Program FAQ

General Information

The North Carolina Chamber Music Institute (NCCMI) is an exciting program which provides Triangle area music students the opportunity to enrich their playing and learning experiences through small group ensembles. The advanced study of chamber music is achieved through coaching sessions by area professionals – including North Carolina Symphony members and university professors – student-led rehearsals, public performances, master classes, and workshops. It is open to musicians who play bowed string instruments, woodwind instruments (including French horn), or piano. Teachers and students (generally aged 8–19) work together to produce excellent performances of the great chamber music works. NCCMI is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with any college or university.

Chamber music develops the ability to solve complex problems, work as a team, increase confidence and personal skills and provides opportunities for performance and competitions.

The coaches include members of the North Carolina Symphony and experienced area college professors and performers. In general, each group will have two coaches in alternating sessions. View our roster of coaches.

Yes! The beauty of chamber music is beneficial for all people so North Carolina Chamber Music Institute seeks to be welcoming to all students and to provide concerts for all members of the community. View our accessibility policy.

Violin, viola, cello, bass; flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn; piano

About the Program

NCCMI takes place every year from September through May. Each group is guaranteed 8 sessions with coaches each semester for a total of 16 times in the season, plus a minimum of 10–12 student-led rehearsals. Times and locations for coachings will be organized by the individual coaches and groups. Each group will schedule extra student-led rehearsals depending upon Director recommendation and group level. The length for each coaching or rehearsal is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This can vary, as determined by the coaches and Director. Some groups may decide to have extra sessions, especially when preparing for advanced performances and competitions.

Students must be willing to make their NCCMI commitment a priority. We expect professional level promptness and preparation. Chamber music is an intimate collaborative activity. All members of the group have equal responsibility. Each musician plays an individual part, so there is no way to hide if you are unprepared.

Students must perform in one performance review, one master class or workshop, one community engagement concert, and one final concert. They must also attend one Faculty-Artist/IMPACT concert. Community Engagement concerts include retirement facilities, “Ovations” performances prior to North Carolina Symphony concerts, Pop Up Events at Parks and Libraries, and others. Having performance experience is an essential part of the learning process for young musicians, particularly in chamber music.

Each accepted student and parent must sign the NCCMI Agreement of Understanding. View or download the agreement.

A key element of the Institute is the individualized approach which enables each group to make a maximum amount of progress during the course of the year, based on age, experience, and practical factors like individual scheduling concerns. Coaching sessions are scheduled on a group-by-group basis in coordination with the coaches. Students must be committed to attend the scheduled dates since they are individually responsible for their part in the ensemble.

The schedule is carefully crafted for each individual group. In consideration of the other students in the group and our coaches, once set, it should not be changed.

Our partner churches (North Raleigh, downtown Raleigh, western Raleigh near the beltline, or Cary) can provide space for weekly sessions. However, some ensembles find it more convenient to meet in students’ homes.

Information about locations can be found here.

In a masterclass, a group performs in front of an audience. A NCCMI coach or guest artist will then discuss the performance and give professional advice. Previous master classes have featured internationally renowned artists such as violinist James Ehnes, Pulitzer Prize–winning composer (and North Carolina native) Caroline Shaw, and the Eroica Trio. Master classes may be sponsored by NCCMI, Chamber Music Raleigh, or other organizations. Student groups must audition to be invited to perform but are always encouraged to audit these classes free of charge. 

Workshops are typically centered around a single topic, such as enjoyable sight reading with staff, audition preparation practice, or a specific instrumental focus.

Competitions are events sponsored by outside organizations in which many chamber groups compete for prizes. Opportunities for competitions include the Federation of Music Clubs, Music Teachers National Association, WDAV, and the Fischoff National Competition. NCCMI will provide extra coaching and performance opportunities to ensembles invited to certain competitions.

Awards are given at the end of each year, including GOLD Award for students completing 3 years in the program and Community Engagement Award for students who perform in 3 or more Outreach Programs during the year.

Formal attire is worn at concerts. Ensembles should wear appropriate, coordinated dress. Formal black is an option, but not required. Women should wear formal slacks or at least calf-length skirt. Men should wear a dress shirt and tie. Dress for workshops and master classes should be business attire; no jeans or sneakers.

For some events, such as pop-up concerts, students wear an NCCMI polo shirt. The shirt is included in the tuition.

Tuition and Fees

Early Bird Tuition is $660. Payment plans and financial aid are available. In person audition or receipt of videotaped submission must take place PRIOR to July 13.

Regular Tuition $690.00 if paid after that date. Payment plans and financial aid are available. In person audition or receipt of videotaped submission must take place PRIOR to August 17.

Full Payment is due, along with signed Agreement form, within one week of acceptance email date unless other arrangements have been made.

Send email request to to request the option of a payment plan.

Payment Plan – You may space 4 payments over the course of the academic year as follows:

  • Payment 1 due one week after acceptance email
  • Payment 2 due November 15
  • Payment 3 due January 15
  • Payment 4 due March 15

Tuition includes 16 coachings, additional student-led rehearsals, one performance review, one formal recital, master classes, workshops and admission to IMPACT Series (Faculty Artist Concerts).

There are multiple Community Engagement opportunities available to NCCMI musicians that build confidence. These include Retirement communities, Pop Up Parks concerts, library events, museum performances and many more!

In partnership with Chamber Music Raleigh, students are invited to attend CMR concerts free of charge, depending upon ticket availability. Send request for tickets to

For each additional sibling of a student currently in the program, there is a $50 discount on the program fee.

There is a limited amount of need-based financial aid available.