Classes & Programs

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

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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Summer Programs

The Symphony Academy’s Summer Camps and Workshops are geared to providing a challenging, yet nurturing music learning environment for young musicians at various levels of their musical development. Musicians will gather to make music, improve musicianship and listening skills and work with professional musicians; all while creating lasting friendships.  Students should expect to be challenged through new experiences with fellow players.  Instructors will give participants encouragement and a fresh perspective.  Previous enrollment in Symphony Academy programs is not required; students from all schools and private teachers are welcome! Fill your summer with musical memories at the Des Moines Symphony Academy.

Join us for one of our Remaining 2014 Summer Programs!

To Register: Please complete a Summer Programs Registration Form and return it to:
Joshua Barlage, Managing Director
Des Moines Symphony Academy
The Temple for Performing Arts
1011 Locust Street, Suite 200
Des Moines, IA 50309
or e-mail your completed registration form to joshua@dmsymphony.org

Symphony Academy 2014 Summer Program Registration Form



Instructor: Aaron Williams
Dates: Dates: Mon – Thr, Jul 14-17, 2014
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Performance: Thr, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
Location: Grand Hall
Ages: 6th – 12TH Grade
Tuition: $80.00 per musician, includes (4) 90-min sessions
Minimum Enrollment: 4

Big grooves and funky beats are what this ensemble is all about. Have fun this summer playing high-powered percussion ensemble music with other percussionists. Music will be distributed on the first day of camp.



Instructors: Matt Meyer, Michele Senger
Dates: Mon – Thr, Aug 11-14, 2014; Mon  & Tue, Aug 18 & 19, 2014
Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Performance: Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Grand & Recital Halls
Tuition per musician: $150.00, includes (6) 90 minute sessions
Minimum Enrollment: 7 musicians per ensemble

Ensemble 1 – Musicians in Suzuki Books 1-4
Ensemble 2 – Musicians in Suzuki Books 5+

Rosin up those bows for our Summer String Orchestra Camp.  Participants will work with Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestra conductors on challenging, age-appropriate repertoire for string orchestra.
Program Overview: (2) Large Ensemble Orchestral Program



Instructor: Mary Foss
Dates: Mon – Thr, Jul 14-17, 2014
Time: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Performance: Thr, Jul 17, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Location: Recital Hall
Tuition: $155 per musician, includes (4) 2-hour sessions
Minimum Enrollment: 4

Beginning, intermediate and advanced harpists are welcome!  This course is a great way to learn ensemble techniques, listening skills, phrasing and tuning using intervals.  Students will rehearse ensemble repertoire, which will be mailed prior to the first class.  Styles covered include classical, Celtic, and jazz.  Players will perform solo repertoire for critique.  We encourage you to bring your own instrument.  For more info or to arrange to use a harp, please contact Mary Foss at 515.480-3275.



Instructors: Various Symphony Academy Faculty
Session 1: Dates: Mon – Thr, Jul 21-24, 2014
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Performance: Thr, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Session 2
Dates: Mon – Thr, Aug 4-7, 2014
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Performance: Thr, Aug 7, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Grand & Recital Halls
Ages: 7th grade through Adult
Tuition: $130 per musician per session, includes (4) 90-minute sessions
Minimum Enrollment: 3 musicians per group

Piano, wind and brass players are invited to perform chamber music here at the Symphony Academy.  Musicians will be grouped by grade and experience into trios, quartets and mixed ensembles.  Repertoire will be mailed in advance.  Each group will be coached by a member of the Symphony Academy faculty.  Groups will explore chamber repertoire while building confident and leadership skills as a young musician.  Existing groups also welcome!


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