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Music Performing Ensembles

Playing in an ensemble gives students the incredible experience of performing! Not only does the experience teach students how to listen and collaborate effectively with other musicians, but it also instills life skills that can continuously be applied!

Choir of children singing on Founders day.

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.

Adult choir singing on stage.
Women in adult choir singing.
Orchestra bowing on stage.
Violinist with orchestra behind her on stage.
Woman holding sheet music.
Two young girls smiling at each other on stage.
Girls playing the cello on stage.
Two children doing a duet on stage.
Young girl playing the cello.
Youth choir performing on stage.


Young People’s Chorus

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 virtual and in-person rehearsals, learn how to read music, create fun mash-up videos, and make friends with others who love to sing! Repertoire ranges from classical and contemporary to jazz and pop. May be taken on its own without being part of a Young Artists Program.

Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra

An excellent intergenerational educational and nurturing environment where students gain a strong understanding of orchestral music and develop their ensemble skills. Virtual learning for symphonic repertoire includes weekly rehearsals, sectionals, workshops, discussions and playing assignments. Students come together at the start of rehearsal or at assigned times for each section of the orchestra. Sectional workshops focus on score studying, analysis and form, and interpretation skills. Students learn how to practice more effectively, attain proficiency in their own parts, grasp and appreciate what other players are learning in their parts, and listen to and read from scores.

String Camerata

An exciting first orchestral experience for intermediate string players. Students learn how to listen, follow a conductor, and use their voices effectively to create something beautiful. These aspects of music making are hard to learn without collaboration with other musicians. In remote learning, these skills continue to be learned and exercised. Students gain more responsibility and knowledge of how their musical voice fits into the group, with each musician receiving even more attention virtually than if they were rehearsing and playing together in person.

Teen Town Jazz Big Band and Small Combos

Play jazz standards in various styles including blues, swing, bebop, Afro-Cuban, modern and fusion in a small group of 4-6 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.

Ensembles are also available for percussion, flute, and guitar.


Thurnauer School of Music

Choral Intensive August


One-day choral intensive program $30

Thurnauer School of Music

Choral Intensive September


One-day choral intensive program $30

Thurnauer School of Music

Chamber Music 2021-22


Member $1045 as Elective;
Non-Member $1160 as Elective;
Member $680 as Component;
Non-Member $730 as Component

Thurnauer School of Music

Teen Town Jazz Combo 2021-22

Thurnauer School of Music

Guitar Honors Ensemble 2021-22


Member $755.00 as Elective;
Non-Member $840.00 as Elective;
Member $570.00 as Component;
Non-Member $620.00 as Component

Thurnauer School of Music

Teen Town Jazz Big Band 2021-22



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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A pair of adult hands and child hands holding a red heart.