The Pre-College Music program offers a unique view of the life of a music student at Carnegie Mellon in a supportive environment of study and performance. It's an ideal opportunity to experience a world-class conservatory program and discover your potential for a career in music. Coupled with the rich cultural life of the city of Pittsburgh and varied campus activities, the Pre-College Music program is an extraordinary way for young musicians to spend their summer.

The Pre-College Music program will give you the opportunity to see what college is like. This is not high school and it is not camp. You get to live on campus, take classes with conservatory professors, play, rehearse, perform and enjoy the freedom of college life in a safe environment.


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 requiremetns of all students:

  • Private Studio
  • Music Theory
  • Solfège (Sight-Singing)
  • Eurhythmics
  • Concert Choir
  • Attendance at weekly performances by professional musicians
Fees & Requirements

There are a limited number of scholarships available for students applying to the Summer Programs for Diversity for the Fine Arts. Scholarships cover the costs of tuition, housing and dining. All students are responsible for the costs of books, supplies, transportation and recreational expenses, with an average cost of $300. Students who are awarded scholarships 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 compostitions (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. Complete the Pre-College Part-Time Commuter Music Registration Form to begin registration. Visit the School of Music website to learn more.