The Des Moines Symphony Academy is pleased to call The Temple for Performing Arts its home. The Symphony Academy celebrated its grand opening on September 8, 2003, beginning its mission to provide the very best music education experiences for musicians of all ages. The Symphony Academy’s facility includes eight private teaching studios, a chamber music studio, a group keyboard studio and two performance halls, and it is the home of the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras and Youth Wind Ensemble and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s extensive music library.


The Des Moines Symphony Academy will be a musical community of excellence where talented and motivated instrumental students will become accomplished musicians through musical study and memorable performances taught, directed and mentored by recognized professional musicians and educators.

A vital extension of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, in cooperation with school music and home study programs, the Symphony Academy will encourage and inspire students while building and nurturing collegial relationships.

The Symphony Academy will provide an opportunity for students to pursue excellence and achieve their musical goals; performing, appreciating and preparing a strong foundation for a lifetime of great music.



Joshua Barlage, Managing Director
Des Moines Symphony Academy
The Temple for Performing Arts
1011 Locust Street, Suite 400
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: 515.280.3332


The Symphony Academy is a musical community of excellence, a place where talented and motivated instrumental students of all ages are taught, directed and mentored by recognized professional musicians and educators.

You, your children and grandchildren will be enriched by quality music instruction, from private lessons, chamber music and three Youth Orchestras, to Group Lessons for Young Beginners, adult education, master classes, residencies by some of the world’s most gifted artists – and so much more.

Making music actually transforms the brain in positive and permanent ways, evidence shows. Neurologist Gottfried Schlaug discovered a substantial difference between the brains of musicians and non-musicians: musicians’ brains had larger connective fibers that carry messages between the sides of the brains, especially in the regions that link sensory perception and voluntary movement. And, perhaps what is most revealing is that musicians who had begun training before the age of seven reaped the most benefits of brain resilience and nimbleness.

Making music requires coordination among many areas of the brain, including regions that develop emotions and memories, and process sights and sounds. We know there is a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement:

• Students with music performance experience score up to 57 points higher on their standardized tests and have increased problem-solving skills.

• In a recent study from Northwestern University, researchers demonstrated that children with a stronger rhythmic sense were able to clearly process sound in their brains, which has been linked to stronger reading and language proficiency.

• A University of Toronto study showed that six-year-olds who engaged in music lessons over the course of one year showed a three-point boost in IQ over children taking drama or no lessons at all.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that “Prior research has linked the kinds of brain signals seen in those with musical training to heightened auditory perception, better auditory-based communication skills and improved executive function. The last of these – executive function – encompasses such key learning skills as attention, organization, short-term memory and reasoning. So boosting that in enduring ways could arguably give the kid who took music lessons an academic edge for years after the lessons ended.”

Music has also been linked to improved self-esteem; and we know from our experience, it provides years of enjoyment and enrichment. It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote, “Do not neglect your music, it will be a companion which will sweeten many hours of life for you.” We look forward to accompanying you on your musical journey here at the Des Moines Symphony Academy and helping you make memories, achieve your musical goals and enjoy Great Music … For a Lifetime.


The Des Moines Symphony Academy admits students of any race, color, national origin and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.

It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs and other school-administered programs.