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.


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
  • Solf├Ęge (Sight-Singing)
  • Eurhythmics
  • Concert Choir
  • Attendance at weekly performances by professional musicians
Application Process

All students interested in the Pre-college Music program will be required to submit a Pre-college application. The online application will be the first step before submitting the audition portion of the application. Please upload your audition materials through

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 requirements for the Part-Time Commuter option on the School of Music website.


Resident - $8,573
Commuter - $6,088

Limited Scholarships

Pre-College Music is pleased to offer a number of merit-based tuition scholarships to its most talented applicants. Due to Carnegie Mellon'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. 

Scholarships are reviewed on a rolling basis.

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

Tuition Waivers

If you're looking to attend the Pre-College Music program at no cost, there are limited opportunities for tuition waivers. When applying to this program, you'll be able to indicate you'd like to be considered for this option.