stage TUNES

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NOTE: Stage Tunes will be offered again in the fall 2021.

Bringing Literature to Life Through Music and Sound.

Prime Stage Theatre Remote Classes Details and Description

Journey through a world of sound with composer and teaching artist, Monica Stephenson. Together participants will create original music, soundscapes and folly to enliven literature and text! Stage Tunes is designed so that each young person may ‘tune in’ and participate regardless of previous musical experience. Home activities are individualized; based on experience, age and ability.

Through reading, writing, games, lively discussion and original song presentation, students will explore text in works of literature, melody making and sound. Create amazing sounds, original songs and underscoring for a performance!

Price: $175.00 for the term.

Contact: for more information.

Time Length and Dates
Class will meet remotely every two weeks(twice monthly) for 45 minutes at 6:00pm.

Participant Age Seventh Grade to Twelfth Grade or 12 to 17 years old.

Expanded Description Each session will be comprise of 5 parts: A Check-in, a Listening and Watching segment, a Learning Discussion, a Putting it Together Group Activity and a short reflection.

During Check-in, participants will share introductions, answer a fun check-in question and get a run down of what to expect for the session.

The Listen and Watching Segment will give participants a chance to watch, listen to and analyze a scene from a play or film. This scene will use underscoring and sound to heighten the text, create a mood and give the listener incite into what a character may be feeling. The Listening Segment will serve as an example to lead into the Learning Discussion.

The Learning Discussion will consist of a short lecture that expands upon the topics of musical underscoring, soundscapes, sound effects and folly. Learning Topics include Making Awesome Sounds from Things You Have at Home, Underscoring with Musical Chords Melodies, Making Original Songs in Text and When Add Sound and When to Let the Text Speak for Itself.

The “Putting it Together” Activities will give participants a chance to tryout their new-found skill and knowledge from the Learning Discussion. Participants will read literary examples, play sound effect games to compliment text, learn how to do musical improv and will present musical scenes from works of literature in a friendly and encouraging environment.

stage Tunes will culminate with a presentation of a scene from Prime Stage’s online Series, “One Christmas Carol”. Each participant will present their own interpretation of a short scene! Students may choose to present their piece as a recording or live presentation.

Objective(s) and/or Standards
National Core Standards
NSA MU:Cr1.1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
NSA MTC: Cr1.1.C Imagine - Generate musical ideas for various purposes and contexts.
PA Arts & Humanities Standards
9.1.A Know and use the elements and principles if music to create works in the arts and humanities.
9.3.B Analyze and interpret specific characteristics of works in the arts within each art form 9.4.B Compare and contrast informed individual opinions about the meaning of works in the arts to others
PA Academic Standard for Reading, Writing Speaking and Listening
1.3 Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
1.6. Speaking and Listening

Materials Needed
*A Pencil & Journal or Notebook for note taking
*It is helpful if the student has a smart phone or listening/recording device to hear script recordings and record their own melody and sound ideas.
*If the student can play a music instrument (guitar, uke, piano, bass etc.) they may bring this to play for the sessions. It, however, is not necessary as students can simply sing and make sounds with items they have at hand.

Teacher Biography

Monica Stephenson is a composer, performer, and teaching artist based in Pittsburgh, Pa. A graduate of Duquesne University School of Music, she has performed all over the country, in regional and national tours and in Europe. Favorite composer credits include My Traveling Song (Hiawatha Project), The Carols (1812 Productions), Twelfth Night (Prime Stage) and a musical adaptation of This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries,This Girl Does Nothing in collaboration with students from Hope Academy. Her latest musical, Tyndale Place, was recently honored as part of The Kilroys List for 2020. When she’s not teaching and making songs, Monica likes to spent time with her 6 year-old son, Samuel, her partner, Rachel and their very nosey dog, Penny. You can visit her online at