Young Artists Academy FAQ

I need a little help financially in order to enroll my child? How do I get help?

Our goal is to help families participate in our youth programs regardless of their financial status. Financial assistance is available for those that need it so please reach out to Jeni at jeni@austinchambermusic.org to start a discussion. You must contact us BEFORE you register online and before the registration deadline.


I see Academy runs from 2-5pm on Saturdays. How do I know what one hour my child will have Academy?

COVID is still something we must deal with, especially with youth. We are trying to utilize the largest and most appropriate rooms at Armstrong Community Music School and limit the number of people in the building each hour (rental agreement with ACMS) which means we will be spreading things out through the 2-5pm hours. After placement auditions, ACMC faculty will be organizing ensemble and picking music which takes time. Jeni Gossard, Director of Education, will be contacting enrolled families at least a week before Academy begins with assigned hour slots.


What is the attendance policy for the Young Artists Academy?

In a perfect world students would not miss any Saturday Academy rehearsals. However, we know that this is not always possible with other school and/or music related activities (college visits, extra-curricular activities, mandatory concerts, etc.). Having said this, attendance is very important and we require that students DO NOT miss no more than 2 rehearsals per semester. Unlike band or orchestra, one student absent from a chamber rehearsal affects the entire ensemble as each student is playing on their own part. Plus it’s unfair to the other students enrolled and the faculty instructors. A student missing from rehearsals make it challenging to keep the ensemble moving forward and progressing efficiently within the limited rehearsal time.

Before enrolling, please look at your calendars and make sure you can be committed to the program dates. If you think you’d miss more than 2 rehearsal dates during a semester you should reconsider enrolling and join us when your schedule allows for more certainty. If you have questions about the attendance policy, please contact the Director of Education.


Is it mandatory my child performs on the semester end concert?

YES! Each student has their own part within their ensemble so if one student can’t perform it’s a problem. Concert information is on the Young Artists Academy page so please be sure to put dates/times in your calendars and double check your child is available before you enroll.


My child does not take private lessons. Does this mean they can’t join the Academy? Do you recommend students take lessons outside of Academy?

While we do not require students to take private lessons outside of the Academy, we highly recommend it! The Academy is about ensemble work, not about teaching students how to play their instrument (aka private lessons). Ensembles may have multiple instruments (ex. flute, violin, piano trio) and the chamber coach will not be able to instruct all students on how to play their instruments. This is why private lessons are helpful. If a student has an issue with their music, they can get help from their private lesson instructor so the chamber ensemble coach can focus on group work. Plus, private lesson instructors help a student to be more proficient on their instruments (intonation, technique, etc.) which also helps being in a chamber ensemble.


What if my child has been playing less than two years? Are there any exceptions?

We ask that all students have a minimum of TWO years of playing under their belts so they can get around their instrument fairly comfortably. Chamber music is about ensemble playing and less about teaching the instrument. However, there are always exceptions (especially for middle and high school students) so if you think your child may be ready, please contact the Director of Education BEFORE registering.


When do I hear results from the placement auditions?

There are no ‘results’ from the placement auditions. Placement auditions are for the Director of Education and Academy faculty members to hear and/or meet new and returning students. Audition help us to place students in compatible ensembles and for selecting appropriate music.

The placement auditions are not to get into the Academy. Once you register for the Academy you are in the program. However, if for any reason we can’t place your child in an appropriate ensemble you will be notified and a full refund will be issued.


When will music be ready and how do I get the music?

Academy music will be ready approximately 2-4 days before the beginning of the semester (earlier if possible). The Director of Education will notify families when music is ready and will email assigned music individually. Students may or may not get more music once the semester begins. It will depend on the progression of the ensemble and individual practice commitment.

Please note…
When looking at the music please remember (make sure your child knows this) that chamber music is about putting all of the parts within the chamber group together, creating music (not just playing the notes on the page) through dynamics and expression. Students will perform pieces without a conductor so there is a lot of time spent on tempo, stylistic concepts, historical discussions, and unity within the ensembles. If your child says “my music is too easy” please remind them that they are just one part of the large puzzle (aka: chamber ensemble). Also, they don’t know what the other students’ parts are so they don’t know what’s going to happen once they get all together!


Why is the Academy format changing this year with no theory or composition classes and no option to sign up for two ensembles or two instruments for chamber music?

Theory & Composition classes: When the Academy was first started theory and composition classes were not easily accessible in schools (or private lessons) so ACMC filled that void. Now that schools and private lesson instructors are offering more theory we have decided to take that off the ACMC menu on Saturdays. During COVID we started virtual Composition and Technology classes for all levels which have been very successful and has widened our reach to students outside of Austin from all around the country. We also, currently we have to limit the number of students in the ACMS building (and classrooms) at one time. Lastly, we know that a lot of students were hesitant to sign up for the Academy when the theory/composition component was required. This change may encourage more students to join us for chamber music which is what ACMC does the best!

Two ensembles/two instruments: We’re just allowing students to do one ensemble/instrument due to the current space/room limitations at ACMS. We are hoping in the future we’ll bring back the two ensemble/instrument option.


What COVID protocols do you have in place?

We’re working with our community partners and Academy location, Armstrong Community Music School, to make sure everyone feels safe during Academy hours. Since we’ll have a mixture of students (varying in ages) vaccinated and not vaccinated we need to take that into consideration when it comes to how many students/faculty are in each room and in the building at one time.

Protocols currently in place (subject to change):

  • Everyone over the age of 10 is required to wear a mask in the building
  • All ACMS/ACMC families, faculty, and staff will be required to sign a liability waiver
  • Hand sanitizers will be in every class room and lobby
  • Piano keys will be wiped down after every rehearsal
  • Only students and faculty are let in the building, unless the bathroom is needed
  • Students and faculty will not share items during rehearsals
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