Open Academy at Sydney Conservatorium of Music

  • Toddlers

Open Academy at the Con programs are designed to enable your children to dive deep into the rewarding world of music. 

Kids at the Con

The Kids at the Con program is designed to help children between the ages of 3 and 10 engage with the exciting world of music. Structured classes are presented in a challenging but non-competitive environment which encourages the development of artistic expression and creativity.

Based on both the Orff-Schulwerk approach and the Kodaly method, students will be introduced to music using singing, imitation, movement, playing tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments, improvisation, story-telling and guided listening activities.

All classes take place in the Conservatorium’s historic Macquarie Street buildings on Saturday and Wednesdays.

Red - 3 - 4 years olds

In the Red class, children focus on basic musical elements through exploring music with differentiation in pitch, beat and tempo. Motor skills are also improved using musical games. This class is perfect for preschoolers and parents/guardians are encouraged to attend.

Orange - 4 - 5 year olds

Building on foundational elements developed in the Red class, children are introduced to the first 5 solfa notes (doh-soh). Activities for group interaction are also encouraged as well as some exploration into improvisation. Our Orange class has a slightly faster pace than the Red class and begins to investigate rhythmic notation. As parents/guardians do not join in the class, it also encourages independent music-making.

Yellow - 5 - 6 years olds

In the Yellow class, children continue to experience beat, pitch, tempo, dynamics and structure through playing, singing and moving. Simple notation is introduced and rhythmic and aural elements become more complex. Ensemble work is explored in more detail. Working with different parts in both singing and on instruments contributes to a wider understanding of how music comes together. Our Yellow class is suited to children who have already started school, and who can read simple letters, numbers and words.

Green - 6 - 7 years olds

In the Green class, children continue to experience the elements of music through singing, moving and playing. Conventional music notation is introduced including rhythm, bass and treble clef. Ensemble work broadens to 3–4 parts and aural training also reflects this with more difficult solfege and learning of songs in more than 1 part. Many of the participants in this level have already begun individual instrumental lessons but this is not a prerequisite.

Blue - 7 - 10 year olds

In the Blue class, conventional and graphic notation are explored and a broader range of rhythmic and pitch concepts are used. Building on solfege of previous levels, more challenging ensemble and aural activities are presented. The participants in this level bring a diversity of musical experiences to class but share equally in experiencing and making music.

Rising Stars at the Con

The Rising Stars at the Con is a dynamic performance-based music education program. The program provides gifted school-age students with specialist tuition in a supportive environment that helps develop their musical and artistic skills.

At Rising Stars, we identify talent at an early age, laying a constructive foundation for a lifetime of musical achievement. Supported by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music faculty, the program is based on proven values of quality instrumental teaching, structured academic development, regular performance and the benefits of a strong and supportive musical peer group.

The Rising Stars program operates on 3 levels: Foundation Stars, Emerging Stars and Premier Stars to provide a development pathway for musical talent.

The Rising Stars program runs for on Saturdays 14 weeks per semester, with 2 semesters each year and entry is by audition only. 

Rising Stars Program Structure

The Rising Stars program has 3 levels which all focus on three essential elements:

1. Instrumental Lessons

Each student receives 60 minute weekly individual lessons from a Sydney Conservatorium of Music teacher, at the Conservatorium. Lesson times are agreed between teacher and student so are not necessarily restricted to Saturdays.

Tuition is available on the following instruments:

Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Harp, Classical Guitar

Woodwind: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone

Brass: French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium

Keyboard: Piano, Organ, Harpsichord


Students are also permitted to use the Conservatorium’s many practice rooms for their private practice time.

2. Performances

Premier and Emerging Rising Stars students present weekly Performance Platform concerts on Saturdays during the semester. Students are encouraged to perform regularly in these concerts supported and accompanied by professional associate artists. The concerts, which are free and open to the public, are held on Saturdays at 11am, 2pm and 3pm in the Conservatorium’s state of the art venues. The concerts provide students with invaluable experience in rehearsal techniques, pre-performance procedure, concert etiquette, stage presentation and also become familiar with the concert 'backstage experience'

Foundation Rising Stars have the opportunity to perform in a Gala concert, accompanied by professional associate artists, at the end of each semester.

3. Music Skills

In small weekly group lessons, Rising Stars students acquire a knowledge of music theory and history, aural, sight singing and analysis – all essential for academic and musical development. Advanced players progress to seminars presented by professional musicians and musicologists. Music Skills lessons all occur on Saturdays between 9am and 2pm. Exact class times depend upon the level that each student is placed into, which is determined by a diagnostic test taken when first joining the program.

Rising Star Levels

Premier Stars
Premier Stars receive weekly individual lessons, attend the Music Skills classes and are expected to perform in at least 3 concerts per semester. Premier Stars will also be occasionally invited to participate in additional concerts both at the Conservatorium and at external venues as ambassadors of the program.
Emerging Stars
Emerging Stars receive weekly individual lessons, attend the Music Skills classes and are expected to perform in at least 2 concerts per semester.
Foundation Stars
Foundation Stars receive weekly individual lessons, attend the Music Skills classes and are expected to perform in the Gala concert each semester.

All students wishing to join the program are auditioned the same way and will be placed in an appropriate level by the audition panel who will also allocate students to their instrumental teachers.

At the end of each year all students will sit a performance examination. Foundation and Emerging Stars can progress to the higher levels on the decision of the examination panel.

For more information and to book visit Open Academy at the Conservatorium of Music.

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