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Future Music Educators Institute

Spend the week with TCNJ Department of Music!

Are you a vocal or instrumental high school student (rising 9th grade students through graduating seniors) interested in becoming a music teacher or conductor? TCNJ School of the Arts and Communication is excited to offer this program for you from June 23-28, 2024. Take daily classes, electives and masterclasses taught by our esteemed music faculty and leading professionals. We offer both on-campus and commuter options!

We’re excited to welcome Emmy-award winning & Grammy-nominated composer Jake Runestad, nationally recognized composer and conductor Dr. Rollo Dilworth, and Broadway and YouTube star Natalie Weiss to our faculty institute this summer!

Registration is now closed. Please email for assistance.


About the Institute

Daily Classes

  • Music Teaching Methods
  • Choral & Instrumental Conducting


  • Music Theatre Direction
  • Music for Students with Differing Abilities


Tentative Schedule

  • 9-9:50 am Check-in & Breakfast
  • 10-11:20 am The Art of Teaching Music Session
  • 11:30 am-12:20 pm Elective 1 (Choose 1):
        -Music for Students with Differing Abilities
    -The Art of Conducting
    -Music Theory for Music Educators
  • 12:30-1:20 pm LUNCH & LISTEN BREAK (FMEI Counselors lead students to Town Center for Lunch Options, Q&A with TCNJ Music Ed Students, Community Time)
  • 1:30-2:20 pm Elective 2 (Choose 1):
    -Creativity & Composition in the Music Classroom
    -Teaching Music Theory
    -Music for Students with Differing Abilities
  • 2:30-3:20 pm Elective 3 (Choose 1): Teaching Music Theory
    -The Art of Conducting
    -Creativity & Composition in the Music Classroom
  • 3:30-4:20 pm Masterclass Session
  • 4:30-5 pm Break/Community Time or Departure (Commuters)

About the Faculty & Guest Artists

Dr. Nick McBride, Institute Director


  • Music and Music Education, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2016

Nick McBride

As associate professor and coordinator of Music Education at The College of New Jersey, Nick McBride teaches various undergraduate courses in Music Education, supervises senior-level student teachers and coordinates the Music Education degree program. In addition, he has advised master’s and doctoral theses and taught graduate education courses at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey; University of Delaware, Newark; Rutgers University, New Jersey; Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey; University of the Arts; and Boston University.

McBride’s research appears in The Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, The Journal of Music Teacher Education, Music Education Research, Visions of Research in Music Education and the Music Educators Journal. He has also authored chapters and contributed to Narratives and Reflections in Music Education: Listening to Voices Seldom HeardMusic Education on the Verge: Stories of Pandemic Teaching and Transformative ChangePlanning Instruction in the Music and Teaching Music Through Performance in Middle School Choir.

He has presented at numerous international and national research conferences, including the American Educational Research Association, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the NAfME Research & Teacher Education Conference, the Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium, the American Choral Directors Association National Conference, the Symposium on Research in Choral Singing and the Narrative Inquiry in Music Education Conference. McBride also serves on the editorial boards of the The Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, the Journal of General Music Education and Visions of Research in Music Education.

He earned Doctoral and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Teachers College-Columbia University, New York; his dual Masters degrees with honors in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; and his Bachelor of Music Education from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.

Dr. Eric Laprade, TCNJ Faculty


  • Conducting, D.M.A., Eastman School of Music, 2018
  • Conducting, M.M., University of Michigan, 2015
  • Music Performance and Music Education, B.M., Eastman School of Music, 2008
  • Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program, Certificate, Eastman School of Music, 2019
  • Performer’s Certificate, Certificate, Eastman School of Music, 2008

Eric LapradeA dedicated and passionate conductor, educator, and arts leader, Eric Laprade serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at The College of New Jersey, where he conducts the wind ensemble and concert band, and teaches courses in conducting, rehearsal techniques, and instrumental literature. He also serves as Managing Director & Artistic Partner, and Festival Wind Ensemble conductor of South Shore Conservatory’s Summer Music Festival (Hingham, MA). Previously, he served as the Visiting Director of Wind Ensembles at The University of Utah, Managing Editor of the Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research at the Eastman School of Music, and as Music Department Chairperson and Instrumental Music Teacher for the Randolph, MA Public Schools.

Laprade has conducted many of the nation’s premier wind bands, including The Eastman Wind Ensemble, The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” University of Michigan Symphony Band, and Manhattan School of Music Wind Ensemble. Recent professional conducting engagements include performances of Camille Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat as part of the Duxbury Music Festival and South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars series. An ardent supporter of new music, he has conducted world-premieres by such notable composers as Steve Danyew, Rollo Dilworth, Sally Lamb McCune, Nkeiru Okoye, and others. At TCNJ, ensembles under his direction have received national recognition, having been named winners of the 2023 American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award, and invited performances at The College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference and New Jersey Music Educators Association All-State Conference. A recipient of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize, as a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music Laprade served as assistant conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Harmonie, and associate conductor of the Eastman Wind Orchestra. He served as assistant conductor on international tours to Europe and Canada and was a guest conductor for OSSIA New Music, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, and Sunset Concerts.

