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String Chamber Music

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What is chamber music?
Chamber music is performed by small ensembles of fewer than a dozen players without the help of a conductor. Instead, each member of the ensemble demonstrates leadership skills at appropriate times. Chamber musicians, while playing as a group, also function as soloists in that they are each responsible for their own individual part, different from anyone else’s within the group.

As part of the CMS Chamber Music program, students will be assigned to an ensemble of 3 - 6 players of similar ability. Repertoire will be assigned ranging from classical, pop, and folk genres. Ensembles can range from traditional string quartets (2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello), to similar instrument ensembles (5 cellos in a cello choir) depending on enrollment.

Students participating in Chamber Music must have a basic ability to read music and will be responsible for learning the notes and rhythms to their chamber music pieces at home or with their private teachers prior to the first meeting, not during rehearsal times. Throughout the coachings, students will work on crucial chamber music skills of listening and responding to group members musically, leadership skills, diplomacy, rehearsing techniques, music history, composer information, and chamber music performance etiquette. The semester will conclude with an informal performance for family and friends.


Placement Audition:
All Chamber Music students will also be scheduled for a brief placement audition each semester. See below for the exact dates and times. Students will be asked to play a scale of their choice, a brief selection of a piece of their choice, and a sight-reading excerpt. The purpose of the placement audition is to enable us to put students with similar abilities together in groups. This day will also serve as a Meet and Greet where students will receive valuable information about the semester, and meet other participants.


Weekly Chamber Ensembles
Kathleen Powell, String Coordinator

Placement auditions:   
Hugh Hodgson School of Music

8 weeks of coachings: 
$120 each semester


Summer Weekly Chamber Ensembles

Placement auditions: Friday, May 19, 4:30 - 5:30pm (see below for online audition option)
5 weeks of coachings: Schedule determined per group once formed after placement auditions.


String Chamber Music Camp
Kathleen Powell, Coordinator

Summer 2024: July 15 - 18, 2024
Placement auditions: Friday, May 3rd, 4:30 - 5:30pm (see below for online audition option)
Hugh Hodgson School of Music
Tuition: $225

The Chamber Music Workshop is for students who would like to participate in chamber music but are not able to make the commitment of the weekly schedule. Instead, the Workshop will meet 4 consecutive days from 9:30 - 2. The schedule for each day is below.

9:15 - Check-in, get tuned
9:30 - 11:30 - Camp classes/rehearsals
11:30-12 - Lunch (students bring their own)
12:00 - 2:00 - Camp classes/rehearsals

The final camp performance will be held Thursday in Edge Hall during the 1-2pm hour. All family members and friends are welcome to attend!

Students will be organized into groups after the auditions date, and music will be sent via email. Students will spend part of the Workshop on performance repertoire. Each group will work with a different coach for Sight-reading at some point during the camp. This repertoire will be easier than their performance piece, and this opportunity enables the students to become more familiar with the chamber music repertoire available to them in the future, and to work with other faculty members.

Another type of camp class is masterclass on stage.  All groups and coaches will combine together and each group will have a short open rehearsal/coaching in front of the other groups. Audience members (other participants) will have the opportunity to give feedback (and learn constructive ways to do so). This will also be a time for students to learn and practice stage/performance etiquette, get to know more about the history of chamber music, and to interact with the other participants.


All participants will be asked to complete a placement audition by (TBD). This gives us the information we need to assemble groups and assign repertoire. Auditions can be completed in person or online.  Auditions consist of 2 scales of the musician's choice, and a 1-2 minute selection of music of their choice (solo piece, orchestra music, church music, etc.). 


Held at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, TBD.  Location details will be sent to those who choose to audition in person as part of the registration process. 



Please make a video performance, using the following guidelines. Upload that video to Youtube.  Make the video "unlisted" and include that link in your registration.

  • please be sure the camera is in landscape orientation
  • please be sure that the musician's full bow and instrument can be seen at all times in the video
  • place the music stand off to the side, if using, to not block the view of the musician.
  • scales and piece can be performed in one recording, or multiple separate recordings can be made.  Please combine into 1 continuous video, if separate videos are made.  Please include only one link in the registration form.
  • Please have your video audition to the CMS office ( by the placement audition date each semester.

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