Education Programs for Parents and Students

Registration is now open for all of our summer programs!

ACO Sonic Spark Lab

ACO SONIC SPARK LAB is a hands-on program that teaches students to engage with their creativity, to use curiosity to grow their imagination and to build an idea from just a spark to artistic realization. 

With an emphasis on project-based production, tech and song-writingSonic Spark Lab is a fun and effective approach to building creative capacity and introducing the creative arts to New York City Middle School and High School students.

This summer we’re offering classes for:
6th-8th graders (10-14yr olds)
9th-12 graders (14-18yr olds)

Register now for summer Sonic Spark Lab classes!

I am extremely appreciative for all of the time, work, and dedication that the SPARK Team has given to my children. It has made a wonderful difference and a lasting impact on their Creativity, Confidence, Learning.

Recent Sonic Spark Lab Parent
ACO Compose Yourself

COMPOSE YOURSELF! is for ambitious high schoolers wishing to learn to compose their own music.

Compose Yourself! helps young composers develop habits of creativity and learn professional standards in a supportive, hands-on environment. The program has a strong record of preparing its students for the rigors of college and beyond.

Students learn to develop a strong creative process, an artistic voice of their own, and a healthy approach to their craft.

Open to: 9th-12 graders (14-18yr olds)
(advanced 8th graders may inquire)

Register now for the Summer High School Composers Intensive!

The Compose Yourself program has opened my mind to new ways to interpret and listen to music.

Che Buford, Compose Yourself! Student

Student interest in any and all genres is welcome


  • Sonic Spark Lab and Compose Yourself! are semester based programs.
  • Classes generally run Oct.-Jan (fall) and Feb.-May (spring)
  • Sonic Spark Lab Summer Session runs July-mid August.
  • Compose Yourself! Summer Composers Intensive takes place in August.
  • Specific class dates and times each semester are posted when registration opens (use registration buttons above)

Program Features

  • Culminating performances of students works. Compose Yourself! reading sessions are with professional musicians
  • All classes are taught by high-level active professional composers with strong teaching experience
  • Class sizes are limited to assure personalized attention
  • Visits by renowned guest composers
  • Access to ACO dress rehearsals and special events


  • Students are required to attend all classes.
  • For Sonic Spark Lab, to get the most out of the program students should have some prior music experience, but there are no minimum requirements beyond enthusiasm.
  • For Compose Yourself! the ability to read music is highly recommended since a great deal of our learning results from experiencing how musicians respond to our notation.

Tuition*: ranges from $125-450 per semester

*American Composers Orchestra is committed to making our programs available to ALL interested students -scholarships are available in cases of financial need.

Questions & Information

If you have any questions or would like further information on how you child could benefit from ACO Education programming, contact Kevin James, Education Director: 212.977.8495 ext. 202 or

Our Mission & Vision

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.

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