiple siblings from the same family interested in attending? Save $100 per additional student from the same family!

 

For questions, email [email protected] or call (903) 636-2000.