Upcoming Events
Academy Chamber Music Concert March 25, 2023 7:30 pm
Marcus Robert Trio: Rhythm 'N Blue April 15, 2023 7:30 pm

Frequently Asked Questions



What makes the Academy a nationally recognized pre-conservatory training center?
The Academy has had an internationally respected faculty, which has attracted students from every part of the United States, and from several foreign countries. Academy graduates have consistently matriculated to the finest music schools in the country. They have also regularly won local, regional, national, and international solo and chamber music competitions. Master class teachers such as Midori and Robert Lipsett, Paul Coletti and Kirsten Docter, Richard Aaron and Laurence Lesser, Robert McDonald and Alvin Chow have given classes at the Academy. 

What level of experience do I need for the Academy's chamber music program?

Students should have at least one year of working with a chamber group (a string quartet or trio; a piano trio, quartet, or quintet) before auditioning for the Academy. It is also highly recommended, but not required, that prospective students study music theory before they audition for the Academy.


What is required for the prescreen video? The pre-screen should be a polished piece that exhibits a student’s highest level of skill and proficiency. The performance should be current and must include two pieces of contrasting styles--something lyrical and something showing virtuosity.  Accompanists are not required for the prescreen.


Where does the live audition take place? Live auditions take place in Thoresen Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago Winnetka campus, 300 Green Bay Road, Winnetka.


When should I arrive for a live audition? Arrive up to 30 minutes before the audition time to warm-up. Please bring one copy of the score and music for the adjudicators. All music must be memorized. Please dress appropriately (no jeans, t-shirts, or gym shoes).


What can I expect at the audition? The audition will take 30 minutes. The adjudicators are friendly and welcoming, and will ask each student a few questions at the start of the audition about their personal musical experience. Piano students will also take a short sight reading test.  Every student is video recorded so other Academy faculty members and chamber music coaches can review the audition and comment on acceptance..


What happens after I am accepted into the program? Once you receive an official notification of acceptance, Academy on-line registration begins in June and continues through the summer; merit awards are assigned in August; chamber groups (duos, trios, and quartets) are formed in the beginning of September; orchestra seating auditions occur mid-September; the annual student and parent orientation kicks off the fall semester and classes resume at the end of September. Students are off for Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring Break.


Can I receive financial aid or a scholarship in the Academy? Every student in the Academy receives a merit scholarship of some level based on the audition performance upon initial acceptance. Merit scholarships range from 15% to 75% of the tuition, and many factors weigh into scholarship decisions. The merit scholarship process involves an annual jury, which is an evaluation of technical and artistic progress. In addition to the jury performance, other factors that inform scholarship decisions include a review of absences, ability to accomplish classroom goals, classroom preparedness in music theory, master classes, keyboard classes, orchestra, and chamber music, and a contribution to overall success of the program by demonstrating citizenship and volunteerism. Since every student receives a merit scholarship, the Academy does not provide need-based financial aid.


Where do Academy students attend college? While not all  graduates attend music schools and conservatories, the majority do. They also attend dual programs. We are proud of the schools Academy students matriculate to each year—Juilliard, Curtis, Shepherd School at Rice, Colburn, New England Conservatory, Eastman, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Peabody, as well as the dual programs at NEC and Harvard, Juilliard and Columbia; or dual music and science majors at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and USC.


Can I register for one component of the program, rather than the entire program?

No, unfortunately, this is not an option. Since this is a comprehensive curriculum, Academy faculty and staff believe a student is best prepared for the rigors of conservatory training by participating in each portion of the program: private instruction, chamber music, chamber orchestra or piano skills, piano history & improvisation, enrichment and master classes, and multiple levels of music theory. 


Are there expectations beyond the Saturday classes?

In addition to the classes listed above, there are four chamber music concerts, three orchestra concerts, and numerous performance opportunities for Academy students. 


Can I be excused on Saturdays if I am a member of my school orchestra or club (Math, Debate, Science, Chess, etc.)? Orchestra and related music programs are excused. Infrequent absences for school clubs events is permitted, but sports team conflicts are not as they tend to be excessive.  Students are permitted six absences during the year, nine if you are a senior auditioning for college/conservatories.