Centre For Young Musicians

The Centre for Young Musicians offers school-aged children high-quality, sequential tuition in instrumental performance, led by our performance staff at the Elder Conservatorium of Music.

OMA student learning piano

In addition to weekly tuition on their instruments, students also participate in regular ensemble sessions, masterclasses, workshops and performances throughout the year. At each stage of their development students are offered opportunities that extend and inspire, with talent identified and fostered at an early age.

Alongside a focus on developing individual technical and performance skills there is an emphasis on developing each student into a confident, well rounded musician, within a positive musical peer group. Core teaching takes place at the Elder Conservatorium’s historical North Terrace buildings on Saturdays during school terms. 


  • Schedule

    Weekly sessions are held in Elder Hall & the Madley Building. Mid-year performance held in Hartley Concert Room, End of Year Concert held in Elder Hall.

    Lesson duration - Beginner: 30 minutes, Intermediate: 45 minutes, Advanced: 60 minutes

    Instrumental/voice lessons
    Term Dates
    Term 1 Saturday 15 February - Saturday 4 April
    Term 2 Saturday 9 May - Saturday 27 June
    Mid-year performance Sunday 28 June
    Term 3 Saturday 25 July - Saturday 12 September
    Term 4 Saturday 17 October - Saturday 12 December
    *Note: no lessons Saturday 7 November
    End of year performance Sunday 13 December
  • Fees

    Instrumental/voice lessons
      Per term Per year
    Beginner (30 minute lessons) $400 $1600
    Intermediate (45 minute lessons) $560 $2240
    Advanced (60 minute lessons) $720 $2880

    The fees quoted above include participation in masterclasses, workshops, ensemble activities and performances. 

    Siblings can enjoy 25% discount on fees.

    Apply now

  • Scholarships

    Regional & remote scholarships
    The Open Music Academy is proud to announce its Regional Scholarship program. The State Government supported program will provide bursaries & travel support for regional and remote students to travel to Adelaide for Open Music Academy events based at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. The program is intended to enable students, their teachers and family members to attend Open Music Academy events including 1:1 lessons, workshops & masterclasses and public performances. Students of all levels are welcome to apply and advanced students will also be eligible for our Local Stars program.

    Closing date for 2020: Friday 17 January

    Apply now

    Hardship scholarships
    If you are experiencing financial hardship, please send a brief email to the Open Music Academy outlining your circumstances. All applications for financial assistance will be treated with the utmost respect & confidentiality and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

    Donor funded scholarships
    The Open Music Academy and the Elder Conservatorium of Music have a few instrument based scholarships provided for each year by generous donor gifts. The scholarships are merit based and will be advertised at the beginning of each year. As the program develops, more opportunities for scholarships will arise.

Performance activities

  • Ensemble sessions

    String ensemble
    In this group the junior string students in the Open Music Academy are invited to come together in regular ensemble sessions, in which they will learn the fundamentals of string ensemble playing. There will be a focus on key string skills such as intonation, bow strokes and tone production as well as general musicianship skills such as aural awareness, rhythmic precision and communication in a group. This ensemble session will help all students to develop their skills to the next level in a fun, supportive environment.

    Junior Wind / Brass ensemble
    In this group the junior wind / brass students in the Open Music Academy are invited to come together in regular ensemble sessions, in which they will learn the fundamentals of wind / brass playing. There will be a focus on key skills such as intonation and tone production as well as general musicianship skills such as aural awareness, rhythmic precision and communication in a group. This ensemble session will help all students to develop their skills to the next level in a fun, supportive environment.

    Advanced wind and brass ensemble
    This group covers essential elements of brass and wind ensemble performance at an intermediate to advanced level. Students will cover a range of repertoire and will learn how to blend their sound, perfect group breathing techniques, harmonise and develop secure group intonation, and broaden their stylistic awareness.

    Junior choir
    In these sessions, all Open Music Academy students are invited to join together in a choir, led by highly experienced vocal teacher Sara Lambert. Singing is a crucial foundation skill for all musicians- it develops aural awareness, listening skills, security of intonation and a sense of phrasing. Through these sessions all students will develop a new level of confidence and positivity in their singing skills, as well as improving their general musicianship and ensemble skills.

    Senior choir
    This choir, directed by vocal superstar Desiree Frahn, will extend and develop your vocal skills in a fun and supportive environment. Students will develop their sight reading skills, improve their intonation and listening skills, learn how to blend their voices and work on breathing techniques. A range of repertoire will be covered across a variety of styles.

