Improve as a musician in a world-class conservatory while experiencing the life of a college student, studying and living in a university setting.
Aug. 3, 2024
|Early Decision & International Applications Due|
|Scholarship* & Regular Decision Applications Due|
**3-week option also available, ending July 13, 2024.
Pre-College Music mirrors the first weeks of Carnegie Mellon’s first-year undergraduate School of Music curriculum. It consists of private studio lessons, major performing ensembles, and music support courses. Additionally, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many minor studios and electives offered every summer. Acceptance into each course is contingent on demonstrated performance level either by an audition recording or on a submitted portfolio. Regardless of a student’s skill level, there is a place for them to learn and grow in this program.
Although we offer several program options, our residential 6-week option is the most enriching experience and produces the greatest results. This 6-week option provides the full scope of learning, allowing students to progress to more advanced repertoires both individually and in performance ensembles. We do, however, understand this level of commitment is not possible for all students. For that reason, we offer additional options that will provide a foundation for learning. Your Pre-College Music experience and level of growth will depend on which Pre-College Music option you choose.
Full-time: Residential or Commuter
Residential or Commuter: Full-time, 6-week option*
A rich, immersive university experience with rigorous instruction and extracurricular opportunities to help high school musicians discover their potential for a career in music.
Students participate in a course schedule modeled after the CMU freshman experience. Electives are available in minor studios, music technology, jazz studies, recording techniques, and more.
Required classes include:
• Private Studio Lessons
• Music Theory
• Solfège (Sight-Singing)
• Dalcroze Eurhythmics
• Performing Ensembles
• Concert Choir
• Music History Seminar
• Convocation (Includes performances by professional groups, admissions info sessions, and Q&A with faculty and current college students)
• Major-required courses
Students perform in several concerts culminating in Concert Week, which includes festival-style performances of chamber music, opera scenes, choir, jazz ensembles, and more.
In addition, students have access to extracurricular activities and events through Pre-College Student Affairs.
*Also offered in a truncated 3-week format.
Part-time: Commuter (local students only)
Part-time: Commuter (students residing in the Pittsburgh region only)
Supplemental instruction for students looking to maintain and expand musical study over the summer. This option is highly flexible and allows for local students with limited availability to participate in lessons and to perform in ensembles.
• Private Studio Lessons
• Music Theory, Solfège, or Dalcroze Eurhythmics (choose one)
• Any/All Performing Ensemble(s) (Millennium Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Choir, Jazz Choir, Brass Clinic, etc.)
• In order to be eligible as a commuter student, the parent or legal guardian must have a permanent residence within approximately 30 miles of campus or within Allegheny County. Families who relocate temporarily to the Pittsburgh area are not eligible for commuter status. There are no exceptions to this policy.
• The application fee is waived for Part-time: Commuter applicants.
• Part-time: Commuter applications are accepted through July 6, 2024.
Areas of Study
Instrumental Performance majors participate in classes and music experiences designed to develop them into well-rounded musicians. Students focus on the preparation and presentation of material for college auditions.
Instrumental majors receive a one-hour private studio lesson each week and participate in seminars to explore concepts and techniques of performance, discussing topics relevant to their concentration.
All students perform on the concert stage throughout the summer in faculty-coached chamber music groups, the Millennium Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and others.
Vocal Performance majors participate in a rich curriculum of performance and music support opportunities. Students focus on the preparation and presentation of classical repertoire, specifically for college auditions.
Voice majors receive a one-hour private studio lesson (with professional accompanist) and an additional half-hour private vocal coaching session each week through the summer, where they work on classical vocal technique.
Voice majors perform on the concert stage throughout the summer in the Concert Choir, vocal recital, and in voice masterclasses. They combine the skills gained from dance class, acting class, and private instruction in the performance of semi-staged opera scenes.
Composition majors receive a private studio lesson each week and explore several areas of music composition through both classroom and individual instruction. Areas of exploration include theory, orchestration, and electronic music.
All Composition majors meet in the Composers’ Forum to hear lectures, participate in discussion, and present student works or works-in-progress. At the end of the summer, students participate in a recording session with professional musicians who will read student works.
Composition majors may audition for any summer instrumental ensemble to develop collaborative playing. Ensembles include the Millennium Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and others.
Music Technology / Electronic Music
Music Technology / Electronic Music majors work in a private studio setting to develop the skills needed to be a successful studio engineer and/or create electronic music compositions.
Along with private studio lessons, these students work in a fully equipped studio recording live musicians. ln these sessions, they are taught proper recording practices such as microphone selection/placement, advanced microphone techniques, and studio management. They learn the basics of Pro Tools as well as how to use industry-standard plugins necessary for post-production.
