How We’re Making Music This Fall

Fall registration opens August 3rd, and we’re excited to welcome Merit families back for another year of music making! In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Merit School of Music will continue to host the majority of our fall programming online. As we saw in our recent Virtual Showcase concert, Merit students are accomplishing remarkable things in their online lessons and classes. The music doesn’t have to stop just because we’re all staying safe at home!

Here are some important programming changes that Merit families should take note of ahead of fall registration:

Instrumental & Vocal Music (Group Classes) and Early Childhood

Please note that this year’s Instrumental & Vocal Music and Early Childhood programming will be broken into two semesters. Your registration in August will reserve your student’s spot in class from September – January, and you should plan to complete a second registration in January for classes set to meet February – May. Our first semester – starting on September 28th and ending on February 1st – will be held entirely online. We will not be running large ensemble practice during this period of online learning. 

Registration for all Merit Instrumental & Vocal Music classes opens on August 3rd. Click below to explore some of the classes we’re offering this fall:

In addition to their virtual group classes, students will also have the opportunity to sign up for new, low-cost electives. These electives will cover an array of musical interests and give students the chance to try their hand at a new instrument or way of thinking about music.

Private Lessons

We’re delighted to share that after carefully considering advice from health experts and local authorities, Merit School of Music is able to resume limited in-person private lessons this fall at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center for some students who are 10 years of age and older and play non-wind instruments (such as strings, piano, guitar, etc.)  For your own safety and the wellbeing of our faculty and staff, please do not return to the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center until you and your teacher have confirmed that your lessons can resume in-person. Once you’re back onsite at Merit, you’ll see that we’ve updated our building with increased cleaning and an updated traffic flow to maximize the safety of the Merit community. 

All students will have the option to remain with virtual lessons through the 2020-2021 school year, and in-person private lessons will only resume if both the teacher and students are mutually agreeable to resuming onsite learning. Due to the nature of how the COVID-19 virus spreads, woodwinds, brass, and voice private lessons will remain virtual until further notice. We’re still in the process of determining if percussion private lessons can resume in-person this fall and will communicate with these students once we reach a final decision. 

Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory

We can’t wait for Conservatory to get started! This year, all Conservatory programming will be virtual from September to at least the end of January. We hope to resume in-person Conservatory programming in February, but will look to pandemic experts, local authorities, and Merit leadership to determine if it is safe to do so at that time. We will communicate our decision with Merit families in December. 

This fall, Conservatory students will continue to participate in large ensembles, music theory, small group classes, and Live from Gottlieb Hall – all from the comfort of home. Our faculty will use Zoom and other virtual platforms to facilitate group and one-on-one teaching, and we believe you’ll find that young musicians will achieve significant growth during this time of socially-distant learning. Along with a few of our regular Conservatory-specific elective classes which are included in our tuition-free experience, students will also have the opportunity to register for new, low-cost online electives covering an array of topics including music history, advanced theory (AP level), and ukulele. 

While the majority of Conservatory programming will be virtual, we will offer limited, in-person chamber instruction for piano and string groups in Merit’s competitive chamber division. For the safety of our students and faculty, in-person instruction will not be available for band or voice ensembles or ensembles of more than four students. 

We’re so proud of the many ways our students and faculty have kept the music going throughout the pandemic. We miss you all, and can’t wait to see you (online!) this fall.

Questions? Please email if you have any questions or concerns about Merit School of Music’s fall programming.