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School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041

School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041

image of two women dancing together, smiling

Community Engagement

The Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance is committed to enhancing the lives of our neighbors through music lessons and classes (OU Community Music), interactive workshops (Voice Teaching Lab, Percussion Day and more), youth ensembles (Honor Band, Orchestra and more), traveling theatre productions (James and the Giant Peach) and meaningful community partnerships (OU/Pontiac Initiative.)

Workshops and Camps
Music, Theatre and Dance at OU offers community members an opportunity to participate in workshops on our spacious wooded campus in suburban Rochester Hills, Michigan. Our workshops are taught by our faculty and by guest performers and teachers.

These outstanding arts performance workshops combine an open and collaborative atmosphere with rigorous standards and excellent teaching.

OU works to ensure safe conduct and supportive interaction between youth and program leaders. Learn more about our initiatives at the Youth Protection website.

Refunds will be given up to two weeks prior to the event start date. Cancellations within two weeks of the event start date will not be refunded.

For more information, please contact
Percussion Day

Saturday, December 8, 2018
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free Admission

Pre-register today.  

A feast of percussion from around the world, featuring workshops, group performances, and individual lessons with Sean Dobbins, Patrick Fitzgibbon, Sam Jeyasingham, Dan Maslanka, and Mark Stone.

Sign up your percussion ensemble for a morning performance or your jazz combo for an afternoon performance. Workshops are open to all ages and cover a wide range of percussion areas (see descriptions below). Private lessons with OU percussion faculty are available for ages 14 and up. Registration for group performances and private lessons is required in advance. Workshop participants may register at any time. Please bring a sack lunch.

  • Registration – 8:30 a.m., Varner Hall 1st floor entrance

  • Concert Percussion Clinic with Dan Maslanka - 9 a.m. to noon, Room 101 Varner
    Sign up your percussion ensemble for a group performance and receive feedback from Prof. Maslanka. Concert Percussion Fundamentals will be discussed with any remaining time.
  • West African xylophone music with Mark Stone - 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Room 134 Varner
    Learn to play the Dagara Gyil from Ghana in this hands-on interactive workshop. The gyil is the “grandmother” of our modern-day marimba. 
  • South Indian Drumming with Sam Jeyasingham - 10:30 a.m. to noon, Room 134 Varner
    Learn to play the South India Kanjera in this hands-on interactive workshop. Participants will learn both the split-finger Indian drum technique and “takadimi” rhythmic solfege.
  • Individual lessons with Patrick Fitzgibbon- 9:30am to 12pm, Room 101 Varner
    For students 14 and up who would like to develop any area of concert percussion and/or work on a solo and ensemble piece.

  • noon – 1 p.m. Lunch Break (bring a sack lunch)
  • Essentials of Jazz Drumming with Sean Dobbins – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Room 134 Varner
    Sign up your jazz combo for a group performance and receive feedback from Prof. Dobbins. Participants will gain knowledge in improvisation, group interaction, and repertoire.
  • Steel Drums with Patrick Fitzgibbon - 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Room 110 Varner
    Learn to play the Caribbean Steel Pan in this hands-on interactive workshop. The steel pan, original from the island of Trinidad, has become a global percussion instrument.
  • Individual lessons with Mark Stone – 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Room 106 Varner
    For students 14 and up who would like to develop hand drum skills or an area of world percussion.
  • Individual lessons with Dan Maslanka - 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Room 101 Varner
    For students 14 and up who would like to develop any area of concert percussion and/or work on a solo and ensemble piece.
  • Group Discussion, Pursuing a Career in Percussion - 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Room 110 Varner
    Discuss degree and career options in the field of percussion with Oakland University’s percussion professors, open to students and their parents.

Questions? Contact Professor Mark Stone at

Note: Parents and Teachers are welcome to attend!

Voice Day
Saturday, January 12, 2019

Oakland University is pleased to invite you to join us at the School of Music Theatre and Dance for our annual Voice Day. This year's Voice Day will feature Assistant Professor of Voice, Dr.  Alta Marie Boover who will present on "Uses of Technology to Create, Track, and Communicate SMART Goals." Best practices in Business and Sports Psychology show that the most effective goals are  SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Singers and Teachers have always worked together to create goals for peak performance, however with the pervasive use of smartphones, we have a series of new tools which are highly capable of implementing, measuring and tracking these goals. Dr. Boover will take us through useful apps which will help us define, discuss, and measure our practice goals.

