Summer Pre-College Music

Pre-College Music gives high school students the opportunity to improve as a musician and learn about life in a conservatory-style college curriculum. Throughout Pre-College Music, students gain valuable experiences; by being immersed in a conservatory style curriculum and in preparing for college auditions, while experiencing what life is like within an internationally-recognized, research university. The program includes six weeks of lessons and coaching that aid in choosing and preparing appropriate repertoire for undergraduate auditions. Pre-College Music also very closely mirrors the first six weeks of the undergraduate first-year curriculum - students take the same coursework, with the same schedule, classrooms, faculty and program rigor as first-year undergraduates.



A core curriculum of private studio lessons, major performing ensembles and music support courses are required for every student. 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 the audition recording or on submitted compositions.

Major Studios

Instrumental Performance
Students majoring in a particular instrument participate in classes and music experiences designed to develop them into well-rounded musicians. Instrumental majors receive a private studio lesson each week, participate in the summer orchestra, wind ensemble and chamber music ensembles, and have multiple opportunities to attend master classes through the summer.

Vocal Performance
The vocal performance major has a rich curriculum of performance and music support opportunities. 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 technique and the preparation and presentation of classical repertoire. Voice majors also take dance, acting and vocal performance classes and perform with the summer Concert Choir and the Summer Opera Workshop.

Composition majors receive a private studio lesson each week and explore several areas of music composition including theory, orchestration and electronic music, both in classes and in individual instruction. Students are encouraged to create music for performance at one of the Pre-College concerts. All summer compositions majors will submit original works at the end of the summer to be read and recorded by a professional chamber ensemble.

Students may major in the following areas:

  • Bagpipe
  • Bassoon
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Composition
  • Double Bass
  • Euphonium
  • Flute
  • Guitar
  • Harp
  • Horn
  • Jazz Piano
  • Music Technology
  • Oboe
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Organ
  • Saxophone
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Tuba
  • Viola
  • Violin
  • Voice

Program requirements of all students:

  • Private Studio
  • Music Theory
  • Solf√®ge (Sight-Singing)
  • Eurhythmics
  • Concert Choir
  • Attendance at weekly performances by professional musicians
Tuition Waivers, Fees & Requirements

There are limited fee waivers available for students applying for Pre-College Music. Fee waivers cover the cost of tuition, housing and dining. All students are responsible for the costs of materials/supplies, transportation and recreational expenses, with an average cost of $300. Students who are awarded fee waivers will be notified in their decision letter.

When applying to the program, all students must audition into a Major Studio: instrumental, vocal or composition. Please upload an audio recording of a solo representative of your level of performance (vocal/instrumental applicants) or scores of recent original compositions (composition applicants). Please include a summary or resumé of your musical training and accomplishments. Carnegie Mellon accepts pre-screening materials via upload to the Carnegie Mellon Audition Dropbox. This dropbox is also used for final recorded auditions.

The following file formats will be accepted:

Video = .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .ogg, .mov, .avi, .wmv, .m4v, .vob
Audio = .mp3, .ogg, .m4a, .aiff, .wma, .wav, .aac
Image = .jpeg, .png, .gif', .jpg
Document = .txt, .rtf, doc, .docx, .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .sib, .mus

Local Pittsburgh students may be interested in the Part-Time Commuter option. The Part-Time Commuter option requires that students live in or near Pittsburgh and can commute to campus. Visit the School of Music website to learn more or apply to this option.