10 Excellent Pre-College Performing Arts Programs for High School Students

February 8, 2024

High school is a crucial time for aspiring performers to hone their skills and discover their passions. In this blog post, we explore ten exceptional pre-college performing arts programs designed to elevate the talents of high school students. From immersive workshops to intensive training, these programs offer a unique gateway to artistic exploration and skill development.

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Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center Summer Camp

Stagedoor Manor Summer Camp provides a fulfilling experience for performers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Each session, campers are cast in a show and participate in six different classes, including acting, musical theater, vocal training, movement, dance, film acting, stage combat, and more. With over sixty core classes and twenty-five specialty classes, the camp offers a diverse range of options.

Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard

Set in Orlando, Florida, Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard offers on-site performing arts intensives in dance, drama, and music. The program provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in their chosen discipline—including drama, piano, voice, and musical theater—allowing them to focus on developing technical skills and deepen their artistic understanding. Led by Juilliard faculty, the program includes daily technique classes, creative workshops, ensemble study, interactive seminars, and private lessons aimed at nurturing healthy artistic skills and habits. Participants form lasting friendships and create lifelong memories during this immersive experience.

Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Drama Program

This six-week residential program, which provides specialized tracks in musical theater, acting, and design/production, is designed for high school juniors and seniors seeking training for college auditions and interviews in the field of drama. Students engage in a range of classroom activities, projects, workshops, and master classes led by experienced Carnegie Mellon faculty. The program encourages exploration and offers a glimpse into a broader liberal arts undergraduate experience, with a curriculum designed to enrich students' knowledge and skills in their chosen discipline and beyond.

Ghostlight Theater Camp

Ghostlight Theater Camp is a summer program catering to kids and teens with a focus on instilling core values such as joy, creativity, gratitude, and community. The camp offers performing arts experiences for all skill levels, ranging from foundational skills for beginners to more intensive training programs for experienced actors. Participants not only acquire acting skills but also develop lasting friendships and essential social skills. The camp aims to nurture a love for the performing arts and provide campers with lifelong skills, preparing them to be active participants and leaders in their communities. For those interested in exploring the world of theater and building a foundation for future pursuits, Ghostlight Theater Camp offers a welcoming, enriching environment.

Idyllwild Arts Summer Teen Programs

The Idyllwild Arts Summer Program provides a diverse range of intensive workshops in various arts disciplines. The program includes immersive high school intensives and workshops for teens aged thirteen to seventeen, offering both residential and day program options. Participants of all skill levels engage in hands-on experiences, fostering creativity in a supportive environment. The program not only challenges students to build skills and confidence but also emphasizes educational values, personal development, and achievement. Programs in the performing arts include piano performance, acting for the camera, theater, ballet, musical theater, and dance.

Interlochen Arts Camp

Interlochen Arts Camp provides residential summer camp experiences for students in grades three through twelve across a number of arts disciplines. Programs run from one to six weeks, with programs in the performing arts including ballet, contemporary dance, hip-hop, instrumental performance, vocal performance, opera, and musical theater.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music Viola Workshop

This workshop, a week-long program for viola students aged thirteen through seventeen, is led by Oberlin Conservatory Professor of Viola Peter Slowik. Assisted by accomplished alumni from his studio, the workshop focuses on the intersection of music, physical motion, and viola technique, emphasizing the concept of "conductivity" for unimpeded energy flow in string playing. Participants in the workshop engage in warm-up sessions, daily technique sessions, master classes, and interpretation sessions. The program also includes lectures on practicing, chamber music, and orchestral playing, along with private lessons, viola ensemble rehearsals, and reading sessions. Attendees have the option to sign up for additional lessons with Slowik or guest faculty, providing a comprehensive and enriching experience in viola mastery.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music Flute Boot Camp for High School Students

The Advanced Flute Workshop is a week-long program tailored for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors seeking intensive training in flute playing. The workshop, designed for advanced flutists, includes daily warm-up sessions, technical workshops, coaching, ensemble work, and rehearsals with a skilled pianist. Participants will benefit from two lessons with Associate Professor of Flute Alexa Still – a 45-minute private lesson and an open master class lesson. The program concludes with an optional concert, providing a comprehensive, focused experience for dedicated flute players looking to enhance their skills.

Berklee Aspire: Five Week Music Performance Intensive

This comprehensive summer program provides an immersive experience in music performance, featuring one-on-one instruction with Berklee faculty, a rigorous curriculum offering college credit, and a customizable schedule based on participants' interests and abilities. Students focus on a principal instrument while exploring various aspects of the music industry, including songwriting, music production, and business. The program offers abundant performance opportunities, including open mics and jam sessions, culminating in over two hundred ensemble performances in the final week. Successful completion of core classes earns participants three college credits.

The Juilliard School Summer Dance Intensive

The Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive is a carefully crafted program catering to dancers aged fifteen through seventeen, providing an introduction to Juilliard and valuable insights into college dance programs. Each day features sessions on the Juilliard Campus, incorporating technique classes, discussions, evening rehearsals, and collaborations with guest choreographers. Participants engage with faculty, students, and staff and have one-on-one meetings with Dance Division Dean and Director Alicia Graf Mack or Associate Director Mario Alberto Zambrano. The program culminates in a final show, where dancers present new choreography and repertoire for family and friends. The program also offers supervised activities during free evenings and weekends, including Broadway shows, walks in Central Park, movies, and outdoor performances at Lincoln Center.