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2014 saw the launch of The Academy, a chamber music program for talented music students in the greater Coffs Harbour region. This is a unique concept that allows higher level instrumental students to experience chamber music and performance techniques that would otherwise only usually be available to them during tertiary music studies, and gives them the advantage of becoming well versed in all aspects of major chamber music works.
The Conservatorium is delighted to be able to offer this program to Coffs Coast students as an adjunct to their usual instrumental studies and encourages all teachers to nominate suitable students.
The program is directed and tutored by Conservatorium Artistic Director Trish O’Brien, along with occasional visiting artists and high level tutors chosen to complement each ensemble. Students are grouped into ensembles based on instrument, experience, standard and musicianship and attend weekly tutoring sessions of a full chamber work. There are 3-4 different ensembles formed and rehearsed per term. Rehearsals take place at the Conservatorium on Monday afternoons. There is at least one performance per term, with a Gala Academy performance towards the end of the year.
Each term a new concert program is devised and new ensembles created in order to give students the widest variety of chamber music skills throughout the year. Not all students can be involved in every term’s program however every effort will be made to give successful students placement in at least one ensemble.
Students of The Academy will learn the following skills:
Listening in an ensemble context
The role of their chosen instrument in various ensembles
Harmony and the effects achieved through different combinations of instruments
Historical context of ensemble compositions
Unusual instrument combinations
Bringing solo instruments into a team playing environment
Communicating with an audience
Coping with stage fright
At various times during the year students of the Academy are given first priority to play for touring artists in workshops and masterclasses at no extra charge.
Enrolment at The Academy is initially made by written application or invitation, after which time audition times and dates will be offered. The minimum standard required for application is Grade 5/6 level or equivalent and all instrumentalists are invited to apply. Two contrasting works are required for the audition, students are free to bring their own accompanist or they can audition unaccompanied.
After the auditions successful students will be invited to attend the academy and term fees will be payable. If an ensemble combination is not available for any successful student, they will not need to reaudition and will be offered a place in a subsequent term. Unsuccessful auditionees are welcome to re-audition at the end of any term.
Once accepted into the program, attendance at all rehearsals and performances is compulsory unless students are unable to attend for medical reasons.
The term fee per student is $150, payable by cash, credit card, bank transfer or eftpos upon acceptance into the program.
Thanks to the very generous sponsorship by Georgianna Nyman, a prestigious artist in the USA and former board member of the Boston Academy of Music, are able to offer term scholarships to two students per term. Initially the scholarships will be allocated based on audition results, and will then pass to other students as an award based on dedication and performance.