The Student Experience

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Our students are the most courageous, kind, and dedicated young musicians in our region of the US. They are not afraid of hard work, and share the belief that talent & success come from persistence and dedication rather than destiny.

Over the course of seven incredible, music-packed days, the best musicians in the state of Tennessee will travel to Chattanooga to learn, play, and rehearse music from world class professional singers, instrumentalists, directors, educators & professors in large and small group settings. Students may choose from a wide catalogue of courses of study including jazz, musical theatre, wind ensemble, string ensemble, conducting, composition & songwriting, music theory, ethnomusicology, percussion, popular music, audio technology, and so much more. Our ensembles, courses, and curriculum are continuously in development as we adapt each program & all of our repertoire to each unique group of students that join us. Some years we focus on music from a particular decade or time period, others were take a broader approach, performing music from the medieval period all the way through popular music of today — it depends on the students.

The goal is to provide students with a broad spectrum of opportunities and intense challenges that serve as catalysts for significant creative and personal development. In some cases, students will have less than a full day of preparation and rehearsal before they perform — this is about building skills like adaptability, being creative under pressure, and developing the calmness and patience required to be successful without losing focus.

What do students do when they aren’t playing music?

We’re glad you asked.

At TNSMF, FUN is #2 (safety is #1 obviously), we believe in working hard and playing hard. We hike, we play ultimate frisbee, we have video game tournaments at night, we have movie nights, we explore UT Chattanooga’s beautiful campus, we perform outdoors in nature, we do karaoke, we have camp dances, we play improv games, we complete a minimum 1,000 piece puzzle each summer, we play volleyball & newcomb, we play basketball, we do an AM & PM Fun Run, we eat Vermonsters (20 scoops of ice cream…gross), we do a musical version of the Food Network gameshow Chopped, and so so much more. We promise that you will not stop laughing for 7 straight days, and we will have the photos to prove it!

Our non-music counselors & staff are comprised of recreation, education, and health professionals in fitness, nutrition, kinesiology, first aid/CPR, recreation & parks management.

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