Music Technology / Electronic Music majors meet in the weekly Music Tech Forum to hear lectures, participate in discussion, and present student works or works-in-progress. Students also take Recording Techniques and Music Technology Lab courses, where they study the properties of sound and learn the basics of digital audio, MIDI, sequencing, and multimedia through the use of several different computer programs. Basic and advanced concepts of notation software will also be covered.
Music Technology / Electronic Music majors may audition for any summer instrumental ensemble to develop collaborative playing. Ensembles include the Millennium Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and others.
Major Studio Options
Students may major in the following areas:
|Music Technology / Electronic Music
Minor Studio Options
Lessons optional but recommended. Additional fees apply.
Through the Minor Studio options, students may take introductory or advanced lessons on any of the major instruments listed below, with the addition of Songwriting, Jazz Piano, Jazz Voice, and/or Conducting.
Eligibility and Application Requirements
To be eligible for Pre-College Music, students must:
Be at least 16 years old by the program start date (to participate in the full-time program options).
Be a current sophomore or junior in high school at the time of application submission (to participate in the full-time program options).
Have a strong interest in music.
The complete application for full-time Pre-College Music consists of the following:
Completed online application
Standardized test scores (optional)
One letter of recommendation
Response to essay prompt
Submission of the following audition requirements:
Instrumental and Vocal Performance majors should submit recordings of two to three contrasting pieces that demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement. (Vocalists: Please note that Pre-College Music focuses mainly on classical repertoire, rather than musical theater.)
Composition majors should submit two to three manuscripts of original compositions showing their range in genre, training, and ability. If possible, include an recording of each of the submitted compositions. An electronically generated recording is acceptable.
Music Technology / Electronic Music majors should submit a portfolio containing samples of their creative work. This may include audio recordings of performances or compositions that you engineered, video recordings of performances or compositions that you produced or edited, and/or screenshots of your software or other creative work. If this is not possible, please provide a written statement that outlines your specific interests and experience with music technology or electronic music.
Application Essay Prompts
An essay is required for the following prompt (300-500 words):
What do you hope to gain from participating in Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are scholarships available?
Yes, but only to students in the Residential 6-week option.
I have a family member who lives in Pittsburgh. If I live with them for the summer, can I register for the Part-time: Commuter option?
No. To be eligible as a Commuter student, the parent or legal guardian must have a permanent residence within approximately 30 miles of campus or within Allegheny County. There are no exceptions to this policy. Families who relocate temporarily to the Pittsburgh area are not eligible for commuter status.
What will I have to play for orchestra, wind ensemble, or chamber music placement auditions?
You should arrive with an example of your best playing to present to the directors of the different ensembles. We are asking for these auditions for placement purposes only. This is not a ‘get-admitted-into-the-conservatory’ audition. The attitude is casual and relaxed. There are no repertoire requirements for these auditions. Think ‘example of my best playing.’ An excerpt of a movement or an etude would be good options.
What is the end-of-summer conservatory auditions?
All full-time music students participate in mandatory end-of-summer conservatory auditions. The audition experience is a valuable component of the summer, allowing students the opportunity to go through the paces of an undergraduate conservatory audition. Your summer Pre-College private studio faculty will prepare you for the audition experience.
Composition majors and Music Technology / Electronic Music majors will have a formal portfolio review and interview as part of their conservatory audition process.
At the end of the summer program, each student receives written feedback from Pre-College faculty. These individualized comments review achievement in coursework and private lessons, and also offer advice for continuing study.
Will I receive a transcript?
No. All courses are offered for enrichment only. Pre-College Music does not produce official Carnegie Mellon grades or transcripts.
Who are the classroom faculty?
The Pre-College Music faculty is made up of professors, conductors, instructors, and staff from its world-class conservatory program. Joining the core faculty will be working professionals engaged specifically for Pre-College Music. For additional faculty information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll be on campus this summer in a program other than Music. Can I sign up for private lessons? May I take a music elective? May I play in one of the ensembles?
Yes! We are happy to include students from other programs in our classes and ensembles.
The first concern is scheduling. Most students from other programs do not have the room in their schedule to take other courses, so you should first compare the music schedule and your own program schedule. Private lessons and chamber music are scheduled individually, so they are realistic options for most non-music majors. Placement auditions are required for orchestra, wind ensemble, and chamber music. Elective fees will apply to all these options.
Please note: Musical Theater students typically prefer private singing lesson options within the Pre-College Drama Program since private voice lessons with Pre-College Music focus on classical repertoire.