Program of Study
Sewanee Summer Music Festival offers an intensive program of study. Students are expected to attend the full month-long session. Rehearsal, performance, practice and study time are essentials to musical development, carefully balanced at the Festival.
Sewanee Summer Music Festival: June 20 – July 19, 2015
The all-inclusive tuition fee includes tuition, weekly lessons, daily chamber music coaching, room, meals, recreation, and University student service fees for the full session.
Accepted students must submit a non-refundable deposit of $250 within two weeks (14 days) of the dated acceptance letter in order to reserve a place in the Festival. Full payment of all fees is required by May 08, 2015. If payment is not received by this date, the student may forfeit his/her place to a student on the waiting list. Students withdrawing from the Festival after May 08 but before June 05, 2015, will receive a refund of 50% of the total fee. No refunds will be made after June 05, 2015.
Sewanee Summer Music Festival is open to high school, college, and graduate students. Applicants must be 12 years of age as of June 20, 2015.
Generous endowment support allows us to offer assistance to students based on merit and financial need. All students wishing to be considered for assistance must submit a completed Scholarship Application (at the same time as their Admission Application) by March 15, 2015.
Financial aid and scholarship awards are limited. Students wishing consideration for aid are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Students are also encouraged to explore funding sources in their own communities and through various organizations, corporations, foundations, and businesses. For more information and a complete listing of currently available SSMF scholarships, visit our scholarships page.
The orchestral program is a vital part of the Sewanee experience. SSMF maintains two full orchestras. Each rehearses daily and performs a program of challenging repertoire every week. In addition, the Festival Orchestra, comprised of faculty and our most advanced students, performs three times during the summer.
The Sewanee Symphony, for our most advanced students, is a pre-professional ensemble introducing students to the real world of orchestra life. Some of the most demanding orchestral repertoire, along with exciting new works, is led by renowned weekly guest conductors.
The Cumberland Orchestra performs a broad range of standard and new symphonic repertoire. This orchestra provides training in the skills necessary for successful orchestra musicians—ensemble, intonation development, rhythmic precision.
Orchestral assignments are made by the faculty each week and are based on ongoing assessments of students’ strengths, educational needs, and the repertoire. Our program is highly individualized, assuring that every student gains needed experience in a variety of roles within the orchestra.
Chamber Music Study
Chamber music is at the heart of our program and, more than anything, sets the Sewanee experience apart. We know that the study and performance of chamber music often does more to shape the musical lives of our students than any other experience. It is in the intense laboratory of the chamber ensemble that students become mature musicians, integrating their individual part and their own musical personality into a unified whole. From duos to small chamber orchestras, string quartets and wind quintets, the unique skills developed through chamber music are found nowhere else.
Every Sewanee student is assigned to a chamber ensemble each week, working daily with a faculty coach. At the end of the week ensembles perform for the camp on Student Chamber Music night. A panel of student judges selects ensembles for one of several public performances, including weekly concerts in the Guerry Garth, a beautiful outdoor cloister near the main quadrangle of campus. “Making Garth” is a mark of distinction for young artists and a motivator for their work each week.
Through our Chamber Music Program, students learn to prepare works on a timeline, to perform confidently and comfortably, and, of course, to enjoy and learn from the performances of others.
Private Study and Practice
All students receive a weekly private lesson with one of our artist-faculty members. Faculty members work closely with their studios, and master classes are frequent.
Student practice takes place during unscheduled morning and afternoon hours. Dorm rooms are the usual practice space, with other rooms around campus available as needed. Students work with their teachers to set expectations about practice appropriate for their age and ability level.
Advanced Chamber Ensemble Scholarship Program
Students are invited to apply to Sewanee as an ensemble. Ensembles selected for this program will work together for the entire summer and prepare special recital performances, in addition to participating in regular SSMF activities. The following ensembles are accepted:
- String quartets
- Piano quartets
- Wind or brass quartets
- Other ensembles, as approved
Scholarship award: $2000 per student, with the possibility of additional aid to meet exceptional need.
Duties: Students should expect 4 – 8 hours weekly of extra duties, such as assisting faculty with sectionals and studio classes, working with students needing extra help and performing at community engagement events.
To apply as an ensemble, choose “Chamber Ensemble” as your discipline in the Musiccas application process. Each member of the Ensemble must also apply as an individual to SSMF in their specific discipline.
Typical Daily Schedule
Typical Daily Schedule
8 am Yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, or studio warm-up
9 – 11 am Cumberland Orchestra rehearsal
9:30 am Sewanee Symphony rehearsal
1 – 3 pm Chamber ensemble coaching and rehearsal
3 – 5 pm Practice time, lessons, studio classes, special classes; recreation & relaxation
Evening Concerts, rehearsals, or social activities
While our daily schedule is packed with activity, we make sure to take time out for fun. One day each week is set aside for relaxation, with an optional field trip for hiking, caving, or swimming. Our Director of Residential Life plans many small activities: early morning trail runs, dorm movie nights, water balloon fights, ultimate Frisbee, and other special events our students request.
The 2015 schedule will be similar to the 2014 schedule. You can view the 2014 schedule on ssmf2014.sched.org.
Elective Study / Seminars
Extra-curricular classes are presented during the Festival and cover a wide range of topics. Classes for 2015 may include some of the following, as well as others based on student interest and faculty expertise:
- Physical Health and Injury Avoidance
- Channeling Performance Anxiety into Focused Energy
- Business Skills
- Composition, including use of ProTools, Finale, and other music software
- Audition preparation
- Career possibilities in a changing musical landscape
College Credit may be available through the University of the South in orchestra, chamber music, and applied music for a charge. Only students already enrolled in a U.S. college or university will be eligible for credit. Information about the availability and cost of college credit will be available in April 2015.