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Before FSMA

Why do I have to do an interview?

We want all students to have the best summer festival experience possible, and part of that is finding the festival that is right for them. Our interview process helps the director and faculty get to know each student, and allows students and parents to get to know us, so that we can all make sure that our unique and intensive program is a good fit. All students under the age of 18 must be accompanied to their interview by a parent. If an applicant misses their interview, or if the parent of an under-18 student misses the interview, the application will be voided and a second application (including application fee) will be required if the student would like to be reconsidered and given another interview time.

Why do you only have email, and who is "FSMA Administration"?

It takes a village to run FSMA, and we want to make sure that every student and parent gets accurate information and timely responses to their questions. The FSMA Administration is a team of people who share the responsibility of organizing the program's operations. The first person available will respond to your questions so that you get the quickest answer possible, and with everything on email, the whole team can keep track of every student's individual needs as they develop.

Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately all fees, deposits, and tuition are nonrefundable. FSMA takes its commitments to its host campus and its faculty very seriously, and with such a small, select student body we are not able to offer refunds.

What about COVID-19?

The safety of our students and faculty has been our highest priority during the planning of our summer academy each summer. In past summers, we have implemented robust safety policies, which have included the following:

  • Commuting option for students who would prefer to live at home

  • Online-only option for students who would prefer to be fully online

  • High-quality masks required at all times, except when presenting

  • Social distancing whenever possible

  • Regular COVID testing 

  • Testing and masking required for air travel and public transportation to and during FSMA

We do not currently have any COVID-19 safety protocols in place for FSMA 2024. We will be closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic as summer approaches, and reserve the right to adjust our safety protocols accordingly.

During FSMA

How do I get to FSMA?

All students are responsible for transportation to and from FSMA campus. For out-of-town students, taxis or rideshare services can be taken from O'Hare or Midway airports to campus. Commuting students are responsible for their own transportation to and from campus for in-person activities as well as to any off-campus concerts that they may be selected for.

What is there to do outside of classes?

Chicagoland is a great place to be in the summer! FSMA staff plan movie nights, outdoor fun, and other activities during unscheduled time. Under-18 students must be with a faculty member, counselor, or approved parent/guardian to leave campus, and all on-campus students are required to let FSMA know of their off-campus plans for both safety and contact tracing.

What should I bring?

We will send all accepted students a detailed, but not comprehensive, packing list for FSMA. We will email students chamber music and orchestra parts to print and bring with them in a binder. String students will need to bring a music stand for morning practice hours and chamber music. On-campus students will need to bring their own linens and toiletries.

What events are open to the public?

FSMA hosts many public concerts over the course of the program. Check our events page for more information. All public FSMA events are free!

How do I get selected for a concert or masterclass?

Every week, every FSMA student plays in an open audition in front of the whole faculty and student body. Each week's audition is tailored to the opportunities that week, e.g. a memorized solo piece for masterclasses and off-campus community concerts, orchestra excerpts for orchestra seating, chamber music for the final student chamber music concert. The faculty will announce the results from each audition that night to all students. Students who play in concerts and masterclasses will play with piano - make sure to bring the piano accompaniment to any pieces you anticipate auditioning with over the course of the program!

I have more questions - who do I contact?

The FSMA Administration is happy to answer any questions you may have about the program! Email us at


FSMA goes beyond just playing your instrument.



Meet the core

faculty members

of FSMA.



Learn how to

spend your summer

with FSMA!


Master Clinicians

Be inspired by

our stellar

guest master clinicians.

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