Education & Community

Accelerando - FAQs

What is Accelerando?

Accelerando is an intensive education program designed to prepare gifted young students of ethnically diverse backgrounds to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond.

 

Why Accelerando?

  • Less than 5% of musicians in American orchestras are African American or Latino
  • 6.7% of undergraduate music majors at American conservatories and music schools are African American
  • 5.2% of undergraduate music majors at American conservatories and music schools are Latino

Data taken from "Breaking Through," by Susan Elliot, Symphony Magazine, July-August 2010

Accelerando will prepare students from ethnically diverse backgrounds to win auditions and gain entrance to music school, and thereby to eventually become professional orchestral musicians. Over the coming generation, this program will help change the musician personnel of American orchestras to a diverse demographic that more accurately reflects the diversity of the American populace.

​Nashville is becoming increasingly diverse  every year – our population includes not only African Americans and Latinos, but other underrepresented communities as well. Students from these communities will also be considered for Accelerando.

Learn more about diversity and American orchestras: 

 

What is the curriculum of Accelerando? What will participating students receive?

Accelerando students will:

  • receive year-round instruction from a Nashville Symphony musician or other highly qualified local instructor
  • receive complimentary tickets to Nashville Symphony Classical series performances
  • receive annual solo recital and chamber performance opportunities
  • be required to perform in juries twice per year
  • be required to participate in their school bands or orchestras and/or local youth orchestras
  • be required to participate in yet to be determined summer programs which may include summer music camps
  • receive guidance and counseling about every aspect of preparing for a professional musical career including college applications
  • receive assistance in traveling to college music school auditions

 

How many students will Accelerando serve?

The program launched in 2016 with six students, and we will increase the participation each subsequent year by approximately 5 more students to attain a full enrollment of 24 students in 2020.

Click here to learn more about the inaugural Accelerando class. 

 

Is Accelerando a scholarship program?

Yes. Students who are accepted to Accelerando will receive instruction, counseling and other opportunities as described above, plus more, free of charge.

Accelerando is not a needs-based program. Financial/economic status will not be considered during the application process.

 

How is Accelerando funded?

The Nashville Symphony was awarded a $959,000 grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will provide 75% of the funding for Accelerando over the next six years. We are actively seeking other grants and donations to raise the additional $350,000 needed to operate the program at full capacity for 2018-2021.

Accelerando is funded solely through private sources – no public or government funds are used to support this program.

 

Who designed this program?

The program was designed by Walter Bitner, Director of Education & Community Engagement for the Nashville Symphony, working closely with Education & Community Engagement Manager Kelley Bell and Education & Community Engagement Coordinator Kristen Freeman, with advisement and encouragement from local music education authority Mitchell Korn. Kelley and Walter visited the Atlanta Symphony in April 2015 and did considerable research into the components and history of their pioneering Talent Development Program (TDP), which has been in existence since the 1990s. Adrienne Thompson, the Director of Atlanta Symphony TDP, has been of immense help over the last year as we have prepared to launch Accelerando.

The Accelerando Steering Committee consists of representatives from our community partners in this endeavor:

  • Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University
  • Music Makes Us (Metro Nashville Public Schools)
  • Conexión Américas
  • Choral Arts Link

 

Who is eligible to audition for Accelerando?

Students from underrepresented ethnic communities from grades 4-10 (rising 5th-11th graders) may audition for Accelerando. It is possible that in future years, auditions will be restricted to students in grades 4-8 (rising 5th-9th graders).

Underrepresented ethnic groups in orchestral music include:

  • African-American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Arabic/Middle Eastern
  • American Indian
  • Alaskan Native
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (some exclusions apply – contact us for more information)

Auditioning students must reside in Middle Tennessee and must audition on a standard orchestral instrument:

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Bass
  • Harp
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet
  • Horn
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Percussion

 

What if we are financially underprivileged?

Accelerando is not a needs-based program. Financial/economic status will not be considered during the application process.

Music education opportunities for students from financially underprivileged backgrounds are offered by several excellent institutions in Nashville, including W.O. Smith Music School and the Pre-College Scholarship Program at Blair School of Music.

 

How do I apply to audition for Accelerando?

Complete information including the online application form may be found on the Nashville Symphony website. To be considered for an audition, a student must meet the guidelines described above, submit a complete application, and at least one letter of recommendation. The application deadline for this year has now passed.