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Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Offers Short Courses Beginning October 9


BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will offer new, 10-week classes beginning on Monday, October 9. The Short Courses, which include Beginner Jazz Piano, Piano as a Second Instrument, Sing and Play, and Songwriting and Composition, are for kids and teens ages 7 and above and take place at the Performing Arts School located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Tuition for the 10-week Short Courses is $275. Students may attend the first class for free prior to enrolling. For more information, visit or call Student Services at 908-790-0700.

Beginner Jazz Piano taught by faculty member Eric Olsen explores the American classical tradition–jazz! Students learn to improvise in basic chord structures and the 12-bar blues. Students will learn how to play in a small ensemble, improvise with other instruments, and develop a walking bass line. Students must have a minimum of 2 years private lessons and know 2 octave scales up to four accidentals. Beginner Jazz Piano meets on Mondays from 7:15-8:15 p.m.

Piano as a Second Instrument, taught by faculty member Kristen Wuest, builds complementary skills to the student’s primary instrument. Students learn how to accompany themselves and others using primary chords, building proficiency at the instrument, and learn how to read a lead sheet, play repertoire appropriate for their proficiency level, and play in an ensemble setting. Students with up to 1-year experience are welcome. Piano as a Second Instrument meets on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

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Sing and Play, taught by Director of Musical Theater Arts Timothy Maureen Cole, gives students the tools to accompany themselves while singing. Students use their knowledge of scales, chords, and sight-reading to create suitable accompaniments to vocal pieces that make it easy to play and sing at the same time.  Students must have a minimum of 2 years in guitar or piano, with a working knowledge of the major and minor scales and chords. Sing and Play meets on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Songwriting and Composition, taught by faculty member Craig Graham, focuses on learning the basics of how to write lyrics and compose a song. Other topics covered in the class will be music theory and harmony relating to songwriting and how to record a song.  The class will finish with a performance and recording. Songwriting and Composition meets on Tuesdays from 6:45-7:45 p.m.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.


Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.


The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.


Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best. 

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