1 - 2:30 p.m. - Presentation
2:45 - 3:15 p.m. - Voice and Music Education at OU: Q&A with OU voice faculty and students
3:15 - 5 p.m. - Performance Workshop with OU voice faculty. To participate, ask your voice teacher to send an email nomination to
7 p.m. -  Street Scene (up to 2 complimentary tickets per high-school registrant)

Free admission.  Register today!
Clarinet Solo and Ensembles Day

Sunday, January 13, 2019 from 11:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Free admission
Register today!

Clarinetists in grades 9-12 are invited to perform solo and ensemble works in preparation for Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Oakland University clarinet professor George Stoffan will offer suggestions for soloists and ensembles. Clarinet ensembles, as well as mixed ensembles, are encouraged to perform.

Even if students have already performed in a Solo and Ensemble Festival, this session can help in preparation for performances at the state level. All will benefit from the opportunity to perform for all in attendance and from the feedback from Professor Stoffan.

Note: Parents and Teachers are welcome to attend!

Piano Day

Sunday, February 3, 2019
Time: 11 a.m.
Cost: $35 for Piano Day; $40 for Piano Day and Competition (parents and teachers can observe for free!)

Register here!

  • In our new format, every student (ages 12–18) will have a private mini-lesson with an Oakland University piano faculty member and have the option to participate in the Oakland Piano Day Competition. 
  • Piano Day repertoire requirement: 1 solo work. Memory encourage, but not required.
  • Competition Details:
    • Age Groups and Performance Times
      • Ages 12-14  |  10 minutes
      • Ages 15-18  |  12 minutes
    • Repertoire Requirements
      • Two memorized, contrasting solo works
    • Prizes
      • Winners in each group will receive cash prizes, scholarships to the OU Piano Camp as well as future performance opportunities

Questions? Please contact Dr. Tian,

High School Jazz Festival
Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Oakland Center Banquet Rooms on the campus of Oakland University

The OU jazz faculty hosts the first annual Oakland University High School Jazz Festival on February 2. High school jazz bands (large and small) are welcome to perform and receive comments from OU jazz faculty and special guest Marvin "Doc" Holladay. Click here to register your group! The deadline to register is January 20.

The rest of the day will include studio classes, a workshop entitled "Connecting With Your Band Through Improvisation," a performance by the Oakland University Faculty Jazz Collective, and a swing dance! This is a public event — anyone can participate in workshops and observe the performances.

Questions? Contact Sean Dobbins at
Piano Camp
June 17 - 21, 2019
Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Register now for Piano Camp!

Ages 12-17
Fee:  $395. Discounts available for return participants, siblings, 2019 Piano Day competition winners, and Oakland University faculty and staff.

The piano program at Oakland University presents its 2019 Piano Camp for pianists 12-17 years of age. This camp is recommended for intermediate to advanced piano students. Younger pianists will be considered upon recommendation of the faculty.

Activities include:
  • Daily Lessons
  • Duet Classes
  • Composition Classes
  • Master Classes
  • Special Guest Presentations
  • Performance Opportunities
For more information, call (248) 370-2030 or email Tian Tian at .
Assembly Quartet Saxophone Workshop

Assembly Quartet Saxophone Workshop at Oakland University
June 24-28, 2019 

Faculty Artists:
Dr. Jeffrey Heisler, Oakland University
Dr. Ian Jeffress, Western Carolina University
Dr. Matthew Younglove, Wayne State University
Dr. Adam Estes, University of Mississippi

Open to all College Undergraduate, High School, and Middle School Saxophonists! Lessons, Masterclasses, Seminars, Saxophone Quartets, Saxophone Choir, Jazz Improvisation, Recitals.

Questions: contact Dr. Heisler at

Summer Theatre Camp

Monday - Friday
June 17 - 21, 2019
Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Varner Hall

Students entering 9th grade through graduating seniors

Description: OU’s Summer Theatre Camp presents a variety of classes geared toward students that want to take their theatre skills to the next level! You can register for the full camp (five days of five daily classes) or choose the individual classes that excite you the most. Either way, you will take away techniques and experiences that will tap into the best theatre artist you can be. Take a leap! We guarantee this will be the most fun you can have with the beginning of your summer!

Daily Schedule:
Audition Class | 9 - 10:20 a.m.
Unarmed Stage Combat | 10:30 - 11:50 a.m.
Lunch | 11:55 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.
Acting the Song | 12:30 - 1:50 p.m.
Theatrical Lighting Design -OR- Improv (your choice) | 2 - 3:20 p.m.
Alexander Technique | 3:30 - 4:50 p.m.

Cost for the week: $90 per class or $395 for a full day (5 classes)

For more information and to register, click here.

