10 Amazing Pre-College Music Programs for High School Students

December 22, 2023

For aspiring musicians, attending the perfect pre-college music program can be a life-changing experience. Whether you are an instrumental virtuoso, a vocal prodigy, or a music enthusiast eager to delve into the industry, such a program can help put you on a path to success as a musical artist or elsewhere in the industry. In this blog post, we discuss ten of the best pre-college music programs for high school students, from a five-week intensive at the prestigious Berklee College of Music to a summer performing arts program at the world-renowned Juilliard School.

At AtomicMind, we have years of experience helping students find and apply to pre-college music programs that reflect their interests. Feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Berklee Aspire: Five Week Music Performance Intensive

Offered by Berklee College of Music, this comprehensive summer program provides participants with an immersive experience featuring one-on-one instruction with the school’s renowned faculty. The program focuses on enhancing instrumental or vocal performance skills, including band collaboration, improvisation, and music reading. In addition, students explore various aspects of the music industry through elective coursework such as songwriting, music production, and music business. The schedule is customized to each participant's abilities and interests, with frequent performance opportunities. Participants who successfully complete the core classes can earn college credits.

Boston University Tanglewood Institute

Located near the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is a prestigious summer training program for talented young musicians. Hosted by the BU College of Fine Arts, BUTI, which is associated with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offers transformative two-week workshops for students aged fourteen through twenty. Participants can expect to experience significant musical growth and learning in the company of world-renowned music professionals and teachers.

Carnegie Mellon School of Music Pre-College Program

This program provides a college-like experience for students, allowing them to live on campus and attend classes taught by conservatory professors. Participants, who can choose to focus on instrumental performance, vocal performance, composition, or music technology/electronic music, engage in various musical activities such as private lessons, academic courses, and performance ensembles. The program offers a safe environment for students to explore college life while enjoying musical opportunities tailored to their chosen major.

Choate Summer Programs - Summer Music Festival

The Summer Music Festival at Choate Rosemary Hall is a two-week, intensive instrumental music program catering to violin, viola, and cello players of all skill levels. Participants engage in daily play-ins, led by experienced instructors. The program aims to enhance students' knowledge of music theory, history, and technology through private lessons, performance classes, recitals, and sight-reading sessions. The festival offers a variety of activities, including play-ins, group classes, private lessons, and social time, with half-day and full-day programs available. The curriculum is designed to accommodate different ability levels, and instructors come from artistic institutions and professional ensembles worldwide. The program tailors each student's experience to their ability level, ensuring a balanced schedule of instruction, practice, and collaboration.

Genius Olympiad: Music

GENIUS Music is a program that utilizes music performances to raise awareness about and propose solutions to environmental issues. Student artists can influence the public through impactful performances in any musical style, emphasizing high performance quality, rehearsal dedication, and thoughtful execution. Projects must incorporate an environmental tie-in, whether through a composition explicitly related to the environment or by explaining the connection in an artist statement. The program includes three categories—solo performance, group performance, and singer—allowing students to showcase their talents individually or in collaboration with others. Finalists have the opportunity to present their projects at the five-day Genius Olympiad at the University of Rochester, with participants receiving a GENIUS Participant Certificate.

NYU Steinhardt Summer Electronic Music Institute (SEMI)

The Summer Institute of Music Technology (SIMT) at NYU Steinhardt is a two-week intensive program designed for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in exploring and enhancing their understanding of music and audio technology. Tailored for both student musicians and producers, the course covers studio production techniques, electronic music production, music and audio hardware development, and more. Led by Steinhardt faculty and guest artists, students delve into topics such as production strategies, recording techniques, the physics of sound, improvisation with technology, mixing and mastering, microphones, DIY synth and audio circuit building, and musical collaboration methodologies. SIMT involves informative lectures and masterclasses, emphasizing independent and collaborative work to create original musical compositions by combining existing knowledge with new technologies and techniques.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music Baroque Performance Institute

The Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute is a leading summer workshop dedicated to baroque instruments and voice, offering preparation for musicians to perform major works on period instruments. Participants learn from experienced faculty and resident artists, engaging in master classes, recitals, and concerts to refine baroque techniques and deepen their understanding of this distinctive musical genre. The program is open to high school students who are skilled at playing on modern instruments, but does not require experience on baroque instruments.

Stanford Jazz Workshop

The Stanford Jazz Workshop provides an immersive, supportive environment for instrumentalists and vocalists to enhance their jazz skills, focusing on improvisation. With classes led by renowned jazz artists and educators, the goal of the program is to improve improvisation skills by helping students recognize, understand, and play jazz sounds. The workshop includes small-group or one-on-one courses, private lessons, improvisation and performance studies, instrument-specific and vocal master classes, and musicianship classes. Participants can stay on or commute from campus, enjoying free admission to nightly Stanford Jazz Festival concerts, faculty jams, social activities, and sports.

Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard

Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard offers on-site intensives in dance, drama, and music in Orlando, Florida. Students can immerse themselves in their chosen major, focusing on technical skill development. Piano majors explore the core values of performing as concert pianists in solo and chamber music. Voice majors develop as complete singers in solo and ensemble settings, while musical theater majors delve into singing, acting, and dancing for musical theater at a professional level. Led by Juilliard faculty members, the program includes daily technique classes, creative workshops, ensemble study, interactive seminars, and private lessons to nurture healthy artistic skills and habits.

University of Colorado LYNX National Arts & Media Camp - Music Industry Program

Covering performance, singer/songwriter, music business, and recording arts, this program provides high school students with a two-week exploration of various aspects of the music industry during the summer. Students choose two elective courses and participate in two ensembles, with offerings ranging from mobile devices to singer/songwriter, depending on student interest. Those attending the camp before their senior year have the opportunity to audition for the University of Colorado Denver’s Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) program.