Equipping Musicians for Excellence

July 8 – July 27, 2024

Course Overview

Equipping Musicians for Excellence

So, you’re a musician! You desire to serve God, but you need practical, hands-on training to be equipped for your calling. 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 foundational topics to strengthen and build both your walk with the Lord and your skill-set as a musician for the glory of God.


July 8, 2024

July 27, 2024


International ALERT Academy Campus

1 Academy Blvd.
Big Sandy TX, 75755

View Venue Website

Track Options





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!


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

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!



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

Sound Foundations Levels

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.


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


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

Level 2 

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.

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.”


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.”


Sound Foundations made music come alive, especially hymns.”


[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.”


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.”


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.”


Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any prerequisites for Sound Foundations?

This course is designed for students ages 15 and older.

For Level 1: No prior music skill is necessary.

For Level 2: A profiency exam is required to register for Level 2. Once you have completed the exam, email a copy to [email protected].

For Level 3: A profiency exam is required to register for Level 3. Once you have completed the exam, email a copy to [email protected].

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.

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.

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.

Can I play in an orchestra at SF?

Every year, we select several intermediate to advanced players from the class to accompany the choir in what we call the Concert Ensemble!  

To audition for this ensemble, please video yourself playing the following:

  • (1) major and (1) minor scale of your choice in 2-4 octaves.
    Pianists: 4 octaves.
    Wind players: 2 octaves.
    String players: 3 octaves.
  • Excerpts from (2) classical or sacred selections of your choice.
    Each selection can be up to 3 min long. (If you’ve chosen a longer piece like a sonata or a concerto, feel free to choose excerpts.)
    One that is faster and more technical.
    One that is more lyrical and expressive.

Upload your video to a private YouTube channel and email the link to [email protected]

Include your name, age, instrument, and which class orchestra you are auditioning for. 

To be considered for the Concert Ensemble (vs. the all-class orchestra), please submit audition no later than four weeks before the start of Sound Foundations. 

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 details, please email [email protected].

What are the final concert details?

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 visit 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.

Are there scholarship options available?

Yes! If you have prayerfully confirmed that the Lord is leading you to participate in one of these music courses, and finances restrict your enrollment, we want to help. We have a limited amount of scholarships available. Please contact us so we can find a good fit for you.

For all other questions, see the Orientation Manual.

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

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.

Travel Details

Arrival & Departure

For Those Driving

Please arrive on the campus by 3:30pm on Monday, July 8th.

Dinner is provided in the dining room from 5:30 – 6:00pm. After that, the fun begins with refreshments and Orientation in the Auditorium at 7:30 pm.

Please plan to leave by 12:00pm on Saturday, July 27th. 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 Monday, July 8th.

For flights into Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (TYR), or East Texas Regional Airport in Longview (GGG), plan to arrive before 3:30pm on Monday, July 8th.

Flight Departures

For DFW or DAL, plan to depart after 12:30pm on Saturday, July 27th.

For TYR or GGG, plan to depart after 8:00am on Saturday, July 27th.

International ALERT Academy

International ALERT Academy Campus

1 Academy Blvd.
Big Sandy TX, 75755

View Venue Website

Course Registration





Alumni (only if repeating a level)


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

Need financial assistance? Fill out a Financial Assistance Request!

Registration closes June 24, 2024.

$100 cancellation fee for all cancellations.
No refunds for cancellations made on or after June 24, 2024.

Refer a new student

Bring a friend, save $100!

Invite a friend or sibling for their first Sound Foundations course, and both of you will get $100 off your tuition. That’s $100 off for you, and $100 off for friend or sibling!

Simply register as usual, and you’ll be emailed a unique code to give to another person. When they register using their code, we’ll issue a $100 refund on your original registration.

Host students must register before the additional students they are referring. Only first time attendees are eligible for the Bring-a-Friend discount. The Bring-a-Friend discount can be used multiple times, and can be combined with early registration discount, up to a maximum discount of $800. The host student will receive their discount after the course to ensure both were able to attend. Offer expires June 24, 2024.