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

    The Open Music Academy offers 9 weekly lessons during each school term across the year. For the most part, lessons are held on Saturdays in Elder Hall or the Madley Building.

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

    Instrumental/voice lessons
    Term Dates Application Closing Dates
    Term 1 Saturday 4 February - Saturday 1 April Wednesday 11 January
    Term 2 Saturday 6 May - Saturday 8 July Friday 31 March
    Mid-year performance Sunday 2 July (TBC)  
    Term 3 Saturday 29 July - Saturday 23 September TBC
    Term 4 Saturday 14 October - Saturday 9 December TBC
    End of year performance Sunday 10 December (TBC)  
  • Fees

    Instrumental / voice lessons - 9 per term
      Fee per term
    Beginner (30 minute lessons) $482
    Intermediate (45 minute lessons) $675
    Advanced (60 minute lessons) $867

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

    Apply now

    Bursary application form

  • Scholarships

    Regional Scholarship Program
    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.

    Apply now

    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 (Junior and Intermediate)
    In these groups 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. These ensemble sessions will help all students to develop their skills to the next level in a fun, supportive environment. If you are unsure which ensemble is best for you, please contact us for further information.

    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.

    Vocal Musicianship
    In these sessions, all Open Music Academy students are invited to join together in a choir, led by highly experienced vocal teacher Fiona McArdle. 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.

    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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Informal Performance

    Our informal performance sessions present an opportunity for all Open Music Academy students to develop their confidence as performers by playing/ singing a piece in an informal, supportive environment. It is very important for students to have regular performance opportunities to maximise their motivation and progress. Like every skill, performing also becomes easier with practice, and these sessions are designed to help our students to develop a positive attitude to performing. An accompanist is provided for these sessions.

2023 event calendar

The Open Music Academy is proud to offer exciting activities and events in 2023 including concert opportunities, masterclasses and creative workshops - details coming soon.