About the McNeese Summer High School Instrumental Music Academy

The High School Band Academy Handbook

The instrumental musicianship academy offers a comprehensive musical experience focused on developing the student musician, as well as playing techniques.  Students will have the opportunity to:

* Perform in a concert band with an outstanding conductor

* Participate in daily "master class" group lessons with expert instruction

* Choose from exciting elective classes (see below)

* Perform with small chamber groups or a jazz ensemble

* Participate in evening activities, such as sports night, movie/game night and pool night 

Students must bring their own instruments.  McNeese is not able to provide any instruments.

Percussionists Attending the Academy

Attending percussionists will find our Instrumental Music Academy to include everything percussion!  Each day, percussion students will spend time in the following areas of percussion:

  • Marching percussion: technique for playing marching snare or tenors (quads)

  • Modern percussion ensemble (technique and work on several percussion ensemble pieces)

  • Steel drums (if selected as an elective)

  • Jazz drum set (if selected as an elective)

  • Comprehensive percussion techniques on many different percussion instruments

  • World percussion, specifically African drumming

  • Playing as part of our academy concert band and/or jazz band

Jazz Ensemble Participation

Students wishing to participate in the jazz ensemble (held during the morning chamber group session) must indicate this choice on the registration form. Participation is limited, and open to trumpet, trombone, saxophone, drumset, bass, and piano. Once all sections are full, students will participate in one of the other chamber ensembles. Jazz rhythm section students (2-4 on each instrument) will take one rhythm section elective during the elective class sessions.

Elective Session Choices

Students will choose from electives in two daily elective sessions. Week-long elective choices include:

  • Music Theory

  • History of Rock & Roll

  • Beginning Piano (limited prior experience)

  • Conducting

  • Preparing to be / Living Life as a Music Major

  • Steel Drum Ensemble

  • Comprehensive Percussion (for percussionists only)

  • Jazz Improvisation

  • Marching Band Leadership

  • Jazz Rhythm Section (piano, bass, drum set)

  • Elective class assignments are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Every effort will be made to fill a camper’s requests, however, some popular electives fill up quickly

Elective Class Descriptions

Music Theory 

This course is an introduction to music theory. Various topics of written theory will be covered, along with some aural theory basics (chords, rhythms, intervals). This is an excellent elective for students considering majoring in music for college

History of Rock & Roll

This is actually a college course at McNeese and many universities (in a condensed format without the exams!) Lecture, listening and videos of the history of rock and roll music

Beginning Piano

This course is an introduction to piano for those with limited or no piano experience.  This is also an excellent elective for potential music majors, with limited piano skills

Comprehensive Percussion

This course is exclusively for percussionists attending our summer academy.  Our percussion staff will present sessions on all things percussion: marching percussion technique, concert percussion technique on the playing of many different percussion instruments (timpani, tambourine, cymbals, keyboards, etc.) and other specialty percussion areas.


Students learn the basic conducting techniques and applications

Preparing to be/Living Life as a Music Major

Are you thinking of possibly majoring in music performance or music education for college?  One of our McNeese music professors will take you through ways to best prepare yourself before heading to college.  We will also look inside the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly life as a music major in college, including required classes and the options you will have.  Careers in music will also be a primary topic.

Steel Drum Ensemble

This is a great opportunity to learn about and play steel drums!  These "steel pans" from Latin American origins are some of the most interesting instruments to study.  This elective is for everyone, not just percussionists!!

Jazz Improvisation

This class is an introduction to the art of jazz improvisation and provides students with hands-on experience.  This elective is required for all Jazz Ensemble participants

Marching Band Leadership

This class focuses on the development of skills required for marching band leadership positions (section leaders/band officers). Topics include score reading, leading sectional rehearsals, and fundamental leadership technique

The Jazz Rhythm Section

This elective is open to pianists, percussionists and bassists, who are interested in developing skills for the rhythm section of a jazz band.  

Pre-Academy Information Letter