Music Curriculum

Program Levels

The music program is divided into basic, intermediate and advanced levels, each of which is one to two years in length.

The main focus of the music Basic Level is to help students acquire the basic concepts of ear training, music theory, and instrumentation. This training will help students lay a solid foundation for further studies in music. The Intermediate Level is a critical step in helping students become musicians of a professional caliber. Music instruction at this level further strengthens the skills and techniques learned in the Basic Level.

The Advanced Level of instruction seeks to improve the students’ sensibility and general knowledge in music. At the same time, this level of instruction further refines students’ advanced music skills and techniques through performing in orchestral and sectional settings, as well as through individual lessons.

Music Appreciation

Students increase their appreciation for music by learning basic elements such as sound, rhythm, music notation, melody, harmony, key, musical texture, musical form, and musical style. Music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic periods are highlighted in discussions, and composers representative of each of those periods (J. S. Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Bee-thoven, Chopin, Schubert, etc.) are introduced. By the end of the course students will have devel-oped the vocabulary to discuss musical elements, styles, and periods.

Music Theory

This course introduces the basic language of music. This includes pitch notation, rhythm nota-tion, note names, keyboard communication, chromatic scales, key signatures, and scales. Students will learn to recognize and draw clefs; notes; rests; and sharp, flat, and natural signs, and also develop other written music skills.

Ear Training

The course focuses on developing students’ skills in sightsinging, singing, recognition of intervals and chamber music, basic dictation, rhythmic dictation, and score-reading. Students will work on singing exercises in major and minor keys and in different rhythms.


Qualified students in the music program are eligible to practice with professional orchestras. The-se orchestras are large-scale ensembles with string, woodwind, brass, percussion, and traditional Chinese instruments. Orchestra members consist of Fei Tian Academy of the Arts faculty and non-Fei Tian professional musicians.

Students are exposed to an extensive repertoire of outstanding works in the traditional Chinese style and have the opportunity to participate in professional performances. These valuable experi-ences further the students’ development of their musical potential and aesthetic understanding. Study includes the care and cultivation of a beautiful tone, the ability to read music, the building of technical skills and teamwork, and the development of responsible rehearsal habits. Students strengthen their listening skills and their ability to analyze and evaluate music performances. They also have a chance to experience firsthand the creative process of composition.

Sectionals are scheduled regularly. Students are coached by the conductor, the section leader, or a guest artist.

Appreciation of Chinese Music

This course offers an introduction to the characteristics, styles, and genres of Chinese music and also develops the students’ artistic sense and appreciation for Chinese music. The course also in-cludes a study of traditional Chinese instrumental music, folk songs, narrative music, and local operas through the use of selected videos and audio samples. Students gain an understanding of the richness and diversity of Chinese music and see how traditional Chinese music has always been strongly related to the intellectual history and culture of the Middle Kingdom.

Instrument Class

Fei Tian Academy students will receive private instrument lessons in their primary instrument from staff and faculty at the Academy. Lessons are available in strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

Vocal Coaching

The vocal performance coaching is designed to prepare young singers for the rigors of conservato-ry training. The coursework introduces students to the various concepts, techniques, and exercis-es that give singers strong command over their vocal resources. Basic breathing techniques are taught and practiced to strengthen the diaphragm and enhance a singer’s note-holding capability and vocal strength. Students work through various vocal exercises to improve pitch and sound quality. They also learn how they should present themselves and their songs before a live audi-ence. The goal is for students to build confidence in their own unique voice and strengthen their singing.