Laprade is passionate about nurturing the next generation of music educators. In 2018, he developed and launched the SMF Teaching Academy, a summer fellowship-program for pre-service music education students. Since its inception, the program has mentored over 20 fellows from some of the nation’s finest music schools. Laprade has been a clinician at schools throughout the United States and has served as the guest conductor of for multiple performances of the Commonwealth Wind Symphony (Massachusetts), Manhattan School of Music Wind Ensemble, Eastern Wind Symphony Youth Band, and the 2023 Bucks County Music Educators Association Honors Ensembles, 2022 Pennsbury District Honor Band, 2021 Massachusetts Music Educators Southeastern District Concert Band, 2020 Woodbridge New Jersey Honor Band, 2019 Port Washington District Band Festival, 2018 Massachusetts Music Educators Central District Junior Concert Band, 2017 Massachusetts Music Educators Western District Senior Concert Band, 2017 Augustana College Honor Band.

Laprade’s scholarly-creative work focuses on innovative programming, reimagining the pedagogical possibilities and methods within the large-ensemble setting, and fostering new models of inter- and cross-disciplinary collaboration and creativity. His arrangements of works by Astor Piazzolla, Margaret Bonds, and Sally Lamb McCune have received performances by such notable groups as the University of Michigan Symphony Band and the Sinta Quartet. At TCNJ, he is a member of The Artivism Project, having contributed to the project’s Springs Eternal and Weather initiatives. At South Shore Conservatory, as a two-time recipient of the first Kathy Czerny Innovation Fund Award, he developed and launched SSC Transform, a multi-faceted initiative aimed at reimagining the role of music education in our modern society. Most recently, he developed and edited Expanding the Canon: Chorales from an Inclusive Repertoire, published by Murphy Music Press, LLC. Laprade has presented his work at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Clinic, New Jersey Music Educators Association Conference, Massachusetts Music Educators Association Conference, New York State Band Directors Association Summer Conference, the College Band Directors National and Eastern Conferences, Art+ Social Change Conference, and at numerous school district professional development days. Laprade is also a contributing author to the Eastman Case Studies series, having published cases profiling the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, Carnegie Hall, University Musical Society, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and South Shore Conservatory.

Laprade holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting and Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music in wind conducting from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Music in music education and tuba performance from the Eastman School of Music, where he was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. His principal conducting teachers include Mark Davis Scatterday, Michael Haithcock, and Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Laprade is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, and National Association for Music Education. (December, 2023)

Dr. Colleen Sears, TCNJ Faculty

  • Music Education, Ed.D., Columbia University, 2010

Colleen Sears Dr. Colleen Sears is professor and department chair of Music at TCNJ. See full bio.






Dr. Jose Bevia, TCNJ Faculty

  • Doctor of Music Degree in Music Theory and Composition, Valencia Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and Florida State University

José Beviá graduated from the Valencia Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and Florida State University where he earned a Doctor of Music Degree in Music Theory and Composition. Mr. Beviá has studied composition with Ladislav Kubík and Mark Wingate, and jazz piano with Marcus Roberts and Bill Peterson. He has also participated in composition seminars with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ellen Zwilich, jazz composer Bill Holman, and has been a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop (2006-2009), where he studied with jazz composers Michael Abene, Jim McNeely, and Mike Holober. He has also attended the 2012-2013 American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute at UCLA and Columbia University, where he was a student of George Lewis.

Mr. Beviá has seen his classical, jazz compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, the North Czech Philharmonic, Walter Boudreau and Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Michoacán, the American Composers Orchestra, the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra, Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The BMI/ New York Jazz Orchestra, The Millennium Jazz Orchestra in The Netherlands, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. His works have been commissioned by The Commission Project, the BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize, Harpist Arielle, Ferdiko Piano Duo, and The Santo Domingo Flute Project in the Dominican Republic.

At the same time he has been invited to present his music at the 2005 North Sea Jazz Festival The Hague, The Netherlands; the 2008 International Jazz Composers Symposium in Tampa, Florida; the Society of Composers National Conference in Turlock, California; the College Music Society National Conference in Portland, Oregon; the Florida State University Festival of New Music; the Czech-American Music Summer Music Institute in Prague, Czech Republic, the CMSInternational Conference in Seoul, Korea, and the 2014 NYC Electro-Acoustic Music Festival.

He has been composer in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France; the Visby International Centre for Composers, Sweden; and a Visiting Artist and Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. In September 2009 Mr. Beviá released a C.D. of contemporary classical music with MSR recordings, featuring The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. His second album was published in November of 2015, featuring his Symphony No. 2 performed by The
North Czech Philharmonic and conducted by Vit Micka.

