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Saturday Conservatory of Music FAQs

Our classes are currently being conducted on Zoom, using Google Classroom to
communicate with students and email to stay in touch with parents.

The standard tuition of $140 plus $10 non-refundable registration fee includes a group instrument lesson, a theory class and an ensemble class. If you would like to take an additional instrument, it will cost an additional $40. If you would like to take an additional ensemble, it will cost an additional $10.

Theory and ensemble classes provide different types of music training that cannot be taught in instrument lessons. Each class is important in its own respect, and each bolsters and reinforces what the child learns in the other classes, forming a much more solid, comprehensive foundation. For this reason, we do not offer one class without the others.

Theory is fundamental to all music education. It is designed to teach students to recognize note values, key and time signatures, sight reading, as well as ear training. What you learn in the theory class will be reinforced in your group lesson as well as your ensemble class, and it will hasten your progress.

You must learn your instrument at the conservatory for at least one year, or you must be taking private lessons, before you can sign up for an orchestra because you need to be able to demonstrate that you can hold and play the instrument properly and be able to read the music being performed in orchestra. It is a really fun experience if you aren’t struggling to read the music. It can be frustrating when the prerequisite proficiency hasn’t been met. We want our students to enjoy music.

Some instruments do not lend themselves to the orchestra ensemble: piano, guitar, and voice. Students can enroll in choir to get the ensemble experience, and apply what is learned in theory to the choral experience.

Yes, students taking private lessons can sign up for additional instruments or Jazz Improvisation. Jazz Improv students are encouraged to concurrently enroll in Intermediate Orchestra

Yes, we have many ensembles: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras, two string ensembles, two choirs, and Jazz Improv Lab. Youth Symphony West is our highest level orchestra, with a rehearsal from noon to 2:00 pm.

Members of the Advanced Orchestra are encouraged to audition for YSW. Students wishing to participate in more than one ensemble can add an ensemble for $10 per quarter.

The student is allowed to take a class as many times as needed until they master the concepts. Repetition and drilling are the key to success in music. If you feel that you are not progressing after taking the class once, we encourage you to repeat the class again until you get it. Speak to one of our staff or teachers to discuss your concerns.

We accept students from 6- to 20-years-old for instrument lessons. Anyone can learn an instrument at any time as long as you consistently practice 30 minutes each day and have access to an instrument.

Yes, our Music Jungle class! It is a kid-friendly, activity-oriented class for pre- and early-readers who are new to music. Children are introduced to basic music concepts and instrument families, hear stories about composers, and listen to different types of music. They also take “field trips” to other classrooms to see, hear, and sometimes hold and play musical instruments. This is a one-hour program—no instrument lesson, theory class or ensemble.

If you are not currently in a school music program and need an instrument, please visit our staff in the bookstore for a list of local music stores that sell or rent instruments.

Our voice students perform quarterly during the 9th week student recitals. In addition, most of our voice students are in one of our two choirs, which perform during the concert.

The conservatory is always looking for volunteers to help out in ALL areas of operations. Here are a few ways parents can help:

 Donate snacks and drinks
 Donate money
 Volunteer to help
 Spread the word—tell people you know about Saturday Conservatory of Music!

If you are interested in helping, please leave your contact information and area of interest or expertise with one of the registration desk workers or email us at

We do our best to assess the best class level for each student. There are times when a student is between levels. In order to ensure accurate placements, please speak to the teacher to further assess the situation.

Saturday Conservatory of Music does not offer a summer quarter. Summers become more complicated for the type of program we provide due to family (and teacher) vacations, sports activities and camps.

See our short video on the registration process here: and download our enrollment form here:

Students can preregister for the winter and spring quarters, but not the fall quarter. Some students advance during the summer, some fall behind a bit. Likewise, some students who passed a theory test may forget some of the material over the summer. For this reason all students, new and returning, audition and take a theory placement test on fall registration day. The process takes a while, so there are no classes on fall registration day. Students returning in the winter and spring quarters can preregister up to three weeks before the start of the new quarter, and simply enroll in the same classes they were in before.

Our Jazz Improvisation Lab is a dynamic class for students who have reached at least intermediate level in their instrument and music theory. It teaches jazz theory and techniques. It also introduces students to the art of improvisation and gives them the tools needed to create melodies at a simple harmonic level. Students participate in a small jazz ensemble. Other prerequisit