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About & FAQs

Register for the 2020-21 School Year!

Face the Music rehearsals and performances are suspended until at least April 19. Get Kaufman Music Center community updates related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The New Face of 21st Century Music

Face the Music is Kaufman Music Center’s contemporary music education program for teenagers, and the country’s only youth program dedicated to studying and performing post-genre music by living composers.
Praised for “stunning performances” by the New York Times, Face the Music features a collection of ensembles including a chamber orchestra, a jazz big-band, an improvisation collective, string quartets and mixed chamber-ensembles, all dedicated to studying and performing experimental, new-classical, new-jazz & avant-garde music written exclusively by living composers.

Face the Music members have unparalleled performance opportunities at high-profile NYC spaces like Merkin Hall, National Sawdust, Roulette, The Jazz Gallery and BAMcafé as well as experimental performance spaces and schools. Face the Music also offers mentorship, support and unique promotional opportunities to developing young performers and composers through its unparalleled network of professional contemporary musicians, organizations, media and venues.

For info about how to audition, email facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org or call 212 501 3360. Do you know teen musicians who may be interested? Download a printable flyer HERE.

Read about Face the Music in The New York Times and the National Sawdust Log.

Rehearsals take place on Sundays during the school year. See the full Rehearsal Schedule.

General FAQs

Who can participate in Face the Music?
How can I join Face the Music?
What kind of music does Face the Music play?
Where is Face the Music, and what kind of time commitment is required?
What kind of opportunities are there for student composers in Face the Music?
What is the tuition for the 2020-21 school year? Is financial aid available?
Where can I find rehearsal and performance schedules?
What do I need to bring to rehearsals?
How do I know which room we'll be rehearsing in at Special Music School High School?
Who do I contact if I'm going to be late or need to miss a rehearsal?
I am a parent/family member of a Face the Music student and would like to volunteer. How can I help?
I have a miscellaneous question. Who should I contact?
I have a cool idea for a project.

Q: Who can participate in Face the Music?
A: Music students ages 12-18 who want to explore cool and exciting new music, while creating and collaborating with some of the biggest names in contemporary music today. At least three years of instrumental experience are recommended. String players should have completed Suzuki Book 5. Composers at all levels, including beginners, are welcome.

Q: How can I join Face the Music?
A: Registration is open throughout the school year. Seating auditions are held Sunday afternoons during the first few weeks of September. Students are placed within the program based on interest, enthusiasm, commitment and skill. For information and registration, call 212 501 3360 or email facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org.

Q: What kind of music does Face the Music play?
A: Face the Music plays experimental, new-classical, new-jazz and avant-garde music written exclusively by living composers. Past seasons have included works by Maria Schneider, Greg Saunier, John King, Rhiannon Giddens, Sean Friar, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. Face the Music also performs works by its own member-composers. Students participate in ensembles including a chamber orchestra, a jazz big-band, an improvisation collective, string quartets and mixed chamber-ensembles.

Q: Where is Face the Music, and what kind of time commitment is required?
A: Face the Music is based at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex on 122 Amsterdam Ave. and West 65th St. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. All ensembles rehearse weekly on Sundays throughout the school year.

Q: I’m a student composer.  What kinds of opportunities could I have with Face the Music?
A: Face the Music is committed to studying and performing music written by its own student composer-performers!

Q: What is the tuition for the 2020-21 school year? Is financial aid available?

  • Performance Program (all students) - $700
    The core experience at Face the Music. All students play in a large ensemble, such as chamber orchestra, jazz band, improvisation ensemble, advanced jazz or advanced chamber. Weekly Sunday afternoon-evening rehearsals September to June (30 weeks). Multiple opportunities to work directly with living composers and prominent contemporary guest artists. Each ensemble gives four major concerts at exciting NYC venues. Special Music School High School students receive a 25% discount.

  • String Quartet (add-on) - $400
    By audition for violinists, violists and cellists. Students play in a string quartet September to June (30 weeks) which is coached weekly on Sunday afternoons preceding large ensemble rehearsals. Recent collaborations include Kronos Quartet, ETHEL, and JACK Quartet. Each student group gives two to four major performances at exciting NYC venues, including specialized performance opportunities. String quartet students play in the chamber orchestra for eight weeks.

  • Composition (add-on) - $450
    Face the Music is committed to supporting the creation and performance of music by its own student composers! Students receive eight 40-minute private lessons, a music theory and software notation crash course (parents can attend this), and a reading-recording session by professional musicians. Select pieces are invited to be performed by Face the Music. Previous composition experience not required!

  • Workshops (add-on) - $125
    Special workshops, such as Song-Writing, Conducting, or Electronics & Technology, meet for 6 weeks on Sunday afternoon before ensemble rehearsals. These workshops are open to students outside of Face the Music for a $450 tuition.

    Scholarships are available. For financial aid information, call 212 501 3360 or email facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org.

Q: Where can I find the rehearsal and performance schedules?
A: Please refer to our online Rehearsal Schedule and our Performance Calendar.

Q: What do I need to bring to rehearsals?
A: Your instrument, parts, a pencil and a positive attitude.

Q: How do I know which room we’ll be rehearsing in at Special Music School High School?
A: The schedule and location are included in our online detailed rehearsal calendar for current students, parents, and coaches. A password is required; please email hbestul@kaufmanmusiccenter.org if you need the password. Rehearsal locations are also posted on a whiteboard outside the black box theater at SMS High School on rehearsal days.

Q: Who do I contact if I’m going to be late or need to miss a rehearsal?
A: Contact Face the Music by emailing facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org, or call 917 441 3692 x 5.

Q: I’m a parent/family member of a Face the Music student and would like to volunteer. How can I help?
A: Volunteers are needed for transporting equipment to and from performances, helping with check-in at venues, assisting with recruitment efforts, and reaching out to potential venues, artists and collaborators. To discuss opportunities, please email facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org or call 917 441 3692 x 5. Volunteers working with students will need to have a background check as per Kaufman Music Center policy.

Q: I have a miscellaneous question. Who should I contact?
A: Is it about scheduling? Logistics? Minute details? Email Face the Music at facethemusic@kaufmanmusiccenter.org.

Q: I have a cool idea for a project.
A: Awesome! Share it with us! We’re totally open to new ideas and trying new things, and want to make this experience as exciting for you as possible!