Classes & Programs

The Symphony Academy offers classes and programs for kids and adults of all ages.

The Four Seasons Project

Sponsored by the Meier Bernstein Foundation

In collaboration with the Science Center of Iowa and The Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Symphony Academy is pleased to present The Four Seasons Project. The Project, sponsored by the Meier Bernstein Foundation, kicks off Friday, October 24 with a FREE and open to the public Master Class with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, who will coach four Des Moines Symphony Youth Symphony students playing each of the four movements of The Four Seasons. Meyers also plays The Four Seasons with the Des Moines Symphony on Saturday, October 25 & Sunday, October 26.

Instructors, faculty and lecturers from all four organizations will work with more than 90 students over the course of the 2014-2015 school year to integrate the different disciplines into exploring Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Participants will work alongside like-aged students, teachers, faculty and community members in this  nine-month, multi-disciplinary program that culminates with two performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, this spring.  

Des Moines Symphony Academy
: 35 students, comprised of Des Moines Symphony Youth Symphony string players and four student violin soloists, will perform Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Students will begin preparing music in November 2014.

Science Center of Iowa: Around 20 students will develop a science experience to enhance the performances of The Four Seasons. This student-led project will showcase how weather and climate dictate the changing seasons, and the project will be displayed at the performances. Work will begin in November 2014.

Des Moines Art Center: Around 20 Art Center students will create visual elements for the final performances, including set pieces, murals and lobby displays. Work will begin in January 2015.

THE FOUR SEASONS PROJECT SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (*Events are open to the public):
The Four Seasons Project Open Rehearsal
Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 7pm, Des Moines Civic Center
Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras students and collaborative partners will attend an open rehearsal of the Des Moines Symphony rehearsing The Four Seasons.  Youth Symphony students will sit onstage during this rehearsal.

Master Class with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers*
Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 4pm, Des Moines Civic Center, FREE
Youth Symphony violinists selected to perform each of the four concertos will work with Anne Akiko Meyers on their assigned concerto.

The Four Seasons with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers
Sat Oct 25 & Sun Oct 26, 2014, Des Moines Civic Center, $15-$55, half-price for students
Anne Akiko Meyers performs The Four Seasons with the Des Moines Symphony.

The Four Seasons Partners Kick-Off Event
Sun Jan 4, 2015 at 1pm, Science Center of Iowa
All student participants from each of the collaborative partners will attend an opening kick-off event to become acquainted with one another and learn more about the scope of this project.

Youth Symposium
Sun Mar 1, 2015 at 1pm, Des Moines Art Center
Partner organizations present a Youth Symposium for participating students to facilitate interdisciplinary experiences.

Art Center’s Art Sampler*
Sun Apr 12, 2015 at 1pm, Des Moines Art Center, FREE
Art Center hosts Art Sampler, a community event to promote The Four Seasons Project.

The Four Seasons Project Culminating Performances
Spring 2015
Culminating concerts of The Four Seasons Project.

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Adult Classes


Join Dr. Eric Saylor (pictured) for four informal and enjoyable classes that introduce you to the music the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra will perform during the 2014-2015 Season! This class is intended for anyone who enjoys music — from long-time Symphony-goers to those interested in attending their first concert. Enjoy the company of fellow music-lovers, a little wine and cheese and enlightening conversations.

2014-2015 Class Dates:
Wed Sep 24, Wed Oct 22
Wed Feb 4, Wed Apr 15
Time: 6:30-8:00pm
$15 per class
Location: The Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust Street

Please contact Joshua Barlage, Managing Director, Symphony Academy at Joshua@dmsymphony.org or 515.280.3332 for more information or to register for an Adult Class.


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Beginning Strings Program


Sydney Gerritsen

The Des Moines Symphony Academy’s Beginning Strings Program will provide young, aspiring musicians ages 4 and 5 years old with their first instructional experience on violin, viola or cello.

