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CCM and its programs

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What makes CCM different from a regular chorus?

Above all else, CCM provides a solid music education that brings children to fluent music literacy—that is, the ability to read, write, and "hear" music— in a safe and nurturing environment. CCM is not just an activity where children meet to sing songs together and perform.

  • Unlike other children's choruses, music education is the heart of CCM. Music classes are the foundation of the program, not an extra offering; we develop young musicians from the ground up using the voice as the instrument. It is the quality of musicianship training that drives the quality of the performances.
  • Musicianship is taught in small groups twice per week; an arrangement that is far superior to once-a-week meetings. This is much preferable to the outdated “private voice lesson” or "private music lesson" approach which requires repetitive “practice” sessions to reinforce learning.
  • The activities are age-appropriate and play-based, designed to teach musicianship to children in a relaxed environment. If your child doesn’t enjoy music, they will not learn to love music, nor will they learn to read and write music.
  • The CCM Method for teaching music literacy is highly effective. CCM applies a hybrid of the Kodály Method and the Gordon Music Learning Theory – combining aesthetics and science – which was further extended by CCM Founder Dr. Betty Bertaux. Using singing, it develops in students the ability to listen with understanding, to perform with artistry, and to read, write, improvise and compose music.
  • CCM provides the children with highly skilled teachers trained in our pedagogic approach which is applicable to music instruction at all levels, from nursery school to advanced adult graduate study. To that end, CCM offers an early music education program, Crickets™, for the very young, in addition to the core Conservatory program.
What is the difference between Crickets™ and the Conservatory programs?


CricketsThe Crickets™ program is an early music education program for children ages 4-6 which applies the same pedagogical approach as the Conservatory program. Using fun musical activities and musical games, children learn music vocabulary, receive age-appropriate vocal training, and learn basic musicianship through audiation and other methods.

There is no audition required to join. Crickets™ do not perform in a choir like their older counterparts in the Conservatory Program. 50-minute classes run each semester depending on enrollment.

LEARN MORE about Crickets™.
Ready to register your child for Crickets™? REGISTER NOW


Conservatory: Beginners Conservatory: Beginners
Conservatory: Intermediates Conservatory: Intermediates
Conservatory: Solfas Conservatory: Solfas

The Conservatory program is the core music literacy and musicianship program of CCM for children ages 5½ years and up (age requirements are as of Sept. 1 each year).

Children who complete the Conservatory Program leave CCM with the equivalent of a year of college-level music theory, having acquired the knowledge and skills without compromising their young voices. Small group classes such as the CCM Conservatory musicianship classes are much more effective and preferred over private music lessons for children.

Children learn music faster and more joyfully in small groups, and no “homework” or painful outside “practice” sessions are required. CCM uses the voice as the music instrument in all training, where children learn to read and write music in addition to vocal training.

An audition is required to join this program.

LEARN MORE about CCM Conservatory or schedule an audition.

Why do classes meet twice a week when other music programs meet once a week?

Research shows that efficient and effective learning occurs with increased frequency of teaching. We'd love to teach your child everyday if it were possible! If your child is simply singing in a chorus, learning the music from tapes or from hearing it played on the piano, and rehearsing only once per week, they are receiving a lesser quality of music education than they would at CCM. At CCM, your child will study and learn the language of music and achieve music literacy. We place a strong emphasis in music education—not just performance.

Our ARTISTIC & EDUCATION STAFF are highly trained in the skills and theory that are the basis of the CCM Method.

What is the audition for the Conservatory program like?

The audition is a child-friendly, 20- to 30-minute series of games, imitative exercises, and physical activities for which no previous training or preparation is required. Held in a private setting, we encourage parents and guardians to observe. In addition to the activities mentioned, your child will be asked to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” and another song of their choice without accompaniment.

Children 10 years and older will generally need to have had some previous training or musical experience in order to be successfully placed in a CCM class.

Be assured that CCM faculty will give your child the utmost respect and consideration. You will receive a letter from CCM regarding the result of the audition in a few weeks.

Where do CCM students come from?
  • 30% reside in Baltimore City
  • 50% reside in Baltimore County
  • 20% reside in Harford, Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Prince George, Montgomery, and Queen Anne counties
  • 40% private schools, 40% public schools, 20% home schooled
How important are student attendance and commitment to the Conservatory program?

