FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – This fall, the Southwestern Music Academy joins a new incentive straight from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and New York City’s own Carnegie Hall.
Called the Achievement Program, students through participating schools or tutors prepare and then perform different classical music pieces before a panel of Achievement Program judges, receiving a review certifying they perform at a specific skill level.
Because this is a voluntary national review, “students can see across the country how they stack up,” says Jill Sprenger, Southwestern’s School of Church Music associate professor of piano and the Academy director. The Academy will offer review of this nature through piano, organ, and violin, with future options expected for voice and guitar.
As a teacher herself, Sprenger knows this type of review helps music instructors as well.
“One of the hardest things in piano teaching in America, we have all these popular methods,” says Sprenger, “but the tricky thing in piano teaching is how to move a student into classical music from beginning repertoire. The Achievement Program has a clear, graded way of doing that, which I think will be an enormous help.”
Southwestern Music Academy is one of the first schools in Texas to offer this type of review. Later this summer, Sprenger expects Southwestern Seminary to host a workshop for area music tutors and prep schools who want to join the Academy in offering this opportunity, which can provide a window into their students’ skill levels.
Participating in the achievement program augments the School of Church Music’s existing goals, says music school dean Stephen Johnson.
“Dr. Sprenger’s work in connecting our graduate students to immediate teaching in the community surrounding the Fort Worth campus has grown in size and scope over the years,” says Johnson. "We are thrilled that the quality instruction our students provide to the many community students visiting our campus each semester has now connected with the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program. The School of Church Music seeks to provide such skillful leadership in many aspects of music and ministry."

The Southwestern Music Academy offers qualified tutoring and performance opportunities for elementary and high school students, including dual-enrollment in college classes. For more information about dual-enrollment for high school students, as well as K-12 enrollment information through the Southwestern Music Academy, please visit or email Jill Sprenger at