Instrumental Music and Vocal Arts

  • A student playing a guitar

    Video: About the BIMA Music Program

  • BIMA's Instrumental Music and Vocal Arts program offers training in both vocal and instrumental music. Offering a completely integrated musical environment stressing musicianship and creativity, the music major consists of intensive ensemble work, music theory, private lessons, improvisation workshops and small groups creative projects. Taught by professional faculty, the program offers a completely integrated musical environment stressing musicianship. Each week, BIMA musicians participate in individual and group warm-ups, theory classes by level, ensemble practice, individual practice, and faculty coaching.

    We offer ensembles in four genres: vocal, Chamber, Jazz, and Pop/Rock.

    In addition to the major ensembles, participants from all ensembles will also have opportunities throughout the summer to work together in small, mixed groups of instrumental and vocal students, where you will focus on arranging and composition. Performance opportunities are spread throughout the summer, with a culminating performance at the BIMA Arts Festival. Throughout the BIMA summer experience, you will also have opportunities to participate in workshops with guest musicians and attend world-class musical performances throughout Boston.

    Our ensembles cover a wide repertoire of vocal, advanced jazz, chamber, and pop-rock music. In summers 2017 and 2018, BIMA instrumentalists and vocal artists joined together to rehearse in 4-part harmony and performed the Israeli folk song “Nigun Atik” and an arrangement of “Mi Kamocha” by a BIMA alum. Jazz musicians collaborated with vocalists to perform a complex, haunting Yiddish lullaby composed in the Lodz Ghetto and rehearsed with faculty and special guests, tackling Louis Armstrong’s “Jonah and the Whale.” Jazz and pop-rock musicians experimented with a piece by the Israeli global music icon Idan Raichel, while the chamber ensemble worked intensively on mastering a contemporary medley of motifs from Shabbat liturgy.

    In addition to 3-5 hours of daily rehearsal, individual practice time, and small ensemble work, instrumentalists and vocalists work together to hone the craft of composing, arranging, and improvising on an original piece of music, inspired by Jewish practice and their own experiences. The participants also enjoyed a number of guest performances and workshops including improvisation workshops with BIMA founding faculty Rabbi Greg Wall, niggun and Jewish music expert Joey Weisenberg, period performance violinist Edson Scheid from Aston Magna, faculty Jessie Reagen Mann and her Indian/Jewish music trio Om Shalom and a composition intensive with Abena Koomson Davis of the Resistance Revival Chorus. In addition to our final performances at the BIMA Arts Festival, vocal and instrumental majors brought joyful music to the local Leland Home for the Elderly.

    Learn about the BIMA Music Faculty.