Piano Academy

June 19-25, 2016



The St. Olaf Summer Piano Academy offers high school-aged pianists an opportunity to work closely with professional piano faculty from the renowned St. Olaf College music department. This lively week enables young artists to develop and refine their abilities in a stimulating and supportive musical environment. The program includes:

  • Master classes
  • Music theory
  • Piano literature classes
  • Private lessons
  • Piano chamber ensembles
  • Instrumental ensembles as available
  • Evening recitals
  • Performance opportunities
  • Social activities

Meet the staff
Daily Schedule

Each day includes classes and rehearsals, elective recreation, and time to enjoy delicious meals. Evenings consists of faculty, counselor, and camper recitals followed by social and recreational events in conjunction with the Summer Music Camp.

Piano Academy Performances and Recitals

Recitals begin on Monday evening with performances by St. Olaf faculty and camp counselors. During the week, students are encouraged to participate in evening recitals. There will be two formal recitals featuring all the academy students on Friday evening and Saturday morning, which family and friends are encouraged to attend.

Family and friends who visit campus during the academy should register at the music organizations office in Christiansen Hall of Music. Family tickets for Saturday lunch may be purchased at the door of Stav Hall Cafeteria in Buntrock Commons for $9.45 (plus tax). Lunch is included for the students.


Financial Assistance NOW available through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education! 

$710 When complete registration is received by May 1.

The Piano Academy is open to students who have completed grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12, and is by audition only. To apply, submit (online or by mail) the registration form, piano teacher reference form, a $100 deposit, and audition recordings of two contrasting pieces or movements from two different works. The recordings should be representative of your current repertoire level, and approximately 10 minutes in total and can include excerpts from longer pieces. The recordings may be either video or audio files. You may attach the files to the registration form, or provide a YouTube (or similar) link to recordings online. Admission is on a rolling basis and ends May 1 or when academy capacity is met.  If you need additional information or would like the forms mailed to you contact the Camps Office (507-786-3031).

Students are required to bring well-prepared pieces from home to work on in lessons and to prepare for a recital performance. These repertoires should be noted on the registration form.

Refund Policy

Written cancellation recieved by May 1 will receive a refund less a $100 non-refundable deposit. No refunds will be made after May 1.


The residential fee includes housing in a college residence hall, all meals from Sunday dinner through Saturday lunch, class instruction and materials, two half-hour private lessons, and an academy t-shirt. Students are housed in comfortable, secure residence halls. Stav Hall, the college cafeteria, offers healthful choices prepared by the Bon Appétit Management Company, including a salad bar, hot entrees, grilled meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, and desserts.


Students interested in participating as a non-residential student should contact the academy office (507-786-3031) prior to submitting an application.

Optional Lesson Package: $65

Two half-hour private lessons are included with each student’s registration. You may register for an optional package of an additional two private lessons.

College Scholarship Competition

The St. Olaf Piano Academy will be awarding a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to one outstanding Piano Academy participant. The camper must be a rising senior and must subsequently apply, be admitted to, and enroll as a first-year student at St. Olaf College for fall 2017. The recipients will be chosen by the Academy faculty. All rising seniors meeting the criteria will be considered for the award, which will be presented at the final recital on Saturday morning. The award will be a renewable scholarship for up to four years, for a total of $4,000. It requires only that the student continue piano lessons and participate in a St. Olaf ensemble.

Airport Shuttle Service

St. Olaf College is located in historic Northfield, Minnesota, about 40 miles south of the Twin Cities.  Campers needing shuttle service to and from campus please email summer@stolaf.edu for local transportation options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a limited number of students who can attend the academy?
The academy has a capacity for 20–24 students.

What is the ratio between boys and girls attending the piano academy?
The ratio is typically 50/50.

What level should the piano student should be at to be considered for the SPA?
Students should be able to play such repertoire as Beethoven Sonatas, the Bach Two-part Inventions, the Chopin Waltz in C-sharp minor, etc.

Do students come from many levels of piano experience?
The level ranges from work on large concertos to Brahms Intermezzi, Haydn sonatas, or a Granados Spanish Dance. Students do not have to be extremely advanced, but should be committed to serious study during their time with us.

What is the refund policy?
Written cancellation recieved by May 1 will receive a refund less a $100 non-refundable deposit. No refunds will be made after May 1.

My child is one year too young for camp. Can she still register?
We maintain a wait list and if there are still openings prior to the start of camp we will fill positions with younger students. Contact the academy office (507-786-3031).

May I use a credit card to pay for camp other than online?
No. In order to meet regulations we can only take credit cards using our online form.

How do I attach a file of one of my audition recordings?
Upload the file onto your computer from your recording device. From your computer, attach the file in the recording upload portion of the registration form.

How do I upload a recording file onto Youtube (or similar website) and provide the link?
An account is usually required in order to upload video files to Youtube or similar websites. One you make an account, upload the file according to directions provided on the website. After uploading, copy the link displayed when the video is playing and paste the link in the recording upload portion of the registration form.