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Thurnauer School of Music

Performance Ensembles


Playing and singing in an ensemble gives students the incredible experience of performing with friends. Being in an ensemble teaches students how to listen and collaborate effectively with other musicians and instills valuable life skills.

The JCC Thurnauer School of Music is renowned as a center of artistic and educational excellence open to all. The school has inspired thousands of students and families—transforming lives and sharing the joy of music through outstanding instruction, concerts, master classes, community events, and partnerships with local schools.

We believe that music instruction is about the excitement and opportunity to experience and understand the range of responses one feels when listening to music and making music. To accomplish this, we recommend building on the learning that takes place in the private lesson with participation in instrumental group classes, ensembles, and theory and ear training classes.

For information, please call 201.408.1466.


Young People’s Chorus @Thurnauer

Join our award-winning youth chorus! YPC@T is an affiliate of the world-renowned Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Sing at weekly rehearsals and enjoy numerous performance opportunities throughout the year. Repertoire ranges from classical and contemporary to jazz and pop.

Weather permitting, classes will take place outside in our pavilion

30 Mon – Starts 10/4 – 4:00-4:55 pm

30 Mon – Starts 10/4 – 5:15-7:00 pm

YOUNG MEN’S CHOIR: AGES 11+ For boys with changing or changed voices
30 Tue – Starts 10/5 – 5:15-6:00 pm

Shirah Community Chorus

One of the largest independent Jewish choruses in the United States performing Jewish repertoire in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino, in three and four parts. New singers who are interested in joining are welcome to attend our first rehearsal on Tuesday, September 14 at 7:30 pm. For more information, contact choral director Marsha Edelman at

String Camerata

An exciting first orchestral experience for intermediate string players. Students learn how to listen, follow a conductor, and use their voices collaboratively and effectively to create something beautiful. Students experience the joys of making music and performing together as a group in this small ensemble setting.

30 Mon – Starts 10/4 – 5:40-6:40 pm

Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra


An excellent educational and nurturing environment where students gain a strong understanding of orchestral music and develop their ensemble skills. Students perform standard symphonic repertoire, popular selections and contemporary works. Sectional workshops focus on score studying, analysis and form, and interpretation skills. Winners of an annual concerto competition perform in a special concert.

30 Wed – Starts 10/6 – 5:00-6:30 pm

Flute Choir

JUNIOR FLUTE CHOIR: Intermediate-advanced flutists in grades 5-8 will enjoy making music together as they explore the challenges of the flute choir repertoire. Come join us to connect with fellow flutists in exciting practice and performance collaborations.

30 Tue – Starts 10/5 – 6:45-7:30 pm

SENIOR FLUTE CHOIR: Advanced flutists in grades 9-12 will enjoy making music together as they explore the challenges of the flute choir repertoire. Come join us to connect with fellow flutists in exciting practice and performance collaborations.

30 Tue – Starts 10/5 – 7:30-8:30 pm

Guitar Honors Ensemble

Open to select Suzuki guitar students (Book 3 and up) Students must demonstrate a high standard of technical and musical facility, as well as sight-reading skills, for their level. The curriculum focuses on building ensemble playing skills through learning original works and arrangements for guitar ensemble, with opportunities to perform in concerts. To give the students an exceptional learning and performing experience, all students are expected to supplement the work done in class with focused daily practice outside their private lesson practice.

30 Sun – Starts 10/3 – 3:00-4:00 pm

Percussion Ensemble

Prerequisite: Students must have basic rhythmic reading skills with quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes, and rests. Basic keyboard ability with scales and treble clef reading is preferred but not conditional.

Concurrent private lessons, either at the Thurnauer School or elsewhere, are required to learn parts. The notion of drummers playing together harks back to the beginning of mankind. Percussion Ensemble comes from that energy combined with the wealth of written pieces over the past century and fills a need for young players to have their own chamber music outlet. Students share melody, harmony and rhythm playing drums, marimba, timpani and many other instruments. Young percussionists improve overall musicianship, especially their skill in following a conductor. Intermediate and advanced percussionists have the opportunity to play as well in the Teen Town Jazz Ensembles and Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra.

30 Thu – Starts 10/7 – 7:00-8:00 pm

Teen Town Jazz Big Band

AGES 12+ Minimum 2 years instrumental experience required.

Play in a standard big band with arrangements in various styles of jazz including blues, swing, bebop, Afro-Cuban, modern and fusion in a 15-20 piece large ensemble comprising brass, woodwind and rhythm sections. Students develop reading and improvisation skills, with opportunities for section playing, blending, interpretation and soloing.

Explore the many ways you can learn and play jazz! Available for drums, percussion, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, flute, clarinet, piano, bass and guitar. We will also consider French horn, baritone horn, strings, tuba and vibraphone.

30 Sun – Starts 10/3 – 4:30-6:00 pm

Teen Town Jazz Combo

AGES 12+ Minimum 2 years instrumental experience required.

