Music Summer Programs for High School Students

Introductory Information about Summer Music Programs

Music Notes for a Music Summer ProgramSummer music programs provide high school students with the opportunity to enhance their musical skills, interact with instructors, meet peers with a similar interest, and enjoy immersing themselves in a musical experience after the traditional school year has come to a close.
Summer music can vary in a number of ways such as length, location, instrument of focus, and skill level. As a result, it is important for high school students to review the opportunities offered by different programs and then select those programs that best align with their summer goals, priorities, and interests.
This page of the summer programs directory includes important information about summer music programs and this is followed by descriptions and listings of specific summer music opportunities that may be of interest.
In addition to the information about music programs on this page, students may also have an interest in the content on other pages of this directory.  For example,
    • Summer programs that help students progress in theatre, including musical theatre.
    • Pre-college programs that enable high school students to take courses (typically multiple subject areas are available) in a college setting.
    • Summer programs designed to provide students with opportunities in the visual arts.
    • Ideas to consider when visiting a college while also participating in a summer program on the campus.

A Variety of Music Summer Programs

Clarinet for a Summer Music ProgramThe focus of a summer music program can vary widely. Some programs are designed to focus on comprehensive ensembles such as band, orchestra, or chorus.
There are also programs that are more narrowly tailored in order to focus on specific instruments or areas within music such as clarinet, piano, trumpet, violin, percussion, viola, and more. Music programs that are designed to help students to enhance their skills in one area are often called intensives.
There are also a number of programs that combine ensembles with specific sessions or workshops that focus on a particular area (e.g. clarinet, percussion). These programs tend to give students the opportunity to receive instruction on a particular area during part of the day and then come together in a larger group and receive instruction in an ensemble setting.

Preparation for College Admission through Summer Music Programs

Piano Keys - Music Summer ProgramSome music pre-college programs enable high school students to prepare for auditions that may be a requirement for direct admission into a music major or a school of music. These programs often take place on college campuses or music conservatories. These programs can often provide students with information and insights about studying music in a higher education setting.
Other programs may enable students to practice and rehearse pieces that could be potentially used for music auditions. During a program, students can receive valuable feedback from an instructor and then use this feedback to enhance their performance skills.
In addition, some pre-college music programs give students a chance to work with faculty members from the department of music, meet current students majoring in this area, and explore music in a college environment. This can help to prepare students for the transition out of high school into post-secondary education.
The experiences on a college campus and the interactions with university instructors as well as current undergraduates can be particularly valuable for high school students who are considering majoring or minoring in music in a higher education setting.


Culminating Experiences in Music Summer Programs 

Performance at a Music Summer ProgramMany music summer programs provide students with some type of culminating experience such as a performance for friends, family, and the community.  This can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for high school students, as they have the opportunity to apply their learning during a summer program in a culminating performance.
Overall, music summer programs can provide high school students with a variety of musical experiences. Participating in a program may serve to foster a continued enthusiasm for music. Summer music opportunities can also provide students with the chance to learn in a new setting, gain insight from different instructors, and play music alongside of their peers.

Featured Music Summer Programs

University of Colorado music summer program for high school students

University of Colorado at Boulder Summer Music Program – Boulder, Colorado

The College of Music at the University Colorado hosts an exciting summer music program for high school students. The summer music academy draws high school musicians from around the state and across the country. The program is designed for students with experience in orchestra, band, and piano. In the program, participants have the opportunity to utilize the resources at the university, interact with other young muscians, and learn from experienced conductors and professors.

The one-week summer program is designed for high school students who have experience with orchestra, band, or piano. During the program, participating students have the chance to receive individual attention and to get to know other musicians at the high school level. In the program, students also have the chance to collaborate with each other while engaging in music-based activities in small ensembles. Through the instruction, students can build upon their skills as a musician and a performer.

The program is also designed to help high school students become more familiar with college life and studying music in a post-secondary educational setting. As a result, students become more familiar with the type of curriculum, classes, and expectations that are utilized in a college music program.

