Introduction for New Members

Brief History

The Society was formed in 1984 by Irwin Imhof, Nils Korner and Judy Mitchell, who believed that there must be a large number of musicians who wanted to play chamber music, but who never had their wishes realised because they did not know how to go about contacting other musicians. From this small beginning, the Society has now grown to a membership of about 300 musicians, spawning similar societies in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.  Our patron is Rachel Valler OAM.  

What is the purpose of the Society?

ACMS aims to promote the amateur playing of chamber music. We want to give members the opportunity to meet other players and to play chamber music at whatever level suits them - for their enjoyment, their greater appreciation of music, the improvement of their playing and the formation of musical friendships. The Society is non-profit.

What sort of music do we play?

The majority of members concentrate on the classical repertoire, but the choice of music is made entirely by the players forming an ensemble. The majority of their activities involve ensembles of from two to eight players and covers keyboard, string and wind instruments, and voice.  

Will you fit in?

Our members have varying backgrounds. Some play in community orchestras or bands; some have returned to their instrument after a break due to life commitments; some have played at a high standard for many years.

Is there a minimum standard?

  • There is no minimum standard to become a member for listing in our membership register.
  • However, to participate in our playing events we suggest that you have a Self-Grading of Level 4 or better (see below).
  • For Pianists, we suggest a Self-Grading of Level 3 or better.
  • Competent sight-reading is generally expected at playing events.  If you have limited sight-reading ability then you should prepare works to play.

What is Self-Grading and How is it used?

Self-Grading is an assessment of your playing ability and experience. While it's tempting to see it as a status symbol, it should not be.

It is used:

  1. in the Membership Register to guide members seeking to find other players of similar standard; and
  2. at Playing Events to group players, so that the groups are made up of players of a similar standard.

So it is important that you assess yourself honestly. Being either too generous or too modest in your assessment will mean that you may be grouped inappropriately, leading to disappointment all round. You can re-assess your self-grading at any time as your circumstances change.

Should I be able to play the works mentioned on the self-grading questionnaire?

Not necessarily, but you should be familiar with works of that standard. The works listed are examples only, but are regarded by many musicians as core chamber music repertoire.

Brief Description of Self-Grading Levels

Level Description
P Professional. You are better than grade "1". You perform professionally.
1 You are able to play fairly almost anything.
2 You are very comfortable with the standard chamber music repertoire, though you like to practise before attempting difficult pieces.
3 You are able to play many standard works, though you avoid the more difficult ones.
4 You have some experience playing chamber music, and are starting to explore the standard chamber music repertoire.
5 You are a beginner, with little or no experience playing chamber music.


Note for Violinists:

  1. Due to differences in difficulty of Violin I and II parts, self-grading on violin assumes Violin I.
  1. If you are able to lead an all-string group, please let us know by placing 'L' after your grade, e.g. Level 2L.