The Overture Preparatory Program is an exciting new offering at MacPhail Center for Music designed to help aspiring high school instrumentalists continue to bolster their musical skills and experiences, while developing the professional skills necessary to create success in the music business.

The program is designed for the serious instrumentalist who wants to broaden their skills in preparation for a life in music. It is open to any musician/composer in any genre (classical, jazz, rock, etc…), grades 10-12, who is intending to pursue music in college (major or minor) or who may be considering music as a career and is interested in learning what that entails.

Taking place on Sunday afternoons from mid-October through the end of April, students will participate in music theory lessons, professional development seminars, chamber music coachings, and other special Overture events. Throughout the year, students will have numerous performance opportunities – in both formal and informal settings – to showcase their abilities, as well as receive feedback from faculty, peers, and special guests!

Additionally, students will receive guidance and advice from Overture faculty that will help to set and clarify short and long-term goals, allowing a certain degree of individualization to the program. The overarching goal of the program is to give the student the skills and knowledge to confidently pursue their musical and career goals, whatever they may be.

Participation will be determined through a competitive audition process, including teacher recommendations. Students can prepare two contrasting pieces, no more than 7 minutes in length total. No accompaniment is required. Students can opt to audition in-person or via a recorded video. In-person auditions will be scheduled for January 21 from 12:00-1:45 p.m. Please contact Benjamin Downs at to schedule an in-person audition.

Video auditions are due on January 20, by 6:00 p.m. DVDs, Drop-box files, You Tube and Google Drive links will be accepted. Please send online links to DVDs can be mailed to MacPhail or dropped off at Student Services, Minneapolis location, attn. Benjamin Downs.

Please click on the link below and complete the Overture Application. Applications can be emailed or mailed to Benjamin Downs. Applications are due on January 20 by 6:00 p.m.

Download Overture Application


Program Goals:

  • To cultivate a collaborative environment that allows like-minded students to pursue their musicianship at the highest level
  • To give students exposure to different career paths in music and provide them with the skills that will allow them to confidently pursue their goals
  • To complement the musical instruction being offered in private lessons and school programs to support and facilitate performance skills for advanced high school instrumentalists
    To provide advice and guidance as students begin their professional endeavors.

Program components:

Foundations of Music
• Instruction in written theory, in both classical and contemporary styles
• Instruction in aural skills, sight-singing, and rhythm and movement
• Guided listening to a diverse range of styles and genres

Professional and Career Development
These interactive classes and workshops will help build musical and professional skills necessary to becoming a successful musician.

  • Topics may include: audition preparation, marketing and self-promotion, artist bio writing, profiles of various careers in music, and more!
  • One-on-one counseling sessions with Overture faculty

Chamber Music (beginning Spring 2018)
• Students will be matched to others in the program to perform in a chamber ensemble.
• Weekly coaching with MacPhail faculty
• Numerous performance opportunities

Overture Events
• Recitals
• Master classes
• Guest performances
• Exclusive events for Overture students


Questions about Group Lessons or Ensembles at MacPhail?

Contact Melissa Falb at 612-767-5438 or via Email