Summer Programs 2023

Summer Camp 2023

Improvisation, Jazz, Theory, & Chamber Music

Week 1: July 10-14, 2023
Week 2: July 31-Aug. 4, 2023

Join us for two fun weeks of summer camp (students can participate in one week or both). Students who participate in summer camp make friends with other children musicians. They motivate each other to practice with more accountability to learn to perfect their pieces and to show off how good they are to their peers!

Campers practice an hour and a half a day – with NBS faculty offering coaching during practice sessions – and have a daily lesson with the goal of learning and perfecting a piece in one week! This piece would then be presented in a concert on the last day of camp.

The Nelly Berman School Music Camp is one of the best kept secrets in Philadelphia!

  • Price – $450 per week
  • Students will be separated into two age groups: (7-10 & 11-18)
  • After camp lessons are available and encouraged to prepare for the Friday concerts. (Not included in camp tuition). The summer camps have an extraordinary teacher-student ratio!


8:45-9:00 Check-in
9:00-10:00- Classical Improvisation/Theory Dr. Alexander – younger (7-10)
9:00-10:00-Jazz Improv/Theory Dr, Jean Francois Proulx – older (11-18)
10:15-11:15 – Switch groups
11:15-12:00 -Ice cream and outdoor games (capture the flag!)/OR Practice for 45 minutes
12:00-12:45 Lunch and movies
1:00-2:00- Chamber Groups/Practicing, Coaching, & Lessons
2:15-3:15-Switch groups
3:15-3:30 – get ready to leave
3:45- after-camp lessons with our distinguished faculty to prepare for Friday concert or try another instrument (individual lessons are not included in the price of the camp)

Friday, Regular classes up to 2:00
Concert for family and friends from 2:15-3:45 PM

Composing Through Improvisation with Dr. Ariane Alexander

Day 1: Melody & Primary Chords  

Pianists: Learning primary chords (I IV V) in easy keys (C, F, G).
     – Localizing the chords in inversions.
Instrumentalists: Outlining the primary chords melodically. |
Everyone: Creating melody that emphasizes chord tones by resting on strong beats.      – Combining Chords with melody. (Partners)
    – Rhythmic and melodic motives
    – Write a short melody ( 4 bars for younger group, 8 bars for the older group)    

Day 2: Modulating from Major to relative minor.  

Pianists: Learning primary chords (i, iv, V) in relative keys (a,d, e).
    – Localizing the chords in inversions.
Instrumentalists: Outlining the chords melodically.
Everyone: Harmonic minor: Altering the V chord in minor key (Leading Tone).
    – Pivot chords and Tones. How to modulate.
    – Creating melody that moves from major to its relative minor key.     Combining Chords with melody. (Partners)
    – Add measures to melody from Day 1 modulating to relative minor.      (4 or 8 measures) 

Day 3: Modulating from Tonic to Dominant Key: C to G, F to C. V of V. 

Pianists: Chord progression from Tonic to Dominant with use of V/V to establish new major key.
Instrumentalists: Outlining the same progression with melody.
Everyone: Create melody moving from Tonic to the Dominant key adding f#’s or C      naturals as needed.
    – Combine melodies with chord progression. (Partners)
    – Add measures to melody from Day 1 modulating to Dominant Key. 

Day 4: Returning to Tonic and creating Obligato line.  

Pianists: Chord progression with pivot to Dominant of Tonic.
Instrumentalists: Outlining the same progression with melody.
Everyone: Create measures that modulate back to tonic.
    – Add Obligato line to chords and melody. (In groups of 3)
    – Write Obligato below melody. 

Day 5: Bringing it all together. 

Students will work in partners or trios to put the week’s compositions together in practice rooms. Play compositions for each other in the recital  room. Awards.

Jazz Preparation and Improvisation with Dr. Jean-Francois Proulx

Preparation for Jazz (Younger Group 7-10)
  1. Difference between 3 types of triads (major, minor, diminished)
    Root, third, and fifth; major third vs minor third
  2. How to transpose a melody in the keys of C, D, F, G and A major
  3. How to use the chords, I , IV, and V in the same five keys (above)
  4. How to use other chords and when – more complex sounds!
    Plus – compose a 4-bar long melody!
  5. Harmonize your 4-bar melody. Final quiz and prizes!

Each day, after the first 40 minutes, there will be a short game using the material we just learned, and small prizes!

Jazz Improvisation (Older Group 11-18)
  1. Sevenths chords
  2. Ninth chords
  3. Transforming a classical arrangement into a jazz arrangement
  4. Choosing a jazz standard and arranging it
  5. Polishing the arrangement and presenting it

Videos from Past Summer Camps


Dr. Ariane Alexander Teaching Music History in Last Year’s Summer Camp 2022
Dr. Jean-Francois Teaching Composition Through Sibelius Software in Last Year’s Summer Camp 2022
Student Rehearsals Playlist
Friday End of Week Quiz Playlist
Master Classes Playlist

Summer Lessons

Summer lessons work a little differently than during the school year. Lessons are scheduled on a weekly basis around your vacations. If your teachers are unavailable, we will provide a substitute, which is also a wonderful opportunity for your child to get feedback from a new perspective, learn new repertoire, work on scales, technique, and theory. A $200 deposit is due by July 6th, and then an invoice for any remaining balance will be sent to you later in July.

“Take 5” – Five lessons to explore a new style or approach to music, including:

  • Try a new instrument of your choice this summer!
  • Broadway Tunes” – voice lessons focused on music theater, taught by Dr. Nathaniel McEwen and Marina Voznaya
  • Intro to Jazz” – jazz scales & chords on the piano, with Ethan Lee
  • “Music Theory & Music History” – group Zoom lessons taught by Dr. Ariane Alxander
  • Technique intensives for violin, cello & clarinet
  • Intensive supervised study with multiple in-person lessons a week
  • 10-Week Music History and Theory Course with Dr. Ariane Alexander