Idyllwild Arts: Musical Chair

Published : Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | 1:19 PM

I came to Idyllwild Arts Academy in 2015 to find a Music Department full of outstanding teachers and students. But the department had grown unwieldy, and there was need for a little reshaping so that all the talent and ambition would be best served.

Our concentrations still include Orchestra, Piano, Jazz Instrumental, and Songwriting. But we’ve combined classical voice and jazz voice into a single Voice concentration. Weekly, each Voice student has a private lesson in classical voice and another in jazz voice.

At this age your voice hasn’t developed enough for you to know your best genre. High-school-age singers are discovering their voices, and studying both classical and jazz increases their options.

Concern for the development of young musicians has also motivated another change in the department: our classical side now emphasizes chamber groups.

Scott Hosfeld is in his second year as our Orchestra Director. He explains that students come here “having done mainly solo work, but having them take part in orchestra as their primary ensemble may not be the best way to get them to take full responsibility for their personal development.”

Since 2005, Scott has organized and conducted a highly successful series of concerts for Malibu Friends of Music ( We’re lucky that Heather Netz, our Orchestra Manager and former Interim Department Chair, had studied violin under Scott in her teens. She was able to recommend him as someone who could relate beautifully to this age group.

As for other changes, Songwriting includes more group classes now, so we see more collaboration between students who come here thinking ‘I only write alt-rock’ or ‘I only write pop’—or whatever. Students might think they know themselves and understand what they’re capable of, but it’s our job to show them more. That’s what teachers do!

And Songwriting now has two classes taught by guitarist Don Reed. Both Pop Music History and Analysis, which teaches critical listening, and Music Business and Marketing (team-taught with me) are required for Songwriters, but are open to all Music majors.

Finally, we’re doing more recording in our state-of-the-art William M. Lowman Concert Hall, whose acoustics were designed by the same people responsible for the sound in the Sydney Opera House.

This equipment and this great concert hall are what our talent deserves.


Idyllwild Arts, 52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038, (951) 659-2171 or visit





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