Play jazz standards in various styles including blues, swing, bebop, Afro-Cuban, modern and fusion in a small group of 4-8 musicians, comprising brass, woodwind and rhythm sections. Students develop ensemble playing and solo improvisation skills, learn how to express themselves and collaborate musically, and memorize songs, melodies, harmonies and chord progressions. Students also learn basic jazz theory: intervals, chords, basic harmonic progressions, voice-leading, scale theory, and form. Students observe, listen to, and learn about historical jazz figures, genres, and styles to provide the basis for understanding the evolution of musical trends and ideas.

30 Sun – Starts 10/3 – 2:45-4:15 pm

Chamber Music

Study and play some of the most beautiful music ever written. This ensemble experience offers instrumentalists the opportunity to learn chamber music while developing invaluable skills in musical expression. Working in small groups, students cultivate sophisticated listening skills, individual expressiveness and ensemble cohesion.

30 weeks – Starts 10/3 – Time TBD

Video Game Music Ensemble

AGES 13+

This performance group ensemble explores the variety of music in video games. From orchestral melodies to 8-bit chip tunes, jazz and more, this ensemble will engage students in the music they love and recognize from games. As we learn to perform each piece, students will expand their understanding of rhythm, harmony and musical composition.

Audition is required. Applications must submit a video performance of one piece of their choice, to be reviewed by the instructor.

30 Tue – Starts 10/5 – 5:00-5:45 pm


Why should my child study music?

  • In addition to the enormous personal enjoyment music brings, music study helps children learn how to learn.
  • Attending lessons and practicing an instrument each day teaches focus, concentration, patience, critical thinking and reflection – skills we use throughout our lives.
  • Studies have shown that “students engaged in music programs outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, ACT scores, attendance and discipline referrals.”
  • KU research establishes link between music education and academic achievement

Why should my child study at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music?

  • A school environment creates a community of musicians who inspire, motivate and befriend each other.
  • Students benefit musically and psychologically from the expertise of our excellent faculty, the School’s warm, nurturing atmosphere and the experience of hearing other students make music at different levels of musical development.
  • The Thurnauer School offers a stimulating variety of classes, performances, workshops, and recital opportunities.

Can my child just take private lessons at the Thurnauer School?

  • As an introduction to learning an instrument, students can take just a private lesson, but only during their first year at the school. Thereafter, all students must take one or more components as part of their music program.
  • Making music with others quickens the pace of learning and accomplishment. We also find that students have fun in these classes and that this is not only enriching but also highly motivational to them.
  • Children in a full program of music study are “stretched”, musically and intellectually, as they learn new things and exchange musical and verbal ideas with their peers.
  • A program that is limited to private lessons lacks the richness of learning about music. The more we understand, the more joy there is in playing and listening.

When should my child begin the study of music?

  • Learning about music can begin at birth. However, the best age to start an instrument varies with the instrument and the child’s physical development. For example, violinists and flutists can begin as young as 3, whereas trumpet players should be at least 8.
  • For children who are not yet ready to begin private lessons, we recommend our early childhood classes: Musical Explorers, Instrument Exploration, Piano Partners, and Young Drummers.
  • Our classes for young children stand on their own, but they are also developmental, and will introduce skills to help your child with further musical study if it’s desired. “Developmental” also means dynamic; each week builds on the previous lesson.

How should we help our child select an instrument?

  • The choice of instrument depends on the child’s interests, temperament and size. Most children have a natural affinity for a particular instrument or sound and, if given the chance to choose, will know what they like.
  • We encourage sitting in on lessons and classes at our School. Please contact our scheduling director to arrange for a visit or a trial lesson: 201-567-7900 Ext. 375 or
  • Attending professional concerts and student recitals with your child can also spark interest in a particular instrument. Children are welcome to attend any of our student recitals.

How do we select an instrumental teacher for your child?

At the Thurnauer School, a great deal of care is given to finding the best “match” from among our fine faculty. Music School Director Dorothy Roffman meets individually with each new student and parent(s) prior to enrollment, observing the child and learning about the family before assigning a teacher.

What is the registration process for new students?

The process is all handled online. It includes completing the registration form, enrolling in your choice of lessons and class, completing the scheduling forms, submitting a tuition deposit and, if you are enrolling ina private lesson program, scheduling a meeting with the Music School Director.

Do I need to register for the entire year?

With the exception of some early childhood classes, our curriculum is designed as a full, 30 week program. That said, you can withdraw within the first five weeks of classes for a prorated tuition and a $75 processing charge. Thereafter, partial refunds are available as stipulated in our Terms and Conditions.

Does the Music School offer a payment plan?

Yes. You can set up an eight month payment plan that withdraws funds from your bank account or charges your credit card automatically each month.

Does the Music School offer Financial Aid?

Yes. The Music School has a number of endowed funds earmarked for this purpose, and over 15%of our students receive some form of tuition scholarship. Scholarship forms are available online, or you may request one from the Financial Manager, Dan Jatovsky at

Are discounts available?

Yes. The following discounts are available for you and your family to enjoy the gift of music:

Sibling Discount
Save $25 off total tuition for a class or performance ensemble (if not part of a Private Lesson Program) SAVE $90 off total tuition for a Private Lesson Program

Refer a Friend Discount
Refer a new family who registers for private music lessons and you both get $100 off tuition

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