Group classes will be offered in four semesters yearly—Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer—each semester consisting of nine weeks of 45 minute weekly classes culminating in a large group class taking place during the tenth week, which will provide students with ensemble experience early on in the learning process.  Students may join at the start of any semester.

The Symphony Academy Beginning Strings Program is designed for students to enter the program at age four or five and continue on until they are prepared to begin private lessons at the Symphony Academy and participate in the Symphony Academy Youth Orchestras program. When they move into private studios, they will have all of the skills necessary to move forward with productive weekly private lessons and to be fully participatory members of the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras.

Download a copy of our Beginning Strings Program Flyer.  Learn more about our Program Director Sydney Gerritsen (pictured).
Classes are offered at The Temple for Performing Arts and area locations.

For more information about our Beginning String Program, please contact Joshua Barlage,  Managing Director, at 515.280.3332 or joshua@dmsymphony.org.

BSP Registration Fall 2014

To Register, return a completed Registration Form to:
Joshua Barlage
Managing Director
Des Moines Symphony Academy
The Temple for Performing Arts
1011 Locust Street, Suite 400
Des Moines, IA 50309
OR E-mail your completed registration form to joshua@dmsymphony.org.

The Beginning Strings Program is supported by a Community Betterment Grant from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

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Group Lessons for Young Beginners

Group Lessons for Young Beginners is a sequence of three pre-piano music levels for 3-6 year olds.


Level one, POCO PIANO is for
Children age three or four years old who have had no previous music instruction.

Level two, PRESTO PIANO is for
Children age four years old who have completed the Poco Piano level or ages five or six years old with no previous music instruction

Level three, PIANO PARTNERS is for
Graduates of our Presto Piano level. Piano Partners is specially designed to help students gain the necessary music fundamentals for a successful transition into private instrumental instruction.

The Des Moines Symphony Academy’s pre piano class curriculum will enrich your children’s knowledge and skills for a lifelong appreciation of music. During each of our weekly 45-minute classes your child will learn musical fundamentals through discovery-based activities within a nurturing, exploratory environment.  These fundamentals include reading musical notation, singing and moving to music, ensemble playing, improvisation, ear training and the mechanics of piano technique.

Parent participation is not necessary during class time. However, the Pre-piano class curriculum has been developed so you the parent or caregiver with some musical training can share in the fun of making music side-by-side with your child at home. The music used in class will be familiar to both you and your child having been carefully chosen from a rich heritage of nursery rhymes, folk songs and original compositions.

Group Lessons for Young Beginners is offered in (3) 9-week semesters (Fall, Winter and Spring), with shorter 3-week sessions in December, June and July.

Our class schedule is arranged to accommodate young musicians enrolled in either morning or afternoon pre-school programs.

All Group Lessons for Young Beginners classes are held in our Group Lessons Studio, 2nd floor at The Temple for Performing Arts

Class availability is subject to change.  Class enrollment is confirmed one week prior to the start of a given semester.

Fall Semester: week of  September 8 – November 3, 2014
December Intersession – week of December 1 – December 15, 2014
Winter Semester: week of January 5 – March 2, 2015
Spring Semester: week of March 23 – May 18, 2015

Fall 2014 Group Lessons for Young Beginners Registration Form – New Families

To Register, return a completed Registration Form to:
Joshua Barlage
Managing Director
Des Moines Symphony Academy
The Temple for Performing Arts
1011 Locust Street, Suite 400
Des Moines, IA 50309
OR E-mail your completed registration form to joshua@dmsymphony.org.



Classes that do not enroll the required minimum number of students 5 days prior to class convening may be cancelled. Students that have paid for a cancelled class will receive a refund or may apply credit to another class or private lesson.

Any class missed due to inclement weather or faculty absence will be made up. No other make-ups will be offered.

If a family needs to drop a class, the Des Moines Symphony Academy will consider refunding the classes missed if dropped within the first 2 weeks of the semester.

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