New Programs and Offerings Enrich Colburn Students’ Artistic Development

Students in the Community School, Music Academy, Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, and Conservatory will have new opportunities to take their artistry to the next level this fall.

Colburn students have always had access to the highest-quality performing arts education through our world-class faculty, sequential learning programs, and multiple performance opportunities. However, beginning this school year, they will have even more ways to take their artistry to the next level.

Read on to discover exciting new offerings from around the school.

Center for Innovation and Community Impact

Starting this school year, the Center for Innovation and Community Impact will offer a series of eight short courses for Colburn students as part of its career development programming. Although the courses are designed for Conservatory students, all music students will benefit and are encouraged to attend.

Students will be able to select from seminars that cover resume, biography, and professional photo tips, financial literacy, community engagement, digital marketing, and other practical knowledge and skills for professional musicians.


Previously, graduating Conservatory students enrolled in the Working Musician course taught by Dr. Nathaniel Zeisler, Dean for Community Initiatives. By adapting this one course into several different classes, students will be able to choose areas that are most relevant to their career goals, giving them a more tailored and in-depth experience. Students will also be able to take courses throughout their enrollment at Colburn rather than only in their senior year, thus allowing them to develop skills and understanding throughout their education.


Apart from academic courses, the Center will also expand its artist toolshed, which equips students with tech gear such as computers, cameras, and microphones for rental use. The expansion involves this year’s Entrepreneurs in Residence, Jared Dickerson and Simone Porter of The Upnote podcast, who will assist in developing a new studio for students to record podcasts.

The Center for Innovation and Community Impact will continue working with student soloists and ensembles to present community programming throughout the year.

Community School of Performing Arts

This fall, parents with young children will find captivating new programs, including additional classes in Early Childhood and Drama on Sundays, a hybrid Dalcroze and Music theory class for five year olds called Beginning Musicianship, and the Suzuki Guitar program.

The brand new Suzuki Guitar Program is directed by Dr. Connie Sheu, a classical guitarist with over 10 years of experience teaching Suzuki Guitar. Weekly private lessons and group instruction ensures that students are progressing at their own pace, developing ensemble skills, and reinforcing proper technique on the instrument. Suzuki guitar is open to students ages five and older. For enrollment information, contact Dr. Connie Sheu at


For students looking to continue studying music in college, the new College Audition Prep for Singers class provides college-aspiring high school singers with the knowledge, strategies, and technical skills needed to craft a first-rate college music audition. This class is taught by voice faculty Michael Chipman. Mr. Chipman shares a conclusion he formed from his experience in the college audition process, “It seems to me, having been on the other side of the audition table for many years, that there is a lot of information that would be very helpful in preparing students (and their parents) for those auditions.” Twelve weeks will be a seminar on specific topics, and four weeks will be conducted as master classes. The class will provide the information and technical knowledge to construct a successful college audition and set students apart from the competition.


The Community School has added two ensembles, Symphonic Band and the Colburn Sinfonietta. Designed for middle school students with at least one year playing experience in a band or ensemble at their school, the Symphonic Band is a welcoming group for those students looking for an entrance into the band continuum here at Colburn. This program allows winds, brass, and percussion students to gain skills, develop ensemble experience, and reach their musical goals, all while surrounded by encouraging faculty and peers.

Additionally, the Community School is excited to announce the Colburn Sinfonietta as part of the advanced orchestra program. Featuring talented wind and string players, students in this close-knit group will dig deep into Classical repertoire and explore their musicality as a group.

Read more about all of the ensembles.

Music Academy

Beginning this fall, the Music Academy will offer a new curriculum track for students who live on or near campus. Each weekday morning, these students will take classes that include eurhythmics and improvisation, movement, choir, basic conducting, piano skills (for non-pianists), as well as duo coaching and continuo training (for pianists). They, along with other music students across the school, will have the opportunity to use a new state-of-the-art piano lab to develop basic keyboard skills expected in most collegiate-level music programs.

For our high-school aged Music Academy students who are beginning a pre-professional track, the development of fundamental skills such as movement, stage presence, and musical expression is crucial to their artistic development. With the addition of these new curricular offerings, Music Academy students will be able to expand and supplement their musical skills in a holistic manner, while experiencing new learning opportunities that will also help to build camaraderie among the student cohort.

After last year’s newly established partnership with Oak Crest Academy, this year’s curricular addition creates even more structure to the Music Academy’s program while allowing students to maintain their focus on instrumental performance.

Music Academy students will continue to perform with the Academy Virtuosi chamber orchestra, in chamber music settings, on the Music Academy Young Artist Performance recital series, and at special events throughout the year.

Office of Alumni and Parent Relations

Every year, Colburn serves over 2,000 enrolled students in addition to those who are reached offsite by outreach programs in the Center for Innovation and Community Impact. And each year, around 150 of those students move on to college, training programs, or the professional world. Colburn embraces its commitment to this growing community by investing in alumni engagement.

As part of this effort, the school established the position of Manager of Alumni and Parent Relations this past March with Los Angeles native Michele Yamamoto filling the role. Michele brings a valuable history of supporting donors, students, and families at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. This school year she will be concentrating on developing effective and consistent measures to engage both alumni and parents, which will include existing family-focused events throughout the year and new events.

As a means to connect, once a month, Alumni and Parent Relations will host an “Office Hours” pop-up as a gathering space for Colburn families to have the chance to get to know supporting staff, other families, and students. Coffee and snacks will be provided. Michele, as Manager of Alumni and Parent Relations will spearhead this new series as an effort to knit the Colburn family closer.

The first Office Hours will take place on Saturday, August 24 from 9 am to 12 pm on the plaza in front of Thayer Hall.

Trudl Zipper Dance Institute

The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute has added a new Youth Dance program for male students ages 10–14. In the Boys Youth Ballet program, students will participate in Ballet Levels IV and V (based on placement), and take two male-only classes per week with a focus on learning more advanced steps specialized to male ballet dancers, such as jumps, lifts, and leaps. They will also be able to combine with female students in three other classes for supplementary instruction.

The program is designed to give provide boys the specialized attention they need at that age to begin developing the different, more masculine style of ballet needed to progress to a higher level. After finishing the Boys Youth Ballet program, students will be well-prepared to audition for the Colburn Dance Academy, which prepares dancers for a professional career.

Beyond the technical skills the program will teach, Boys Youth Ballet will also present a social outlet for male dancers to get to know each other and be part of a like-minded group of students.

Scholarships will be available for male-only classes, with a possibility of full funding based on merit for the additional classes.

In the two years since the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute restructured, Youth Dance has worked to establish a sequential learning curriculum for successful development. The Boys Youth Ballet program will bring an added layer resulting in deeper preparatory training.