What Does The Singing School cost?
What is the “minimum age” to attend The Singing School?
What Should I Bring with Me to The Singing School?
What are Some of The Singing School’s Traditions?
What Can I Expect to Study at TNSS?
What Can I Expect the Facilities To Be Like?
Can You Give Me More Information on Traveling to/from Abilene/ACU?
The cost of 50 hours of training in church music, all your classroom supplies, workbooks, notes, and a notebook, a private bedroom and bathroom, a video tape of your songs (song leading students), and all of your meals is just $495. This may seem like a lot at first, but when you consider that it is all-inclusive, that all of our staff and faculty are totally volunteer (receiving nothing but the satisfaction of teaching), and that we rent our facilities from Abilene Christian University, it seems much more reasonable.
You may find other singing schools that are cheaper, but we guarantee that you will learn more from The Singing School than you would elsewhere and that at the end of the week you will consider it money well-spent. One of the best things about The Singing School is our multi-level curriculum that exposes the student to more and more each year he/she comes. No other singing school has this kind of in depth, comprehensive training. Furthermore, most other singing schools are held in a camp setting and geared towards children and teenagers. While we get our fair share of youths, the environment at The Singing School includes challenges for the adult mind.
We have no official limit, but remember that The Singing School is a serious learning environment with almost 10 hours of classes each day (50 hours in five days). In recent years, we have had students as young as 10. A majority of our students are adults, however there are always many Christian teens with whom your child may socialize. Use your best judgment when deciding about the age your child may be ready for The Singing School. Of course, we would love if you would come with your child(ren)! The Singing School can be a great family experience in a Christian environment.
Clothes: Be aware that the average July temperature in Abilene, Texas is 94F with 60% humidity. Our classes are all conducted indoors in fully air-conditioned (read: “at times chilly”) classrooms. Most of our students and teachers dress casually (Dockers/nice jeans, button-down/polo shirts). We do request, though, that shorts not be worn during class time. On Thursday evening we do take an official group photograph of the entire school.
For the Apartment: Twin-size sheets, blankets, pillows, or other bedclothes. These items, and many others (trash bags, snacks, bottles of water, throat lozenges, etc.) may be purchased at the nearby Wal-Mart.
For the Classroom: Pens/pencils, notebook paper (a binder with many, many handouts is provided); a backpack or satchel may be very useful in moving from class to class. Laptop computers are not needed for any classes, even for taking notes (most notes are provided), though they may be useful for classes involving PowerPoint (upper division Worship Leader courses).
Regardless of your course of study, a pitch pipe will be useful. If you are in the Song Leading or Worship Development tracks, a pitch pipe is required. If you do not have one, you may purchase one at a discounted price at registration.
Our meal tickets with the ACU cafeteria do not begin until Sunday evening. If you come for the Worship Leaders’ Conference or come Saturday in time for supper, please join “the gang.” Friday night is traditionally the Harvest Moon Chinese buffet (1149 E N 10th St.) and Saturday night is Rosa’s Café & Tortilla Factory (1026 N Judge Ely Blvd.). The Singing School weekend usually coincides with a major Hollywood release, and many go as a group to the Premier Cinema 10 Theater.
On Thursday afternoon, a whole-school picture is taken by James Tackett. This may influence your choice of clothing for Thursday.
The nearby Dairy Queen stays open late Monday-Thursday just for The Singing School. Come join us for Blizzards and singing! We even enjoy our own version of the gospel classic, Singing on the Premises of Dairy Queen (Standing on the Promises). Two of our alumni have collaborated to prepare a “new DQ song,” At the Dairy Queen, based on the song All Praises Be.
“Number Six-Five-One.” To close out each evening of The Singing School, we all gather together (usually in the Rotunda of the Onstead-Packer Bible Building) to sing Where No One Stands Alone, which is “The Singing School Song.” We issue each of our students a copy of Songs for Worship and Praise from Taylor Publications. Where No One Stands Alone is number 651 in that book. When we used the hymnal Songs of Faith and Praise, this tradition was known as “Number Eight-Oh-One” (as corresponding to its number in that hymnal).
Stand Up and Glorify the Lord and Hosanna serve as our two warm up songs each morning in chapel. A call to action and an out-pouring of pure praise is the best way to start our worship together!
At The Singing School we have a goal to train men and women to excel in the public worship and assemblies of the church. We specialize in a cappella, congregational singing. There is something at The Singing School for everyone who wishes to increase their effectiveness in their home congregation. With 50 hours of in-classroom training from Sunday evening through Friday noon, our aim is to stimulate every student toward excellence.
There are five emphases in his/her studies that a student may choose to follow:
Every student is required to take the Sight Reading courses, some Music Theory courses, and the Music Appreciation & History courses. Beyond that, each student has the option to pursue Men’s/Women’s Certification, Song/Worship Leading, Singer’s Choral Workshop, or Song Writing Tracks.
Please see our Course Catalogue for additional information.
Housing: Students at The Singing School are housed in the University Park Apartments, located on the campus of Abilene Christian University, just a short walk from our classroom facilities. There are nice two-person and four-person apartments in this three-story complex. As you can see from the illustrations, each student has his/her own private bedroom and bathroom facilities. Married couples are issued an apartment to themselves.
