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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Summer 2023 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Infusing Creative Practices in the Orchestra Classroom and Private Studio


June 5-July 28, 2023

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits*


$1,080 is due in full with registration*


This course is focused on expanding students’ musicianship in ways that honors tradition, values experimentation, and embraces creative and contemporary experiences. It will explore myriad practices, approaches, activities, and projects that teachers can infuse into the orchestra classroom and private studio environments, in order to cultivate, nurture, and unlock students’ musical creativities.

Topics of exploration include the following:

  • Reframing how scales and arpeggios can be studied, experienced, and applied in a more creative manner. 
  • Infusing an assortment of improvisation-based activities, in both structured and free-form manners, that broadens the scope of the practitioner’s musicianship and creativity.
  • Expanding repertoire study experiences by way of recontextualization activities that cultivate unique and original musical ideas.  
  • Exploring circle stringing activities that promote spontaneous musical conversation among collaborative musicians, focusing on a variety of concepts (rhythmic, textural, melodic/harmonic, etc.)  
  • Surveying resources and repertoire that are creatively inclusive and expands the musical experiences students engage in.
  • Experimenting with various music technologies (free and low-cost) that facilitate creative music making experiences.
  • Discovering the vast terrain of creative musicianship from strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass) artists, both local and global, who are reframing what a versatile, well-rounded, and inclusive string musician can be.  
  • Reading about and discussing creativity, creative practice, and its value for students.  

Chat session schedule (required):

Session 1: Wednesday, June 7, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 2: Wednesday, June 14, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 3: Wednesday, June 21, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 4: Wednesday, June 28, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 5: Wednesday, July 5, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 6: Wednesday, July 12, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 7: Wednesday, July 19, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Session 8: Wednesday, July 26, 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Instructional Materials:

  • All course content materials will be provided by the instructor.
  • Eastman Strings and Quinlan & Fabish Music Company will provide Eastman Series+ instruments for registrants to use for the duration of the course. More details to follow. 
  • A laptop and mobile device (strongly encouraged) with Zoom and video recording capabilities is required.
  • Headphones
  • Small Amplifier
  • Instrument Cable
    • A limited number of instrument cables are available for rent. Cost is $10 and includes shipping. Details are forthcoming. 
  • Loop Pedal
    • A limited number of loop pedals are available for rent. Cost is $30 and includes shipping. Details are forthcoming. 
  • Audio Interface
    • A limited number of audio interfaces are available for rent. Cost is $30 and includes shipping. Details are forthcoming. 

*Students enrolled in the MMEd degree program at VanderCook may register for this course at the 500-level through the student portal. Please contact Dean Sinclair at [email protected] if academic advising is needed.


Chat Session

Wednesdays - 6PM - 7:30PM CST - See "Chat session schedule (required)" in Overview for a complete calendar.



Required Text(s)


Learning Platform Information - Online Courses Only

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


Park Leo 1

Leo Park

Leo Park is a 20+ year music educator at Northside Prep High School, a Chicago Public School. He teaches multiple levels of orchestra, and a performance-based popular music course. Leo has served on faculty as adjunct professor teaching strings methods and techniques at Northeastern Illinois University and North Park University, and secondary general music methods at VanderCook College of Music. Additionally, Leo serves as Arts Instruction Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools; District 1 Orchestra Representative for the Illinois Music Education Association; content editor for the Illinois American String Teachers Association’s publication, The Scroll; a member of the American String Teachers Association Eclectic Styles national committee; and chair of the Ingenuity ArtsEd Leadership Advisory Council. He is the recipient of the 2018 Illinois Asian Pacific American Commitment in Education Award and 2016 Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award. Leo is an Eastman Strings artist and clinician.

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2023 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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