Mr. Beviá is the winner of the 2014 Robert Avalon International Competition for Composers in Houston, Texas, the 2011 Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award in San Francisco, California, the 2010 International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition in Neapolis, Greece, the 2007 BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize in New York, and the 2006 University of West Florida Phillips Jazz Piano Competition; he is also finalist at the 2006 Brussels Jazz Orchestra International Composition Contest, the 2009 Artez International Composition Contest in The Netherlands, the 2014 International Composition Competition Cittá di Udine in Italy, the 2014 New York Composers Circle Competition, and the 2015 Orient/ Occident Composers Competition in Lviv, Ukraine.

Jake Runestad, Guest Artist

Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), EMMY®-winning and GRAMMY®-nominated composer and conductor Jake Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as VOCES8, Washington National Opera, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, the Pacific Symphony & Chorale, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, the National Chorus of Korea, the Bavarian Radio Choir, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Seraphic Fire, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and many more. “The Hope of Loving,” the first album dedicated to Jake’s choral music, recorded by professional American choir Conspirare, received a GRAMMY® nomination. In 2019, Jake became one of the youngest composers ever awarded the prestigious Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association. “Earth Symphony,” Jake’s ground-breaking choral symphony written with librettist Todd Boss, earned a 2022 EMMY® Award for musical composition. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and conducting engagements, enabling him to share his passion for creativity, expressivity, and community with musicians around the world.

Dubbed a “choral rockstar” by American Public Media, Jake is one of the most frequently performed composers of concert music. His thoughtful and compelling works “that speak to some of the most pressing and moving issues of our time” (Star Tribune), have been heard in thousands of performances across the globe. Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. Find out more at:

Natalie Weiss, Guest Artist

Natalie WeissNatalie Weiss gained an international following from her performance videos and popular YouTube web series, “Breaking Down The Riffs,” which have collectively reached over 4 million views.

As a private vocal coach and master class teacher, she trains performers across the US and throughout the world. Her career has taken her to the UK, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, and Austria, where she has taught for many institutions including the Institute for Vocal Advancement, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Vocology in Practice.

Natalie’s workshops provide students with various techniques to access a healthy belt, open up the head voice, strengthen the middle mix, and personalize song lyrics.

She incorporates music theory and pitch accuracy to ease fears around improvisation. Natalie guides singers with her trademarked method to break down riffs/runs from pop icons and often refers to her mission as “Pop Singing For Dummies.”

Natalie is one of the most sought-after voices among new musical theatre writers and is a featured soloist on several albums by Scott Alan, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Joey Contreras, and Kooman & Dimond.  Her self-titled EP and duet EP, “One Voice” (featuring Sally Wilfert), are both available on iTunes/Apple Music/Spotify.

Natalie is featured on the acclaimed soundtrack for The Greatest Showman and appeared on the 90th Academy Awards in the ensemble of “This Is Me.”  She can be heard on the Original Broadway Cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen as one of the Virtual Community Voices and on the jingles for The Incredibles 2.

Natalie made her Broadway debut understudying the Menonettes in Everyday Rapture, starring Sherie Rene Scott. In the fall of 2017, she played Molly in Ghost at the White Plains Performing Arts Center.

Other career highlights include swinging the National Tour of Les Misérables and performing in the ensemble of the 2nd National Tour of Wicked (Ensemble, Elphaba u/s). She was an American Idol Season 4 Semi-Finalist and has performed the National Anthem at Cowboys & Shea Stadium, Most recently, she performed to sold-out audiences at her solo shows in NYC, London, and Hamburg.  

Natalie received her BFA in musical theatre from Penn State University.

Dr. Rollo Dilworth, Guest Artist

  • BS, music education (K-12 certification), Case Western Reserve University
  • MEd, secondary education (concentrations in music, curriculum and instruction), University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • DMA, conducting performance, Northwestern University

More than 150 of Dilworth’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published—many of which are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with Hal Leonard Corporation.  Additional publications can be found in the catalogs of Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce Music, Inc.  Dilworth is a contributing author for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series, both published by the Hal Leonard Corporation/Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publications, and for Music Express! Teachers Magazine.  He has authored 3 books of choral warm up exercises intended for elementary and secondary choral ensembles, entitled Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for General and Classroom Use (2006); Choir Builders for Growing Voices (2009); and Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2 (2014).

A frequent presenter at local, state, regional and national conferences, Dilworth has conducted 43 all-state choirs at various levels (elementary, middle school, high school), and has conducted 6 regional honor choirs and 4 national honor choirs (ADCA, OAKE and NafME). He has most recently appeared as guest conductor for international choral festivals and master classes in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Ireland, and China as well as all-state choirs in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Arizona and Massachusetts.  He has also led honor choirs for the Central and Southwest regions of the American Choral Directors Association.  International festival and clinic invitations include Canada, Singapore, Austria and France.

Dilworth is currently National Board Chair for Chorus America. He is an active life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He also holds memberships with several other organizations, including the National Association for Music Education (NafME), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). In 2017, he received the Temple University Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement.

Maureen Fernandez, Institute Instructor

Maureen FernandezMaureen Fernandez will teach our “Music for Children with Differing Abilities” class.








School of the Arts and Communication
Art and Interactive Multimedia Building
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628