What Does the Singing School Cost?
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 digital recording of your songs (song leading students), and all of your meals is just $545. 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 (and certainly some more expensive), but we guarantee that you will gain 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 welcome teenage students, the environment at the Singing School includes challenges for the adult mind.
What is the “minimum age” to attend The Singing School?
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.
May Minors (under 18) attend TNSS?
Yes, minors are welcome at TNSS and have been since 1946. However, this year (2022) we cannot accept unaccompanied minors as students. We do not have the staff in place to ensure that minor students get themselves up and going in the morning, eat well, take medicines, etc. Your options include coming with your minor or sending him with a guardian (over 18) who will accept responsibility for the student during the week (this might be another family member, youth minister, or another member of your congregation).
If you are sending/bringing a minor (under 18) student, you MUST print out and complete this medical release form:
Medical Release Forms are required for all minor students in our party, whether accompanied by a parent/guardian or not. Click here to download Medical Release Form.
What Should I Bring with Me to the Singing School?
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 Wednesday evening we do take an official group photograph of the entire school; dress accordingly.
For the Apartment: In 2022 one of the housing options is the Dillard Hall, a dormitory on ACU’s campus. Bedclothes are included in our reservation (pillows?). Bring your own toiletries and sundry items. These and many others items (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 (e.g., 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.
What are Some of The Singing School’s Traditions?
On Wednesday afternoon, a whole-school picture is taken by James Tackett. This may influence your choice of clothing for Wednesday.
The nearby Dairy Queen stays open late Sunday-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!
What Can I Expect to Study at TNSS?
At the Singing School our goal is to inspire, coach, and 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:
- Men’s Certification Track (Song/Worship Leading)
- Women’s Certification Track
- Singer’s Choral Workshop
- Song Writer’s Track
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, Singer’s Choral Workshop, or Song Writing Tracks.
Please see our Course Catalogue for additional information.
What Can I Expect the Housing Facilities to Be Like?
Housing: In 2022, students at the Singing School will be housed in Dillard Hall, located on the campus of Abilene Christian University, just a short walk from our classroom facilities. 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.
Campus-wide WIFI should be available.
Apartment assignments are arranged by Tony Kite. We will attempt to honor your roommate requests. The standard fees include a shared apartment (private bedroom, private bath), but for an additional fee a student can request to have an apartment entirely to himself.
Meals: Starting with breakfast on Monday through lunch on Friday, your meals are provided by the Singing School (a total of 14 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 Onstead-Packer Bible Building on the campus of Abilene Christian University. Most of our classrooms are equipped with digital projectors or television sets. All rooms are air-conditioned, well-kept, and perfectly suited for our needs.
Can You Give Me More Information on Traveling to/from Abilene/ACU?
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. Shortly past the ACU Baseball Field you will see the main campus entrance.
If you have arrived before Sunday afternoon, please give your contact person a call (you will receive an email with this information). If you arrive on Sunday afternoon, head to the Onstead-Packer Bible Building for registration.
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 regional 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. We cannot guarantee shuttle service to/from other airports, but you never know – just ask.
When to Arrive: Registration for The Singing School is from 1:00-5:00 on Sunday afternoon. You may arrive early, but in 2022 there is no Worship Leader Conference (Friday/Saturday program).
Be advised, however, that your tuition and fees only cover your room Sunday through Thursday nights and your fourteen meals from Monday breakfast through Friday at lunch. Additional nights in Dillard Hall cost $??/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.