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Registration & FAQs

Read about Face the Music in the New York Times! Read about Face the Music in the New York Times!
Registration is always open to young musicians age 12 to 18.
Registration is always open to young musicians age 12 to 18.

To register, call 212 501 3360.

Face the Music inspires “a sub-culture where Radiohead and Portishead cross-pollinate with Bartók and Dvorák, where orchestral music feels newly relevant as a medium of self-expression.”
                              - New York Magazine

Seating auditions for the 2018-19 year: Sun, Sep 9, 16 & 23, 2018
Rehearsals begin Sun, Sep 23, 2018.

What is Face the Music?
Face the Music is a community of performers, composers, students, educators, and ensembles, dedicated to studying and performing contemporary music by living composers. Face the Music presents over twenty concerts a year at professional venues and performance spaces all over New York City, and each season collaborates with nearly twenty professional composers and performers. A fixture in NYC's new music world, Face the Music includes large ensembles, advanced projects and string quartets.

face the music programs

Performance Program - $600
The core experience at Face the Music. All members register for this and play in any number of large or small chamber ensembles, ranging from jazz bands to chamber orchestras to rock and improvisation groups. Each student gives approx. four performances at professional concert venues throughout the year, and works directly with living composers. Members may also perform in any number of smaller ensembles like our Advanced Projects and also work on music created by their fellow student composer-performers. Special Music School High School students receive a 25% discount and pay only $450 plus the $40 registration fee. SMS K-8 students pay the $600 tuition, plus the $40 registration fee.

String Quartet (add-on) - $400
Students rehearse weekly with the same group, are coached by a NYC contemporary-music professional and work closely with a professional string quartet ensemble miltiple times throughout the year. FTM string quartets perform approx. four times and participate in high-profile collaborative opportunities.

Composition (add-on) - $160
Face the Music is committed to supporting and performing the music of its own students. Composition works submitted are either coached and workshopped in rehearsals, culminating in a public performance at a professional venue,or receive a reading-recording session.

All prices above do not include a non-refundable $40 registration fee. Current students may register for the 2017-18 school year before May 1, 2017 to lock in last year's tuition rate.

How to Be A Part of Face the Music
Face the Music is a deeply scholarship'd program with 150 seats available to students from all over the NYC tri-state area. Registration is open, and placement auditions are held in September. Students are placed within the program based on interest, enthusiasm, commitment and skill. Annual tuition covers a third of the cost of participation.  Financial Aid applications are due Monday August 14 and Tuition is due Tuesday September 5.

How to register: Call the Registrar's Office at 212 501 3360 or 212 501 3364.
For more info:  Email facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org or call 917 441 3692, ext. 5.

Registration Form
Financial Aid Form


Who Is Face the Music open to?
Instrumentalists and composers ages approximately 12-18, who are passionate about learning and performing music, with a curiosity about contemporary, experimental music, and original composition. FTM has ensembles for all groups of instrumentalists: orchestra, chamber, amplified, rock, jazz and improvisation, percussion, and those outside of western traditions!

Where can I find recordings of Face the Music performances?
Visit Face the Music's YouTube playlist for selected recordings.

What is the concert schedule?
For upcoming performances, click here.

Is it competitive? Is there an audition? What are the requirements for instrumentalists?
Face the Music students have a passion and curiosity about new and experimental music. Because there are a variety of different ensembles, FTM accommodates different skill levels, styles of music, techniques, and age groups. Although FTM is not inherently competitive, we do recommend new students meet a certain standard of instrumental ability, so they can succeed in ensemble playing. The recommended repertoire levels are found below. If you are completely new to FTM, after completing a registration form, please email us ashort youtube/cell phonevideo of your playing, and sign up for a September Placement Session here.

How does the composition program work? What are the requirements for composers?
All Face the Music students are performers in our ensembles, and many are also composers. These composer-performers write music for their FTM ensembles or friends. Some composers are very experienced and some are writing music for the first time! These student works are coached by a mentor, then rehearsed at a Sunday rehearsal, and finally performed at a Face the Music concert at a professional venue in NYC. Because FTM values a sense of communal creativity, the only requirement for composers is that they play in an FTM ensemble.

What are the recommended playing levels? Am I good enough for Face the Music?
These are the recommended minimum playing levels for our ensembles, and reflect approximate playing levels.

Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Doublebass

  •  Beginner: Suzuki upper book 4/lower book 5
  •  Intermediate: Accolay Concerto
  •  Advanced: Mozart Concerto 3

String Quartets and FTMPHIL (chamber orchestra)

    Intermediate advanced level of playing


  •  Flute: Berbiguier 18 Exercises/Etudes; Anderson 24 Etudes
  •  Clarinet: Rose Etude Book, Klosé Method Book
  •  Oboe: Barret Method Book, 40 Progressive Melodies; Ferling 48 Studies
  •  Bassoon: Weissenborn Bassoon Studies
  •  Saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone): Ferling 48 Studies


  •  Trumpet: Fischer Etudes, Arban’s syncopation studies, Clark
  •  Horn: Kopprasch Book 1, Alphonse Books 14
  •  Trombone: Rochut Etudes,
  •  Tuba: Arban, Remington Flexibility Studies

Percussion & Drumset

  •  First 10 of Vic Firth’s 40 rudiments at 1/4 note = 90. One snare drum solo.
  •  Mallet solos on marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone.
  •  Basic rock and jazz patterns on drumset.

Guitar and Electric Bass

  •  Familiarity with The Berklee Series “A Modern Method for Guitar” by William Leavitt.

Improvisation Ensemble (Sound Bite Orchestra/SBO)

  • Concert C, G, & D major scales. Basic western music notation reading ability such as grade 23 works like Melodious and Progressive studies by Hite. Interest in improvised music. Previous experience with improvisation is not required.

Jazz BigBand (Samurai Mama Big Band/SMBB)

  • Ability to read grade 45 music, and ability to play solo transcriptions such as the Charlie Parker Omnibook, Miles Davis transcriptions etc. Improvise over a blues in F and Bb, and Improvising over more advanced tunes such as Autumn Leaves and There Will Never Be Another You will be helpful.

Advanced Jazz Ensemble (AP)

  • High level of reading ability and ear training. Ability to play advanced etudes such as Ferling or Rose. John Coltrane Omnibook solos. Interest in learning complex rhythms and polyrhythms. Able to play and improvise over Donna Lee.

Advanced Jazz Ensemble (AP)

  • High level of reading ability and ear training. Ability to play advanced etudes such as Ferling or Rose. John Coltrane Omnibook solos. Interest in learning complex rhythms and polyrhythms. Able to play and improvise over Donna Lee.

When are rehearsals and concerts held?
The majority of rehearsals are held Sundays between 2 and 8 pm. All large ensembles, string quartets, jazz and improvisation ensembles meet then. Select groups meet afterschool.Concerts are held any ev ening throughout the week, and are scheduled and communicated in advance. Concert call times are usually 4:30 pm, performances usually begin at 7 pm and are finished by 8:30 pm.

What are the various ensembles and their rehearsal schedules?
Please see this schedule here.

When does Face the Music run its program? Do students participate the entire year? Is there a summer program?
Face the Music runs September through June. The majority of our students participate throughout the entire school year, meeting every Sunday, and a few students participate only for two thirds of the year. String quartet students are required to participate every Sunday, September through June. Face the Music doesn’t hold a regular summer program, however, there’s usually one special performance given each summer.

How many ensembles does a typical Face the Music student play in. How many concerts per year?
How many pieces?

A typical Face t he Music student plays in two ensembles every Sunday, which is 23 hours of rehearsal. Each ensemble gives 45 performances throughout the year, learning and performing 45pieces of music.

What is tuition and how much does Face the Music cost?
The Performance Program tuition is $600 for the entire year, and all students register for this. Students may play in any number of large ensembles, small ensembles and special projects that they choose. String quartets are an additional $400 ($1,000 total), and composition is an additional $160.

What’s the $40 registration fee? Is it refundable? When is tuition due?
All prospective new students, before attending a Placement Session, or attending their first rehearsal, must pay the nonrefundable $40 registration fee. When a student decides that they want to continue in Face the Music for the entire season, tuition is due at the second rehearsal. Refunds are not issued, and tuition is prorated for new students by 50% after March.

What is the attendance policy?
Students are given a total of 4 excused absences they may use throughout the year. These cannot be used on special rehearsal dates, such as when a guest artist visits, or the final rehearsal day before a major concert. String Quartet students must be particularly strict about their attendance, because absences are particularly harmful to groups of only 4 players.

Is there financial aid for Face the Music?
Financial aid is limited, but available to students who show high merit and need. Please email
facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org for more information.

Face the Music

Tel: 917 441 3692, ext. 5

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