First, the high-level performance program which CCM maintains requires very dependable participation from all members. This is true of a professional ensemble. If two choristers in the same section (Soprano I, etc.) don't attend a rehearsal, the entire group will be out of balance and the rehearsal (and the rest of the ensemble) suffers.

Second, the educational program at CCM is so effective that classes move at a very fast pace. This is the same reason that we generally cannot accept new students mid-year or beginner students over the age of 9 or 10. There's just no way to catch up with the other children. We strive to avoid placing a child in a situation where they are likely to 'fail' - indeed, a major component of the Kodály approach is to ensure that every child, in every class, feels successful in their work. Every time a student misses a class, s/he misses a vital component of his or her education and runs the risk of not being able to catch up.

Third, in the midst of this world of disposable cell phones, sound bites, and instant gratification, we believe that we are teaching commitment, teamwork, dependability and responsibility to our choristers in addition to music and performance skills. We believe that these attributes will be even more valuable in our society as they become more and more scarce. We are training tomorrow's leaders.

What is an Annual Concert?
How are these concerts different from other events?

There are two annual performances each year in which the youngest to the oldest choir members perform on stage with professional musicians.

The Annual Winter Concert is held in early December to mark the end of the first semester. The second semester culminates in the Annual Spring Concert held at the end of April or early in May.

These concerts make up the two performances for our Beginner students who comprise the Treble Choir. The older students perform in other venues throughout the year. Read the response to the next question to better understand why our youngest choristers don't perform more often.

Part of the CCM Annual Spring Concert is devoted to recognizing and celebrating the year's graduates—those students who have completed our core program.

Why don't the youngest members perform more often?

Unlike the upper choirs, the Treble Choir (students in Beginner level classes) only performs twice a year in the Holiday and Spring Annual Concerts.

Every interview season, we meet young children who want to join CCM, and can't, because their voices have been damaged. Sometimes the cause is poor speaking habits or habitual yelling, and sometimes the cause is an over zealous singing 'career.' The parents of these children, upon receiving the advice to seek medical treatment immediately, are astonished. They tell us that they have never heard this from their doctor, pediatrician or any other teachers, and they are, rightfully, quite dismayed.

The vocal mechanisms of children, especially under the age of nine, are physically fragile, and need to be protected. We teach our younger choristers how to sing correctly and how to take care of their voices. They learn how to listen, how to audiate (hear the music in their heads without actually singing it), and many other vital musical skills that they will incorporate and build on once they start performing more and extending their musical studies. When they are ready, they will perform with musical understanding and healthy voices!

Where do CCM choirs perform?

CCM choirs often perform in world-class venues and international festivals such as:

CCM choirs have also been televised locally and worldwide.

See where CCM will be performing and other events for the current season.

An extensive list of venues appear under History and Performances.
Performances in recent years are listed here.

Do you perform with any professional groups and artists?

CCM often partners on collaborative performances with:

More examples of collaborative performances are listed here.

Do you ever go on tours or to festivals?

Select past and near future performances include tours and festivals in:

  • Kecskémet and Budapest, Hungary
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Hawaii
  • Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Banff, Canada
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Niagara Falls, Canada
How much do the music programs cost?
2017-2018 Rates

Rates vary based on class level placement as determined by the audition.
Please CONTACT US for more information.


For the latest class information, view the bottom of our REGISTRATION page.

Why do CCM programs seem to cost more than other music programs?

At $30 per hour, CCM actually costs less than most private lessons, and is much more effective and enjoyable for the children. When quality music education is received twice per week in small groups, no outside “homework” or tedious “practice” sessions are required. Since the children enjoy the CCM experience so much, they stay in the program and actually derive the many benefits of a comprehensive music education.

Ask yourself, which is the better investment: a fun program that children really enjoy where they learn better and faster or a painful regimen which requires repetitive, solitary “practice” from a child who may not really be enjoying the process?

Just singing is not enough

Other choral music programs may quote by the semester, meet only once per week, and not offer the same level of education in separate musicianship classes. Even if your child is taking separate music theory classes, will they be singing in a choir where others are not learning true musicianship? How limited will that experience be? How much fun would that be for your child?

Our ARTISTIC & EDUCATION STAFF are highly trained in the skills and theory that are the basis of the CCM Method.

Need more information?

Learn what makes CCM unique from other choral programs.
We invite you to contact us by phone or email if you have further questions. We'd love to hear from you!