Building Communication, Creativity, and Leadership through Music

Traverse City, Michigan
July 13- July 20, 2024

Archipelago’s music academy is a youth leadership program which helps students musicians realize their potential as artists, creators, and leaders.  MILA challenges students to develop their own musical voice by asking students to draw from the abstract to create something tangible, constructively critique their peers, lead discussions, suggest and support ideas and reconcile opposing views through compromise.

2024 Registration Form

Need: Strong Communities need future citizens that are adaptable, creative thinkers, problem solvers, and have the ability to listen to varied viewpoints.  The majority of school curriculum, including music curriculum, is not designed to encourage and develop these skills. 

Few school music programs have time to help students understand the process of musical creation through composition, arranging, chamber music, and community engagement. By empowering students with ownership of the creative process the Archipelago’s summer music camp meets this need and encourages students to generate original ideas and approaches, evaluate choices, and build on prior experience to improve and realize their potential as young artists, creators, and leaders.


Students take ownership of the ensemble rehearsals

Students are tasked with running all parts of the rehearsal process from selecting the music to the “nitty gritty” of creating and rehearsing the music.  Teachers become equal participants in the rehearsal and act more as a mentor/advisor than a conductor who leads the entire process.  Students broaden their horizons by learning how to program, rehearse and arrange music from multiple music genres including, classical, folk, rock, pop, jazz, and funk. Under the guidance of an Archipelago Teaching Artist, students are charged with preparing and rehearsing their own musical set for community performances. In addition to using standard prewritten arrangements, students learn basic arranging/composing skills to create their own original arrangements. Each ensemble perform their music set in public venues around the Traverse City community.

Student will engage in intensive rehearsals with areas of Focus:

  1. 360 Degree Consideration: The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of any performance
    1. Holistic considerations of a performance 
  2. What makes a performance Artistic? (Why)
    1. Importance of Representation (personally, culturally, and regionally)
    2. Building the show as an artistic statement
  3. Principles of Audience Engagement (Who)
    1. What is an interactive performance 
    2. Public Speaking 
    3. The importance of Scripting 
  4. The Execution of a performance (When and What)
    1. Site evaluation
    2. Planning with execution in mind
    3. Performance skills
      1. Physical presentation
      2. Speaking 
  5. Reflection and Evaluation (of rehearsal and performance)
    1. Rehearsing with the performance in mind
    2. Respectful feedback
    3. Accepting critique

Measurable Outcomes

Students leave the academy with the ability:

  • To create an original concert program.
  • To understand and use basic arranging/composing skills. 
  • To participate in and lead group discussions.
  • To run small small sectionals/groups during rehearsal.
  • To speak confidently in public settings. 

Community Engagement

Students become leaders in community workshops

During the academy, Archipelago runs a few day Collective Composition workshops for local children camps. During these workshops, MILA students take leadership roles by running breakout rooms where they help younger students create lyrics, raps, melodies, and beats.  Students also present performances for youth, families, and adults at traditional and non-traditional venues in and around Traverse City..

2021 Front Street Pop-Up Performance

Public Speaking

Faculty specializing in public speaking, writing, media and PR training will strengthen the student’s non-musical arsenal. Students will learn techniques in verbal and written communication, and will have the opportunity to engage these new skills through public speaking opportunities at numerous public performances.

Natural Wonder/Fun Activities

Connect the mind, instrument and body by experiencing Northern Michigan’s natural wonder hiking through national parks, swimming, Native American studies and canoeing.

Archipelago is dedicated to providing bonding opportunities between the students through organized outdoor activites and good old free time.  Students will have the opportunity to swim, bike, hike the Sleaping Bear Dunes, and play plenty of games.



Room and Board: $850
*Lodging is provided at Northwestern Michigan College(NMC)

Registration Form

How Can We Help?

Archipelago is committed to making Music Leadership Academy available to everyone one interested.
Please Contact us at [email protected] if you need financial assistance.

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