The University Park Apartments, though furnished with twin-size beds, do not supply linens. You must bring your own (or buy them when you get here). Along with beds, there are couches, chairs, coffee tables, desks, refrigerator (with freezer and ice-maker), stove, an oven, and a kitchen bar.
As far as we know, there is no “built-in” (i.e., wired) internet access from the rooms. However, wireless access should be available from the Hunter Alumni and Welcome Center.
Apartment assignments are arranged by Don Carlile.
Meals: Starting with dinner on Sunday through lunch on Friday, your meals are provided by The Singing School (a total of 15 meals). Typically our meals are eaten in the cafeteria in the McGlothlin Campus Center. We encourage our students and faculty to share meal times together for two reasons: 1) There is no better way to meet your fellow students and get to know the teachers and 2) It is very difficult to collect oneself, drive to a restaurant, eat, and return in time for class in the allotted time (one hour for lunch, two hours for dinner).
Classrooms: The Singing School occupies the Bible Building on the campus of Abilene Christian University. Most of our classrooms are equipped with LCD projectors. All rooms are air-conditioned, well-kept, and perfectly suited for our needs.
Driving: The City of Abilene is located on I-20. ACU is on the northeast side of town, just a mile from the Interstate.
Click here for a Campus Map. Points of interest on the map for Singing School students are: 60 (University Park Apartments), 46 (Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building), 41 (McGlothlin Student Center & Cafeteria).
Take the Ambler Street exit towards town and ACU (you should be able to see the Tower of Lights from the Interstate). Turn left onto Judge Ely Blvd. Immediately past the ACU Baseball Field you will see the entrance to the University Park Apartments.
If you have arrived before Sunday afternoon, please drive to Building 9 to locate Don Carlile. He will have your room assignment and key.
If you have arrived in time for registration (Sunday from 1:00-5:00), then proceed down Judge Ely to the main entrance of ACU (Teague Blvd.). Enter there and make your way to the parking lot that services the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building and the Gibson Health and Physical Education Center, located between the University Park Apartments and the main entryway. Walk towards the Tower of Lights and turn left to enter the Bible Building. The Singing School staff will be inside, operating the registration process.
Flying: Abilene is not only served by a small local airport, but also by Midland International Airport (164mi), Lubbock International Airport (170mi), Dallas-Ft. Worth (174mi), and Love Field (184mi). If you plan to fly directly into Abilene, let us know your flight information and we will arrange for your pick up and for your ride back to the airport at the end of the week.
When to Arrive: Registration for The Singing School is from 1:00-5:00 on Sunday afternoon, but we’d love to have you here as early as we are so that we can get to know you before The Singing School starts. Even better would be if you could participate in the Annual Worship Leaders’ Conference which precedes The Singing School. In that event, plan to be here Friday afternoon (the Conference begins at 7:15PM).
Be advised, however, that your tuition only covers room and board from Sunday afternoon through Friday at lunch. Additional nights in the University Park Apartments cost $25/person and meals are on-your-own. There are several restaurants in the vicinity of ACU.
Planning Your Departure: We urge every student not to make plans to begin your trip home before noon on Friday. The Singing School will not end until that time. The noon meal on Friday will be the last meal on your cafeteria meal ticket. If you have a plane to catch and need a ride to the Abilene Regional Airport, we must know by Friday morning to arrange travel for all of our fliers.
“I highly recommend the Singing School, as there is an urgent need for song leader training.”Keith Lancaster (4/4/16), Cullman, Alabama
“I always thought I was a fairly decent song leader before attending the school. But having gone thru the program, I learned from excellent instructors and have confidence to lead in ways that I would have never tried before. I was challenged to be better, not for me, but for Him.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“The fellowship and love we had together in song and spirituality is something I will cherish for the rest of my life … I would encourage anyone who has a passion for leading the church in worship to take the time even for one year to experience what the singing school has to offer.”Alan D., London, England
“I had a WONDERFUL time with all of you this week! I will work hard this year!”Megan A., Missouri
“We had a good time singing with you all tonight. Thanks for letting us stop by.”Jason F., Abilene, Texas
“What a great, intense week the singing school was! I want to shout my thanks to all of you who work so hard to make this happen. I can only imagine the time and effort that goes into it.”Kerri R., Grants Pass, Oregon
“I thank all of the teachers, coaches, and staff here at ACU Singing School for helping me get where I am today. I had a long way to go and I’m just barely getting started… thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”Robert H., Temple, Texas
“So stoked to be in our church’s regular song leading rotation. Lead today again and loved it! I love leading people in worship for God! Thank you all for all I learned with you guys!”Jeff R., Abilene, Texas
“So today I was able to song lead in Ladies’ Chapel! I am proud to say that I did the time signature and was on pitch! … I got a lot of compliments and it made me really happy! So glad that I was able to go to this school and learn what I did!”Alejandra G., Lubbock, Texas
“Some of the most talented, sincere, and spiritual I’ve ever met was because of the Singing School.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“I never would have thought or dreamed of being able to even be in front of 2 or 3 people a few years ago. … never would have been possible without the love, support, and teaching of this singing school.”Robert H., Temple, Texas