It seems like the Music Academy of the West season just began, but we’re already deep into Week Three, with just five to go. And one of the big events of the season is already upon us, a competition among the student instrumentalists that separates the merely great from those who are solo stage-performance-ready.

Here are some highlights of the coming week:

Thursday, July 5:

The first Community Concert, featuring young academy artists performing chamber music at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The free concerts – sort of mini-Picnic Concerts, continue at 2 pm each Thursday through August 9.

Friday, July 6:

Vocal Master Class with Warren Jones (3:15 pm; Abravanel Hall; $16/$14) Everybody’s favorite accompanies and co-chair (with opera singer Marilyn Horne) of MAW’s vocal program takes another solo turn, this time back on the Miraflores campus, where he will again offer insight into the interplay between the singer and instrumentalist. Also, Picnic Concert (7:30 pm, Abravanel; $18), the second of a season that already promises to be much more edgy and challenging than in previous years, as evidenced by the exhausting 25-minute long piano-spoken word-noise-making “De Profundis” by Frederic Rzewski (with words by Oscar Wilde) bravely performed by pianist Brendan Kinsella last week.

Saturday, July 7:

Concerto Competition Finals (10 am-4 pm, Abravanel; $15 full day, $8 from 10am-noon, or $10 from 1-4 pm) Nearly 60 instrumentalists have been whittled down to less than 25 for today’s day-long competition featuring young artists performing excerpts from concerti either solo or accompanied only by piano in the hopes of landing one of five highly coveted slots for Concerto Night on July 21. Winners get to perform with the 100-member Academy Festival Orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater, resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. Outwater, SF Symphony principal clarinetist and MAW alumnus Carey Bell and UCLA faculty violist Paul Coletti are this year’s judges.

Tuesday, July 10:

Vocal Master Class with Marilyn Horne (3:15 pm; Abravanel; $16/$14). The opera diva leads selected vocal students through an afternoon of working on technique and presentation, always one of the highlights of the summer. You don’t even have to like vocal music to appreciate Horne’s talent and gift for communication. Also, the third Tuesday@8 faculty chamber music concert (Lobero; $38), featuring four works new to the Music Academy: Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier Suite” (arranged by Eric Lagace), Toru Takemitsu’s “Hika for Violin & Piano,” Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to an Afternoon with a Faun” (arranged by Benno Sachs, scored for 11 instruments) and Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet.

Thursday, July 12:

Community Day Open House. Everything at the Miraflores campus is free today, including campus tours, a festival introduction and a special Concerto Night master class, featuring coaching session for competition winners as they prepare for their performance with the orchestra on July 21.

See “Classical Corner” on page 44 for an anatomy of a typical master class. Here’s the weekday master class schedule for the rest of the season:

Mondays 1 pm: Solo Piano (Jerome Lowenthal, Abravanel); 3:15pm: Violin (alternates between Zvi Zeitlin and Kathy Winkler, Lehmann), Percussion (Ted Atkatz on July 9; Michael Werner, Abravanel), Bassoon (Benjamin Kamns, Singher)

Tuesdays 1 pm: Brass Ensemble (various faculty, Abravanel); Flute (Timothy Day, Singher); 3:15pm: Vocal (various, Abravanel); Double Bass (Nico Abondolo, Lehmann).

Wednesdays 1 pm: Collaborative Piano (Jonathan Feldman, Lehmann), Horn (David Jolley on July 11; Eli Epstein, Abravanel), Oboe (David Weiss on July 11; Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, Singher); 3:15pm: Cello (Alan Stepansky through July 25, David Geber Aug. 1-8, Lehman), Trombone/Tuba (Mark Lawrence July 11 & 18, Ralph Sauer July 25-Aug. 8, Singher).

Thursdays 1 pm: Piano Chamber (Jerome Lowenthal, Lehmann); 3:15pm: Viola (Donald McInnes, Lehmann), Clarinet (Rich Hawley on July 12, Fred Ormond July 19-Aug. 2, Singher).

Fridays 1 pm: String Chamber (Peter Salaff, except Takacs String Quartet on July 20 & 27, Lehmann), Trumpet (Paul Merkelo through July 13, Josef Burgstaller July 20-Aug. 10); 3:15pm: Vocal (Warren Jones on July 6, Thomas Hampson on July 20, Abravanel) Brass Quintet (various faculty July 13 and July 27-Aug. 3, Abravanel).

Note: All woodwind, brass and percussion master classes have free admission. Tickets to string and piano master classes are $12 general, $11 students/seniors. Weekday vocal master classes are $16/$14.