Home Contact Us Site Map
Maimonides Upper School Music Department
SDJA music instructor Tommy Collins has been a professional musician and taught music for over 10 years.
SDJA’s music courses offer students the opportunity to learn a wide variety of instruments.

Now in its tenth year, the music department has grown and expanded to include a variety of options for students wishing to improve their skills on an instrument, play in music groups or expand their knowledge of music theory.

Instrumental music in 2nd-5th grade includes recorder, guitar, and wind ensembles. In middle school and high school students can sing in a choir, play in a rock band, learn to play guitar, or be part of a wind ensemble. Our small group instruction focuses not only on building technical skills, such as reading music, but also improvisation and creativity.

The upper school's state-of-the-art music room is the best environment for studying and practicing music. With its six practice rooms, ample space for ensembles and large stage, it is a place for music students to do what they love.

Tommy Collins, SDJA's upper school music teacher and part time lower school teacher, holds a bachelor's degree in music and California teaching credential from San Diego State University. He has been playing in jazz, rock, blues and pop bands in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas for over 18 years. Tommy has recorded with many artists, including “Spaceman Spiff” who were nominated two years for best pop jazz band in the San Diego Music Awards. Tommy has played guitar for 25 years and plays bass, trumpet, clarinet and piano on a limited basis. He has been on the faculty of the Summer Jazz Workshop in San Diego for the past three years.


Student's Music
Band: Wladyslaw and the Nosemobilists
Student Performers: Daniel Penner and Benjamin Graubart
Song: You're as Beautiful as You

Band: Wladyslaw and the Nosemobilists
Student Performers: Daniel Penner and Benjamin Graubart
Song: The Man with Six Ears

Current Upper School Class Offerings

Intro To Guitar
Intro to guitar is a class designed for students who want to learn to play the guitar but have little or no prior experience. This course is a “hands on” experience where students play the guitar in a group setting. There is one required performance at the end of the year. Students will learn the basics of how to play an acoustic guitar from a non-stylistic point of view. Areas of focus include learning standard musical notation, tablature, chords, strumming patterns, and basic popular melodies. Students must supply an acoustic guitar (with some exceptions) and will be required to purchase the book.

Intermediate Music
This course is a one or two year performing ensemble for instrumental music students who have at least one year of experience playing an instrument and reading music. The instrument of focus for this years class will be guitar. Students also read music notation relevant to the applied literature, listen to/analyze/describe music, learn the historical and cultural attributes of music relevant to the course, and critically examine selections of music from various genera. Students taking this class are expected to supply their own instrument (with some exceptions) and have a regular practice routine.

Advanced Music
Advanced music is a one to three year performing ensemble for serious instrumental music students reserved for students with at least 3 years of experience and music notation reading ability.

Students improve their ensemble skills on a wind instrument, guitar, bass, stringed, or percussion instrument through the study of musical literature and performance in at least two public concerts. Small group ensembles formed from the larger group perform regularly at local community events. Students must be prepared to participate in regular performances. Students also read music notation relevant to the applied literature, listen to/analyze/describe music, learn the historical and cultural attributes of music relevant to the course, and critically examine selections of music from jazz, blues, classical, and folk styles. Students taking this class are expected to supply their own instrument and have a regular practice routine. This course is open to middle school and high school students with the appropriate musical experience.

Rock Ensemble
This exciting course will give students the opportunity to play in a rock band situation with their peers while developing musical skills on their main instrument. Students do not have to know how to read music but they must have moderate experience playing guitar, drums, bass, vocals, or keyboard. During this year long course students will study rock and roll music from the 1950’s through the present and will have the opportunity to perform at concerts and school sports events. Students will learn to play together as a class but will also be divided into smaller “bands” according to their experience level. This course is open to middle school and high school students.

AP Music Theory
Offered once every two years, AP Music Theory is an extensive, in-depth study of the structure and composition of music and notational practices. In addition to written academic exercises, students are drilled on rhythmic, melodic and harmonic dictation along with an emphasis on sight singing. During the course of the semester, students will attend 2 musical performances, which will be announced by the instructor. This course is taught on a collegiate level.


Music Booster Club
The music booster club is a parent sponsored organization at San Diego Jewish Academy. The organization’s purpose is to support the music department, facilitate communication and participation throughout the upper school and raise funds for the music department at San Diego Jewish Academy.

San Diego Jewish Academy | 11860 Carmel Creek Road, San Diego CA 92130 | (858) 704-3700 | info@sdja.com
Copyright © San Diego Jewish Academy. All rights reserved
Staff Only