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Why CCM is unique

A comprehensive music education

In the choral world, unfortunately, many vocal musicians learn new music by rote (by imitation and repetition). This practice robs the singer of the ability to truly converse musically. The Conservatory program at Children's Chorus of Maryland provides music literacy and musicianship training using the voice as the instrument. Ten graded levels of musicianship classes and three choirs meet twice weekly. Children who complete the Conservatory program have the equivalent of at least a first year college level of music education.

  • We teach small-group music classes that are separate from the rehearsals, so that musical skills can be taught thoroughly and individually in a fun and relaxed environment.
  • We use music and play together to develop a deep and abiding love of music in the children.
  • We teach how to care for the voice, how to use the voice correctly, and how to protect the voice from many ill advised musical activities, especially in small children.
  • We teach children to read and write music (music literacy).
  • We conduct classes and rehearsals twice a week rather than the usual one meeting per week. Increased frequency leads to better retention and mastery of musical concepts and theory, and the attainment of higher level skills over the course their CCM experience.
  • We provide skilled and highly trained teachers who intelligently employ effective methods for teaching music literacy. Our teachers are also vocal coaches who offer tutoring and private voice lessons where appropriates.

Developing the whole musician

True vocal music literacy in every single member creates choirs of accomplished performers who truly understand the sophisticated musical depths of the music they present. Not one child in any CCM choir is just a singer with no musicianship training. This comprehension is apparent and palpable even in very young children, and is often astonishing to audiences. Musically gifted children in particular respond to the CCM program, as it fills a deep need that more superficial music experiences (such as meeting only once per week, with no separate musicianship classes) were never designed to fill.

The education the children receive in musicianship class is reinforced in choir rehearsals where they are taught to consider more than their part in any piece of music. It is an approach which fosters genuine interest in every musical part—the different voices and instruments—and how they fit together to create a desired effect. This produces in each child a more nuanced and defined appreciation for the process of successfully combining various elements to create beautiful music.

Achieving music literacy is a gift for a lifetime

Providing effective, rigorous, play-based vocal and choral training in a supportive environment encourages students to embrace difficult work with enthusiasm. Children are challenged individually in musicianship classes—growing at their own pace—and learn to work as a team during choir practice, but they are also learning in less tangible ways. The youngest among them spontaneously begin to model themselves after the upper choirs; they begin to internalize the sense of purpose and intensity that the older children exhibit. Older children begin to develop into musicians capable of understanding the musical content of what they sing or read off the page. The skills and knowledge acquired during their years at CCM are an extraordinary beginning to rich musical lives no matter what path they choose to take after graduation.

Graduates take many qualities with them that are valued and modelled at CCM. They take with them a good work ethic, respect for others, a sophisticated aesthetic sensibility, and the ability to experience music at a deeper level thanks to the unique CCM training they receive that no other choral program in the DC/Baltimore area offers.

Transcripts are provided. A placement audition/interview is required for children 5½ and up to join the Conservatory Program (not Crickets™). Learn about the different class/choir levels and how to join the Conservatory program by clicking the button below.

Audition for the Conservatory program

More about CCM and its roots

The music programs at Children's Chorus of Maryland and School of Music are based on the pedagogical systems developed by Zoltán Kodály and Edwin E. Gordon, and the overarching vision of CCM founder, composer, and educator, Betty Bertaux. Follow the links below to learn more about: