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American Conservatory of Music


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The American Conservatory of Music is among the oldest and most prestigious of conservatory universities in America. The American Conservatory is a tertiary degree-granting institution of higher learning offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, theology, elocution, and ecclesiastical law.

The original mission statement of the American Conservatory of music:

  • To foster the development of the Fine Arts and, in particular, the art of music.
  • To establish and maintain an institution for preserving and advancing learning, for discovering and encouraging talent, for cultivating appreciation, and, in general, for educating and instructing in all the branches of music as an art and as a science.
  • Establish, maintain, and offer students a curriculum and course of instruction dealing thoroughly with the history, science, aesthetics, arts, and techniques of music per the best contemporary standards.
  • To educate music teachers to train concert and professional musicians to cultivate music criticism, taste, and appreciation to discipline in the liberal and fine arts related to music, particularly the dramatic arts, choreography, and the dance to encourage the composition and creation of works of music.
  • To sponsor and encourage advanced research in all the branches of music and to provide facilities therefor to provide scholarships and fellowships for deserving students of music.
  • To cooperate and participate in projects for the advancement of the public appreciation and understanding of music.
  • To acquire, own, use, and dispose of all forms of property insofar as expedient for accomplishing the purposes described above and accepting any contributions, gifts, bequests, devises, or other donations may be made to the corporation.
  • No dividends or distribution of the property of such a corporation shall be made until all debts are fully paid and then only upon its final dissolution and surrender of organization and name, nor shall any distribution be made except by a vote of a majority of the members.

The American Conservatory of Music spans North and Central America and offers a beautiful learning atmosphere employing a close linkage between student and teacher. Students may enter the fall semester commencing in late August, the spring semester commencing in mid-January, the particular spring semester commencing in mid-April, or the summer term commencing in mid-June.

Students from all economic circumstances are assured that the American Conservatory of Music will make every effort to assist them with undergraduate and graduate degree studies. The Conservatory does not participate in the Federal Title IV Student Financial Aid Program nor any other Federal or State government programs. All financial assistance at the Conservatory is from private sector sources.

Students who are U.S. citizens may be eligible for this program, funds permitting. Up to 50% of tuition may be realized from this privately funded source. A live audition with a prospective primary teacher is required. No one may be accepted for this program without the approval of the primary teacher. High-grade averages are required for continued aid. Only those deemed to have a realistic possibility of professional and artistic success in music will be considered.

These scholarships are given in honor of Leo Heim, late President Emeritus of the Conservatory. Funding is limited and may not be available at certain times. Because of the competitive nature of the music profession, these awards are merit-based and need-based. When funds are available, equal opportunity will be given to the entire student body.

Financial assistance at the Conservatory is based upon both merit and need. It is, therefore, crucial that personal financial information submitted be adequate and accurate. Students should exercise diligence in the preparation of all requested information, taking care neither to make any false statements nor to omit to state any material facts. In the case of any student who supplies false or misleading financial data, all financial assistance will be permanently withdrawn.

All students receiving financial assistance in any form must maintain a minimum grade of A in all course work to remain eligible to continue receiving such assistance. There is no provision for probation should grades fall below that level.

Student Life at ACM is characterized by devoted study and an earnest desire to succeed at the highest level. Throughout their matriculation, students majoring in music are exposed to thorough-going ensemble experiences, an in-depth music education, a thorough pedagogical understanding of music literature, and a balanced understanding of life from a Christian perspective. Students also gain a new prospective appreciation for a collegial devotion to learning. For students, ACM is like their own family. Students learn quickly that ACM is a nurturing and supportive environment for them. Even after graduation, ACM is still there for them. This atmosphere makes ACM the best choice for higher education in music, theology, elocution, and ecclesiastical law.

The Library is not a lending library but is freely available to authorized individuals under the supervision of the librarian. The Library contains holdings of over 1600 volumes of books, recordings, music, and other reference works. The Library offers students, faculty, and staff access to its reference materials.

John J. Hattstaedt, the founder of the American Conservatory of Music, was an American of German descent and was born at Monroe, Michigan. He was fortunate to enjoy a first-class general education, including a collegiate course at a German gymnasium, and excellent musical instruction. With personal independence and energy, he entered into professional life when he was comparatively young, actively engaged in teaching in Detroit. Michigan, and afterward at St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1875, Mr. Hattstaedt came to Chicago, having accepted an engagement as a piano teacher at the Chicago Musical College. This position he held for ten years, being at the same time lecturer on Musical History. After an extended European tour, he formulated plans for a music school according to his ideals and accordingly founded in 1886 the American Conservatory of Music, which, under his excellent management, from a modest beginning has grown to be one of the largest conservatories in the United States.

Mr. Hattstaedt, during his lifetime, was a musician of solid attainments, a scholar and thinker. He was undoubtedly in the front rank of piano teachers in the country, his pupils represented in all parts of the United States. At the same time, many occupied prominent positions either as teachers or concert artists. His lectures, which covered almost all phases of musical art, were always attended by teachers and students, and his writings bear the stamp of originality as well as solidity.

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