We offer courses in three categories:
- A purely musical component (Music Theory and Musicianship, Choir Conducting Techniques, Voice Class)
- Courses focusing on the history of Russian Orthodox liturgical music (History of Russian Church Music)
- Practical classes meant to equip singers with the tools necessary to properly carry out liturgical services in the Russian Orthodox tradition (Church Slavonic, Liturgics for Choir Directors, and Liturgical Performance Practice).
The courses are designed in close collaboration between faculty members, and are interrelated so that information learned in each class is directly relevant to knowledge acquired in the others. Attentive students are therefore guaranteed a comprehensive understanding of the living Russian Orthodox Liturgical Music tradition, and the skills needed to conduct, sing and read beautifully in their own church choir lofts.
The full course of study consists of three summer sessions, at the end of which graduates are certified as Church Choir Directors and/or Readers.
Many of our students do not seek certification, but rather attend SSLM in order to enrich their knowledge of Russian Orthodox Music during one or more summers. In these cases, the course load — full or partial — may be agreed upon in consultation with the school administration on a yearly basis. Participation in the school choir is mandatory for all students.
Instruction is given in English and in Russian, depending on the linguistic makeup of the student body each year. While knowledge of Russian is helpful, it is not essential for study. Simultaneous translation is provided when necessary.
Academic credit from the State University of New York is issued after successful completion of the third summer.