The ECA Music Department offers high school musicians immersion in a vibrant music community, comprised of 70 students from over 20 school districts in the Greater New Haven area, and 14 faculty members, who are also active performers, composers, conductors, arrangers, and sound technicians.  Nestled in the heart of the New Haven arts district, the ECA program is enriched through collaborations, performances, and programs with local arts organizations (NHSO, NH Ballet, Yale University, NMS, Jazz Haven, and more) as well as artists of other disciplines, both at ECA and in the greater community.

In an effort to develop the whole musician, the ECA music program offers a comprehensive music curriculum, with courses focused on five primary areas of musicianship: individual technical skills, solo & ensemble performance practice, aural skills, music theory & analysis, and composition. These are enlarged and infused by department wide initiatives and programs that aim to help students make connections between isolated courses, and draw meaning and relevance from their studies.

In all courses, emphasis is placed on the development of effective, efficient, individual practice strategies as a means to continued, self-directed study. Equal emphasis is placed on the development of skills that allow for collegial, dynamic collaboration. Students learn to critique, support, listen to, and create with their peers and mentors, in an environment that mirrors professional settings.

Technique Classes:

  • Woodwind, Brass, Low Strings, Upper Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Saxophone, & Voice

Performance-based Courses:

  • Large Ensembles: Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, ECA Voices, Wind Ensemble (spring semester)
  • 2018-2019 Small Ensembles: Salon Orchestra, Woodwind Ensemble, Chamber String Ensemble, Jazz Collective, Chamber Jazz Ensemble, New Music Ensemble, Chamber Music, & Studio Singers

Music Literacy: Aural Skills through Musicianship Courses

  • Musicianship courses allow students to develop aural and reading skills through daily melodic and rhythmic sight-reading, aural identification, dictation, and listening lessons. Students will be placed in one of six courses, constructed to meet varying levels of skill & experience.

Music Literacy: Music Theory & Analysis

  • Theory & Musicianship I, Theory & Musicianship II (Developing Fluency,) Fundamentals of Tonality, Harmony & Analysis, Advanced Placement Music Theory, Music Process & Design (fall semester,) Jazz & Contemporary Theory (spring semester)

Composition & Applied Music:

  • Rhythm Class, Composition, Jazz Composition, Audio Production, Acting for Singers

Annual New Music Festival

The ECA Music Department curriculum places a heavy emphasis on the development of student voice and musical skill through composition. All music students can enroll in one of four full-year composition courses, including Techniques in Composition, Jazz Composition & Arranging, & Audio Production (iMac computer lab w/Logic Pro, Finale, Garage Band, & Audacity.) In these courses, students explore musical and conceptual structures, and learn how to manipulate parameters to create engaging musical ideas. Students create, notate, revise, workshop, rehearse, and ultimately share their original works in performance. Many students compose for ECA student ensembles, as well as visiting professional ensembles. The process of writing, producing, rehearsing, and performing original compositions allows students to solidify understanding of musical concepts, generate questions that fuel continued learning, and develop a deeper understanding of the creative process. Student works are premiered at department recitals throughout the year, as well as in our New Music Festival each spring.  Founded in 2007, the ECA Music Department Annual New Music Festival celebrates these student works, as well as the works of contemporary professional composers. Throughout the festival, ECA music students attend workshops and lectures by visiting composers and guest artists, and participate in the study and performance of new works, some of which are commissioned specifically for ECA ensembles. The festival culminates in the New Music New Sounds concert.

Sample of Visiting Artists:

  • Jen Shyu, experimental vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and Fulbright scholar. Recipient of the 2016 Doris Duke Award; NEA Creative Artists Program Fellowship; ‘Song of Silver Geese’ names in NY Times’ Best Albums of 2017; 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist
  • Surrenity XYZ, (ECA Alumni) performance artist, vocalist, writer, and entrepreneur who has performed with Stevie Wonder, Esperanza Spalding, Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Calum Scott, Leona Lewis, Logic, & Coldplay.
  • Nick Lloyd, musician, audio engineer, and music producer; owner, curator, and chief engineer at Firehouse 12, a New Haven venue presenting creative and improvised music.
  • Wayne Escoffery, (ECA Alumni) tenor saxophonist; performer with The Mingus Big Band & Tom Harrell Quintet; Downbeat Critics Poll & Grammy Award Winner
  • Ignacio Berroa, a “Jazz Drumming Legend,” born in Havana Cuba in 1953, performed with Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, Tito Puente, & the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
  • Ben Wexler, composer, orchestrator, music director; Associate conductor for Fun Home at the Public Theater in 2013
  • Haven String Quartet, premiere string quartet based in New Haven, CT; the quartet-in-residence and teaching faculty for Music Haven, which has been recognized as a top 50 after school arts program in the U.S.
  • Delphi Orchestra, aims to provide new relevance for classical music in the 21st century
  • Adam Crowe, professional tuba player, Principal tubist for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Coast Guard Band
  • Chris Brubeck, Grammy-nominated composer, trombonist, founder & performer in the Brubeck Brothers Quartet
  • Icarus Duo: Matt Keown and Jeff Stern, a subset of iQ, the Icarus Quartet, a chamber ensemble that is dedicated to the discovery, creation, and performance of new music.
  • Passepartout Duo: Nicoletta Favari & Christopher Salvito, seek to revitalize form and practice of contemporary music through immersive events, compelling music videos, and interdisciplinary projects that emphasize blurring cultural and aesthetic borders.
  • Seth Kim-Cohen, sound artist; Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Sam Suggs, double-bassist, Assistant Professor of Bass at James Madison University, performer at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, & the Kennedy Center
  • Blessing Offor, (ECA Alumni) singer-songwriter, Season 7 of ‘The Voice’ (NBC)

Student Highlights:

  • Anton Kot: Invited to perform at the National Association for Music Education National Honor Jazz Ensemble in Orlando, November 2018
  • ECA Music Department students accepted into the 2017-2019 cohort of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra Young Composers Project: David Caldarella (ECA ’20,) Anton Kot (ECA ’20,) Anastasia Miller (ECA ’19,) Pamela Zhang (ECA ’19): NHSO Young Composers Project
  • ECA Underground, a website created by music students: “What happens when you give a bunch of teenagers who love music an online platform. Created for musicians, by musicians, as a central hub for youth opinions on music.”

To apply for Admission to the Music Department, please visit the Application Process Page and view below to find the requirements for your Music Review.



Participating in the ALL-STATE Festival

David Rodriquez – trombone

Olivia Fonteyn – Alto

Julie Hess – Soprano

Kenijah Georges – Jazz Alto Sax

Miles Singer – Jazz Tenor Sax


Congratulations ECA Jazz Ensembles on fantastic performances at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival!

Special Congratulations to:

Anton Kot
2 Judge’s Choice Awards, Outstanding Musicianship Overall (Large Jazz Ensemble), Superior Musicianship Overall (Small Jazz Ensemble)

Kenijah Georges
Outstanding Musicianship Overall (Small Jazz Ensemble, Class S4) & Superior Musicianship Overall (Large Jazz Ensemble, Class L6)

Olivia Fonteyn
Judge’s Choice Award, Vocal Jazz (Class V2)

ECA Jazz Collective
1st Place Winner, Small Ensembles, S4

ECA Large Jazz Ensemble
3rd Place, Large Jazz Ensembles, L6

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