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Modal Muscle

Mondays or Saturdays, 11:30 am -1 pm Eastern
October 16-February 28
Online via Zoom
singer with microphone

An in-depth online opportunity for singers, composers, and improvisers. Patricia brings her teaching experience to facilitate your facts, familiarity, and fluency with seven different modes while building connection with a community of learners.

16 weeks, 1.5 hour online classes, individually tailored projects and homework. Experience growth and discovery, confidence and connection.

Modes are patterns in music that can become doorways for us, opening our ears and hearts to an ever expanding musical language — a way of moving from one note to a note an octave away. Pop music uses primarily the “Ionian” (major do-re-mi scale) and “Aeolian” (natural minor la-ti-do scale) modes. Various modes have been used in many genres of music, and deepening your understanding of them can add richness to your musical palette, whether that’s by increasing your accuracy as a singer, or adding to your options as a composer or improviser. 

Traditionally, the modes have been associated with emotional states. During the two weeks we spend on each mode, we will explore our individual emotional resonance with that mode, both allowing the music to help us experience and explore our interior landscapes and bringing the strength of emotional connection to the music we make.

You’ll create the class experience that suits your needs, deciding what weight to give to written music, composition, improvisation, or recording. Weekly projects and accountability will help you learn, but built-in flexibility allows for a realistic balance. There will be interaction with classmates, but you decide whether to develop each project as a group or as a solo. Projects options will include generating the mode, guided listening, composing, learning existing songs, and improvising over patterns. Feedback on the projects will come from your “Comments Crew”, which will shift with each mode so you interact with each person in the class.

The course includes individual feedback, Q&A time, connection with fellow learners, innovative Zoom/online design and activities that make use of what we can do well with these tools. Recordings are encouraged for many projects, and there will be some tech coaching to help with that, but they are not required unless you are applying for a certificate for professional development. 

Certificate for professional development will be awarded based on completing at least two projects per mode, giving three feedbacks to your Crew members for each mode, and attending at least 12 of 16 class Zoom sessions. 

A live online Q&A will be offered on Saturday, September 18 with Patricia. Click the link below for details and to submit your questions.

Class Dates

Either Saturdays OR Mondays (not both): 11:30 am-1 pm ET
October 16, 2021 – February 28, 2022
Vacation weeks:
Nov 27-29 (1 week)
Dec 25 – Jan 3 (2 weeks)
Jan 29-31 (1 week)

Ages : 16 & up; younger students by instructor permission
Length: 16 weeks, 90 minute classes
Min/Max Enrollment: 10/24
Cost: $480
Faculty: Patricia Norton