Summer Pre-College Music

The summer 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 is 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 summer Pre-College Music program is an extraordinary way for young musicians to spend their summer.

The summer 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.

The Experience

Instruction is challenging, creativity is expected and the responsibility of making music and training musicians is taken very seriously. At Carnegie Mellon, we are proud of our history in which tradition and technology co-exist. The School of Music has graduated superb musicians who are known worldwide as performers, composers, conductors and educators.


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.


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 summer 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
  • Solfège (Sight-Singing)
  • Eurhythmics
  • Concert Choir
  • Attendance at weekly performances by professional musicians
Application Process

When applying to the program, all students must audition into a major studio: instrumental, vocal or composition. Applicants must 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. Please upload your audition materials to the Carnegie Mellon Audition Dropbox

The following file formats will be accepted:

Video Extensions = .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .ogg, .mov, .avi, .wmv, .m4v .vob
Audio Extensions = .mp3, .ogg, .m4a, .aiff, .wma, .wav, .aac
Image Extensions = .jpeg, .png, .gif, .jpg
Document Extensions = .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 our website here to learn more. 


Resident - $7,680
Commuter - $5,366

Limited Scholarships

Pre-College Music is pleased to offer a number of merit-based tuition scholarships to its most talented applicants. Due to CMU’s focus on chamber music, scholarships are only available to fully-formed chamber groups of 3 or more players. The chamber group may be created specially for the purposes of this scholarship. 

Deadline: April 3, 2017

Read about guidelines and submission instructions on the 2017 Pre-College Music Scholarship Application.