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American Legends

What is American Legends?

The American Legends program is a comprehensive, 11 month long curriculum intended to lead a beginning musician through the foundations of musicianship on which to build their instrumental or vocal education. This program was developed by CYM founders and faculty to create an excellent musical foundation and a healthy curiosity for varied musical styles and genres, as well as a developed sense of musical skill through literacy.

Your commitment:
This program meets weekly for eleven months of the year with breaks at holidays, and comprises:

  • A weekly 50-minute group class experience uses American and World folk music to explore harmony and melody and introduce musical foundations and concepts.
  • A weekly 30, 45, or 60 minute private lesson on the student’s chosen instrument— piano, violin, viola, cello, guitar or voice.

Note: For students interested in following CYM’s path for voice study, learn more here.

Who teaches my child's group class and private lesson?

CYM’s highly trained faculty teaches the American Legends group classes as well as the student’s private lesson. You may read more about our faculty here.

Why group class? Why take a Private Lesson?

A group and private lesson work in tandem so that music literacy and comprehension are given due diligence in the fun, motivating atmosphere of a peer group; giving the student freedom to move at their own pace in learning the technique of their chosen instrument in a focused one-on-one teaching session. This provides a varied and well-rounded approach to learning that can be tailored to each student’s unique needs.

Group Class: The purpose of the American Legends group class is to teach basic tonal and rhythmic production, critical thinking and listening skills. Students develop music literacy skills by reading and writing music organized in sequential lesson plans.

Private Lesson: Students may also choose to study an instrument in a private lesson. The purpose of a private lesson is to discover a students’ unique “voice” through instrumental expression. Combining the technical skills needed to play an instrument or sing while developing a student’s musicality through performance is a challenging and exciting journey. Focused time spent with CYM instructors is necessary to achieving this goal.

A lesson is optional for students in the American Legends Program, yet is a beneficial component of their musical growth and development, and a natural next step in musicianship. Together with their teacher, parents and students have the flexibility to choose from a range of curriculum and literature to suit their learning style and educational goals.

My child wants to study the voice through American Legends

Students interested in studying the vocal path will follow the same curriculum as American Legends students, with slight modification to their path to developing their voice.

How is the vocal path different from an instrumental path through American Legends? We feel it is appropriate to begin developing a strong vocal foundation before a student begins private study. This allows the voice time to grow and develop using healthy habits to prepare their instrument for technique study. During this time, students will also hone their music literacy skills and explore a variety of vocal musical styles that will influence their future technique.

In place of a private lesson, vocal students ages 5-9 will build their technique in Applied Voice Group Class:

Little Voices (Levels 1-4)...

is a weekly 30-minute group class that uses a variety of music to build a strong vocal foundation, explore harmony and melody, and introduce musical foundations and concepts through singing. Beginning with ages 5+, Applied Voice Group Class explores and strengthens vocal ensemble skills and builds vocal independence in preparation for solo study. Students will explore the basics of harmony and music theory through songs, games, and performances with varied musical literature.

Level 1- ( age 5+) Classes include study on the basics of vocal production and ensemble singing. The class uses rounds, call & response songs, and unison singing to reinforce ear training, and literacy.

Level 2- (age 6+) Classes continue to reinforce the vocal foundation of posture, breath, resonant tone production, and intonation. The class uses rounds, ostinatos, and call & response songs to support the vocal instrument and teach musicianship and harmony.

Level 3 - ( age 7+) Classes continue to reinforce the vocal foundation of posture, breath, resonant tone production, diction, and intonation. The class uses multiple styles of vocal music to hear and independently sing several harmonies, which reinforces ear training and literacy.

Level 4 - (age 8+) Classes continue to reinforce the vocal foundation of posture, breath, resonant tone production, diction, and intonation. The class uses multiple styles of vocal music to hear and produce several harmonies. Students will become vocal leaders in preparation for solo study.

Little Voices – American Legends Class...

is a 30 minute Little Voices class for ages 5-9 plus a 50 minute weekly American Legends group class.

Optional, but highly recommended:

  • CYM Youth Voices Seasonal Choir Series for all ages
  • Select Vocal Ensemble– invitation only

Good starting point for your child if:

  • Your child is age 5+ with no prior musical experience
  • Your child is showing an excited interest in music and singing
  • Your child wants to express themselves musically, but may be unsure of how to properly use their voice, or may not be old enough for a private lesson just yet.
  • You want to engage your child in a structured music program that readies them for further musical study at their pace.
  • Your child prefers opportunities to experiment with varied musical styles and enjoys singing in a group.

When to Begin Private Instruction?

Everyone can sing and anyone can experience the freedom that comes with independently studying the vocal instrument. However, the voice is both continuously growing and developing as the student matures and can be fragile. Therefore, at CYM we recommend beginning private voice instruction at the age of 10+ for 30 minutes a week. All students who are interested in singing and are younger than the age of 10 will benefit from studying the voice in the Little Voices Group Class where they will explore the foundations of technique and musical literacy through varied musical styles.

New students who join this program between the ages of 9-11 may need additional support in selecting the appropriate placement. The Admissions team will work closely with the student and teachers to find the optimal path to begin and continue developing their voice in a healthy and enjoyable manner.

For the Advanced Vocalist...

Students who are at least 14+ years of age and have studied voice previously in a group setting or for 30-minute private lessons are encouraged to take a 45-60 minute weekly private lesson. Lengthening the lesson strengthens the coordination needed to produce a more mature tone while also increasing the skill level of the musician. Students who are ready for this path will be expected to perform in a studio or group chamber class, as well as singing in a variety of styles and languages

Optional, but highly encouraged: 30, 45, or 60 minute private voice lesson for ages 10+

  • CYM Youth Voices Seasonal Choir Series for all ages
  • Select Vocal Ensemble – invitation only

Good starting point for your child if:

  • Your child is age 10+ with any prior musical experience, or just getting started.
  • Your child is showing an excited interest in music and singing, or has had experience singing as a soloist.
  • Your child is ready to develop proper vocal technique for healthy, long-term development.

How do we register for the American Legends program?

  • Current class availability by CYM school location is found on page 2 of the enrollment form.
  • Online Trial Registration is located here.
  • After submitting a completed online registration, a member of our Admissions team will contact you to confirm your child’s schedule and supply welcome materials and an enrollment E-form.

How do we register for the American Legends Voice program?

  • Current class availability by CYM school location is found on page 2 of the enrollment form.
  • Online Trial Registration is located here.
  • After submitting a completed online registration, a member of our Admissions team will contact you to confirm your child’s schedule and supply welcome materials and an enrollment E-form.

How do we register for the American Legends Advanced Voice program?

  • Current class availability by CYM school location is found on page 2 of the enrollment form.
  • Online Trial Registration is located here.
  • After submitting a completed online registration, a member of our Admissions team will contact you to confirm your child’s schedule and supply welcome materials and an enrollment E-form.