July 7-21, 2019
NewDANCEfest is a multidimensional festival, which brings artists at various levels of the profession together. Opportunities are provided for Established Choreographers, Emerging Choreographers and Dancers to create and study in a rich, rewarding and artistic environment. Choreographers are given time and space to create new works, and Dancers are given professional training and the experience of mentoring with some of the best professionals in the dance world. NewDANCEfest will provide daily technique classes in a variety of styles, choreography seminars, discussion forums, critique sessions, mentorship opportunities, informal showings and performances. The festival will be located in the beautiful city of Rochester, Michigan with classes for the Intermediate/Advanced Division (ages 10-15) held on the campus of Oakland University. Classes for the Advanced/Professional Division (ages 16 and up) will be held at The School of Eisenhower Dance Detroit located at 103 South Street. Housing for all participants is available on the Campus of Oakland University for an additional cost.

For more information and to register, visit
Golden Grizzlies Jazz Camp

The Golden Grizzlies Jazz camp will allow students of all levels to expand their knowledge in improvisation, ensemble techniques and jazz fundamentals. Students will receive instruction from OU jazz faculty as well as mentorship from current OU students. This camp is unique in that students have the choice to form small groups (up to 8 people) from their current schools and perform as ensembles. They may also register as an individual and be placed in an existing group. The camp will conclude with a performance at an area Detroit jazz venue.
Ages: students entering 9th grade through graduating high school seniors

Click here to register! Email with questions.
Honors Ensembles
Attention all high school band/orchestra directors. We’d love to have your students join us for two exciting ensemble events, as high school musicians from across the state come to the Oakland University campus to rehearse and perform with OU faculty and guest clinicians.

Membership in these ensembles will be based on teacher nominations. 

Find the appropriate ensemble below to submit nominations or to register.

Questions? Contact

Oakland University Honors Orchestra
November 15-17, 2019
Fee $40

Click to nominate your students!


Friday, November 15
5 – 6:45 p.m. – Registration and chair placement (String faculty)
7 – 9 p.m. – Rehearsal in Recital Hall (RH) 

Saturday, November 16
4 – 5:15 p.m. – Sectional rehearsal with string faculty
5:15 – 6 p.m. – Pizza (provided)
6:15 – 8 p.m. – Rehearsal in RH

Sunday, November 17
2 p.m. - Dress Rehearsal for Strings in RH
2:30 p.m. - Dress Rehearsal for Strings and Winds in RH
4 p.m. - Concert on stage in RH

Questions? Contact

Oakland University Honor Band
with clinician Frank Tracz, director of bands at Kansas State University

November 8-9, 2019
Fee $25



Friday November 8
4:30 p.m. - Check-in begins (4 p.m. for those auditioning for the OU SMTD scholarships)
5 p.m. - Placement auditions begin
7 p.m. - Rehearsal begins
9 p.m. - Rehearsal ends

Saturday November 9
9 a.m. - Rehearsal begins
11 a.m. - Sectionals with OU Faculty
Noon - Lunch (provided)
12:45 p.m. - Rehearsal 
2:30 p.m. - Break
3 p.m. - Pre-concert rehearsal 
3:30 p.m. - Concert

Questions? Contact
OU/Pontiac Initiative

Oakland University is committed to working with its neighbors, to determine potential areas of meaningful partnership that will benefit both the community and Oakland’s students. The School of Music, Theatre and Dance is holding several events at Pontiac venues throughout the season, including the Pontiac Creative Arts Center and Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts. For more information about the OU/Pontiac Initiative, visit

Children's Theatre

The OU Department of Theatre’s season comes to a close with a children’s touring show. In May and June, James and the Giant Peach will tour Metro Detroit Schools, libraries and other public venues. Learn how to bring this exciting production to your school by emailing or calling (248) 370-2030.

Dance for
Parkinson's Disease

Dance for Parkinson's Disease participants will be empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative.  This class is an aesthetic experience that uses the elements of narrative, imagery, and community to develop artistry and grace while addressing such PD specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation and depression.  The classes engage participants' minds and bodies, and create an enjoyable, social environment that emphasizes dancing rather than therapy.  Active demonstration by professional dancers inspires participants to recapture grace, while guided improvisation fosters creativity, and experimentation with movement.

For more information about these classes, which are for those living with PD and their caregiver/spouses, please contact DPD Director Ali Woerner at

Synergy on Stage

Synergy on Stage is a dynamic local company that provides American Sign Language interpreters for theatrical productions. The OU Department of Theatre has had a 20+ year collaboration with these interpreters and the Deaf theatre-going community. The actors are fully integrated into the performances, providing the Deaf community with accessible performances of plays and musicals. Select theatre performances, which are notated on our event calendar, are shadow-signed each season.