Menuhin-Dowling Music Program

Established by Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Helen Dowling, the Menuhin-Dowling program is an exemplary, performance-oriented music program open to instrumental and vocal music students in grades 1–8.

The program encourages students to deepen musical knowledge across disciplines, including theory, practice, and performance. 

Menuhin students make a significant commitment to the study of their instruments, receiving two lessons a week and performing on a regular basis with a focus on great master composers' music.

Students participating in the program learn to:

  • Practice daily, following a routine established in tandem with private instructors
  • Perform regularly, both on campus and in the community
  • Engage in music beyond their instrument, including attending concerts and listening to recorded music
  • Interact with other Menuhin scholars and teachers at scheduled Menuhin events
  • Deepen their musical understanding through the study of theory
  • Assess themselves annually, reporting in writing on areas of progress and needed growth

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Menuhin-Dowling Program?

 The program is an exemplary, performance-oriented music program open to a limited number of instrumental music students who are admitted by audition. It was established by Helen Dowling and Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin was recognized first as a child prodigy violinist, and ultimately as one of the world’s foremost musicians, performers, and educators of the twentieth century. Menuhin Scholars are expected to make a significant commitment to the study of their instruments, receiving two lessons per week and performing on a regular basis with a focus on the music of the great master composers. Instructors are outstanding performers and teachers whose goal is to help the scholars become skilled musicians and performers.

Who is eligible?

Any student who demonstrates a high degree of musical potential, competency, and talent, with a deep and continuing interest in music and a high level of commitment to the program and parental support.

How old should my child be to be in the program?

The child should be in the first through eighth grade.

When and where are the auditions?

Auditions are held at Nueva as needed, but generally once in the spring during the Solo Review process and once in the fall at the beginning of the school year. Families will be notified of specific dates, times, and locations of auditions.

Will my child need to change teachers?

Children admitted into the program must study exclusively with a Menuhin instructor. This avoids the inevitable confusion associated with dual teaching styles, methodologies, and personal dynamics. Students currently studying with a teacher outside of Nueva will need to transition to the Nueva Menuhin instructor. The current teacher should be consulted with regard to the audition and possible change.

Will my child miss any of his/her other classes to go to lessons?

Possibly. Although every effort is made to avoid scheduling of lessons during core curriculum class time, sometimes this is not possible. Menuhin Scholars are expected to keep current with classwork missed because of lessons.

In scheduling lessons, who is given priority?

Menuhin Scholars are given first priority in a grade hierarchy from highest to lowest.

Are beginning students expected to participate as advanced students do?

No. Expectations for very young and/or beginning scholars are much less demanding. Young students have time to grow into the requirements of additional lessons, practice time, etc. The more advanced students are in the Performance Level. Less advanced (but not necessarily younger) students are in the Preparatory Level.

Of what does this total program consist?

It includes two forty-five minute private lessons per week and, as the students advance, regular performances in “Brown Bags” and evening recitals, String Ensemble, chamber ensembles, master classes, and other activities.