    Guitar ensemble
    An opportunity for guitar students to come together in a small ensemble to develop group listening skills, rhythmic precision, blending of sound and enjoy the special tone world of group guitar repertoire. Led by Caleb Lavery- Brook, the group will cover a broad range of repertoire from pop through flamenco to classical.

    Jazz/ pop ensemble
    This group is suitable for students who would like to come together in informal jam sessions to workshop charts together, improving ensemble skills and rhythmic awareness. These sessions will be held in the percussion studio, with students learning to listen to each other, follow direction, play from lead sheets and explore their creativity.

    Chamber music groups
    This activity is for intermediate and advanced students who would like to play together in small chamber groups, which will be offered coaching during the ensemble sessions on Saturdays. Playing chamber music is an excellent way to improve musicianship, listening and leadership skills, as well as being great fun. Please note that while we will make every effort to find a suitable group for all interested students, it may not be possible to place every student in a chamber group immediately as we will be matching students by age and level as well as instruments.

    Keyboard musicianship
    This group is suitable for intermediate to advanced piano students and will cover a broad range of keyboard skills including basic improvising, playing by ear, transposing, score reading, sight reading and reading figured bass. This session also offers an opportunity for piano students to come together as a group and discuss performance and technique skills.

    Rhythm classes
    Saturday mornings, 10:00 - 10.45am and 10:45 - 11.30am, Percussion Studio (Madley Building – Basement)
    Available to students aged 7 – 11, these sessions focus on developing strong rhythm skills through percussion and movement, and will also work on preparing repertoire for performance. While these sessions use percussion instruments they are open to students of all instruments, including voice. Students will improve their reading and counting skills, develop a strong sense of pulse and accurate subdivision of the beat. They will also develop fundamental ensemble skills such as following parts, following the conductor and blending with a group

    These sessions will be delivered by Amanda Grigg, Head of Brass & Percussion - Elder Conservatorium of Music.

  • Creative music making sessions

    These sessions will be available to all levels of musicians in the Centre for Young Musicians. Students will access their creativity, moving away from conventional music notation, supported by creative workshop leaders with experience in Australia and the United Kingdom. Through the creative music making sessions,  students will find that their musical confidence, communication skills and listening skills are all improved, supporting the development of their overall general musicianship.

  • Chamber music days

    Students will form into small ensembles and groups, developing their listening, communication and ensemble skills. These sessions will be supervised by some of Australia’s most experienced chamber musicians, giving students the chance to learn the secrets of small group music making from experts in the field.

  • Technique booster

    In these workshops all students will have their technical skills boosted and extended. Lead teachers from the Elder Conservatorium of Music will give their expert advice on specific technical challenges relevant to their instruments. Advanced students will be invited to share their learning with younger members of the Centre for Young Musicians, acting as ‘practice buddies’ and establishing a positive peer mentorship.

  • Side-by-side rehearsals

    Intermediate and Advanced Open Music Academy musicians will be given the opportunity to play side by side with Elder Conservatorium of Music students in rehearsals with the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra or Elder Conservatorium Wind Orchestra. There will be additional opportunities for Beginner level students to link with these ensembles, to broaden their horizons and interact with the next generation of South Australia’s professional musicians.

  • Performance skill workshops

    Students will be given expert advice and coaching in performance presentation, tone production, the secrets of a successful audition and how to communicate with an audience. The workshops will be led by core Elder Conservatorium of Music staff, as well as visiting guest artists.

2020 event calendar

The Open Music Academy is proud to offer exciting activities and events in 2020 including concert opportunities, masterclasses and creative workshops. Please download the 2020 event calendar for more information.

Junior Percussion Ensemble Program

The Open Music Academy Junior Percussion Ensemble Program gives young players the opportunity to improve their ensemble and individual performance skills in a supportive and challenging environment. The ensemble is designed to develop musicianship, technical proficiency, creativity, and aims to support the learning of highly motivated students of percussion.

Under the direction of Amanda Grigg, the ensemble rehearses on a fortnightly basis. Rehearsals are conducted in the Elder Conservatorium Percussion Studio, giving students the experience of performing on a wide range of percussion instruments. Students not only have the opportunity to find out what university life is like, but also contribute to, and benefit from the diverse musical life of the University of Adelaide. 

For further information on the Junior Percussion Ensemble Program, please contact Amanda Grigg, or apply now below. The Percussion ensemble is $250 per semester.