Our Ensembles and Cohorts

S.N.A.P! After School Ensembles (August – May)

Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section

The Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section is SMA’s flagship ensemble and performs many different styles of music including the Stax Records catalogue, rhythm & blues, funk, and contemporary jazz.  Students refine their accuracy of rhythm, phrasing, articulation, and music theory. Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section vocalists learn assigned vocal repertoire verbatim, perform vocal choreography, and portray proper practice and performance etiquette.

Stax Music Academy Junior Rhythm Section

Stax Junior Academy provides a solid foundation in the soul and pop idioms for 6th-9th grade students. This ensemble performs many different styles of music including the Stax Records catalogue, rhythm & blues, funk, and soul. Students build music theory and ear training skills and begin to develop accuracy of rhythm, phrasing, and articulation. Students develop essential ensemble skills and a sense of discipline within their craft. Junior Academy vocalists develop healthy vocal technique and gain an understanding of intonation, harmony, and sight-singing.

Stax Jazz Ensemble

The Stax Jazz Ensemble is a large instrumental ensemble focusing on early jazz, swing, bebop, fusion, Contemporary, and Latin styles. Students develop understanding of jazz improvisation, rhythm, harmony, and form. They furthermore develop the highest accuracy of rhythm, phrasing, and articulation.

Street Corner Harmonies

Street Corner Harmonies is an exploratory vocal ensemble that covers a variety of genres from classical anthems, to Negro Spirituals, to 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s soul, funk, groove, and hip hop. Students engage in creative movement, spoken word, and improvisation.  The aspiring singer is transformed into the “well rounded musician” by learning the tenets of healthy singing, vocal pedagogy, music theory, and ear training. Supplemental classes include African American music history and repertoire, drama, and choreography.

Premier Percussion

The Premier Percussion Ensemble focuses on various styles of percussion music. Students learn marching and concert percussion concepts and techniques. Scales on mallets, drum rudiments, and reading percussion music are three of many goals in this ensemble. Premier Percussion exposes the students to different instruments in the percussion family, but also to learn how to work together as a team during performances and prepare the students for college auditions.

Audio Engineering and Production

The Audio Engineering and Music Production ensemble includes beginner and college prep courses where students learn the  functions and operations of home studio, commercial studio, and live performance production. Students gain musical sensitivity to how instruments work, develop music theory and ear training skills, and gain knowledge of different genres and how each one relates to sound recording and production. Production students get real work experience in numerous roles in the production sector from film and television to special event.

Songwriting & Music Business

The Songwriting and Music Business cohort is an invitation-only group of students who spend the year writing original material. Along the way students learn to create, protect, distribute and promote music.