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March 18, 2022

CIM Unveils New Academy Model for Middle & High School Music Students


Preparatory student

As the Cleveland Institute of Music celebrates 100 years of musical training for pre-college children, the school announces a new approach to build the next generation of classical musicians and classical music enthusiasts. Soon, middle and high school music students at the Cleveland Institute of Music will be served by a new program known as the Academy.

The Academy offers a robust, unified curriculum for students at all levels in their musical development. Launching this fall, the program’s educational activities and experiences will create a foundation for students’ future success, whether or not they intend to pursue a career in music.

In addition to private lessons, all students will participate in large and small ensembles, musicianship courses, studio classes and performance opportunities with the school’s renowned faculty. All, too, will benefit from regular juries, coaching and progress reports. With the Academy in place, CIM will be the pre-eminent center for pre-college music education in the Great Lakes region.

For most students, the Academy replaces CIM’s current preparatory program, which previously offered lessons, ensembles and select classes as stand alone activities only, limiting student opportunities to develop as complete musicians and benefit from a community of like-minded peers.

“We want our children to become confident and creative musicians,” said Scott Harrison, executive vice president and provost of CIM. “CIM’s expertise is in creating programs that address all aspects of musicianship and deliver well-rounded training at the highest possible level, and the Academy’s model of continuous musical development within a supportive community exemplifies this for our youngest students.”

The Academy will invite a new level of commitment from participants and their families. All students will immerse themselves in study, rehearsal and performance each Saturday. Lessons may take place during this time or be scheduled during the week.

Sean Schulze with student
Faculty Sean Schulze with student.

“As a music educator, I know that music students will be most successful with a curriculum that strengthens their playing or singing along with their musicianship and ensemble playing,” said Sean Schulze, faculty member and chair of preparatory piano. “Good work can happen with an individual lesson experience, but students make greater progress when they have access to a program like the Academy. I’m very excited about the impact the Academy will have on our students’ growth as they continue their musical journey.”

While the Academy is designed for students with some musical training, younger students will continue to have access to training at CIM. The entry-level Youth Program will introduce beginners to CIM and will include an option for Suzuki training. Youth Program members can expect their training to prepare them to enter the Academy.

The Academy is deeply rooted in CIM’s history. It harkens back to the educational model espoused in 1922 by CIM’s founder, composer Ernest Bloch, who sought to awaken in young players a “feeling for rhythm” and develop “qualities of appreciation, judgement and taste, and to stimulate understanding and love of music.” The Academy will return to the Great Lakes region the well-established youth programs currently found only in New York and California.

CIM was intentional about creating a program that would build the next generation of classical musicians and music enthusiasts while honoring its 100-year legacy. A taskforce composed of CIM board members, faculty and administrative staff spent some 15 months exploring, imagining and charting the direction of the program. From there, faculty and staff are driving forward details related to its operationalization.

“CIM is a force in music education, with a mission to help classical music students achieve their dreams and artistic potential,” said Paul W. Hogle, CIM’s president & CEO. “The Academy brings the spirit of CIM’s college-level program, whose graduates play on revered stages around the globe, to younger students who are early in their musical journey, at a level that is right for them. The future of preparatory training at CIM is as bright as it is important.”

Student musicians and families interested in learning more and applying to the program can visit cim.edu/academy. Applications open March 21, new students should apply by May 1, and auditions will take place in mid-May.