The summer program has a residential option as well as a commuter option. The residential option enables students to stay on the campus and to preview what it is like to live in a college environment. The commuter option tends to be less expensive, but still gives students the opportunity to participate in the daily musical activities. Both the residential and commuter option enable students to gain experience being on a college campus and developing their musical skills in a higher education setting.

There are some partial scholarships for the program that are primarily based on financial need in order to attend. Enrollment in the program is limited.  There is an application process for the program.

Participants: High school students who will have finished their freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year by the summer.

Learn more: University of Colorado Music Summer Program

Elizabethtown College summer music program for high school students

Elizabethtown College Summer Music Camp – Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Elizabethtown offers students in high school and middle school the opportunity to come to the campus in the summer and enhance their musical skills. Participants have the chance to learn in a variety of settings, interact with experienced instructors, meet other musicians from different locations, and take part in a program that promotes the enjoyment of music.

The program includes a variety of different types music, which include chamber orchestra, piano, band, chorus, and more. There are also elective music ensembles that students can participate in.

During the summer camp, students have the opportunity to learn, rehearse, and perform pieces in ensembles while also receiving valuable feedback in smaller group settings. The summer camp helps students to learn new music techniques, develop performance skills, and prepare for school-based music programs (e.g. band, orchestra).

This pre-college program enables students to get an early sense of what life is like on a college campus. Students can stay in university dorms, eat meals in campus dining halls, and gain experience with living and learning on a college campus. After the daily music activities, there are a variety of extracurricular and social activities that are a part of the program.

Participants: High school and middle school students in grades seven through twelve.

Learn more: Elizabethtown Summer Music Program

Florida State University (FSU) Music Summer Camps – Tallahassee, Florida

The music camps at Florida State are designed to enable a diverse group of students to come to the campus during the summer. The differentiated instruction that is provided through the music programs at FSU allows participants of any skill level to take part in the activities. The music camps also provide opportunities for a variety of grade levels, which includes high school students and younger students.

There are a variety of instrumental summer camps. These include orchestra, jazz, band, guitar, and piano. Many of the camps involve small and large ensembles as well as sectionals. There is also a music theory component to the programs. In addition, typically, students can also receive individual attention from the camp instructors. For example, in many of the programs, students can opt to take private lessons during the summer experience.

The summer camps are designed to match participating students with the most appropriate ensemble. The experience level is assessed towards the beginning of the camp sessions in order to provide students with the most useful instruction and experience.

The summer camps conclude with student performances. These give students the opportunity to implement what they have learned during the summer program sessions.

The FSU summer music camps have a residential and a commuter option. Both options give students the chance to gain experience on a college campus. The residential option enables students to develop an understanding of life on a university’s campus, which may be particularly useful for college-bound high school students. The option to stay on the campus also enables students from many different locations to attend the summer music programs.

Participants: Students of grade levels from elementary to high school.

Learn more: FSU Summer Music Camps

Indiana University summer music program for high school students

Indiana University Summer College Audition Preparation Music Program – Bloomington, Indiana

This unique music summer program is offered by the School of Music at Indiana University. The program is designed to help high school students prepare for college auditions. The program includes preparation for vocal music, instrumental music (certain instruments), and composition. In each of these sections of the program, students work with faculty members from IU to address multiple aspects of the college auditioning process.

This program assists students in breaking down important parts of the process involved with auditioning for a college music program. This includes preparing pieces for the audition, stage presences, interviews, managing anxiety pertaining to auditions, and more. Students receive feedback and coaching on an individual level and in small group settings.

During this program, students learn about college auditions through a variety of activities. These include, but are not limited to, discussions about auditions, viewing demonstrations by faculty members, working in small groups, receiving individual instruction, and participating in simulations of auditions.

Students in this program have the option of staying on campus in a university dormitory. This can students become more familiar with the expectations involved with living on a university campus.

There is limited space in this program so that students can receive individualized and small group attention from a faculty member.

Participants: High school students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.

Learn more: IU College Audition Preparation Summer Program

Indiana University summer music program for high school students

Penn State University Summer Honors Music Program – University Park, Pennsylvania

Penn State offers a summer music program to help talented musicians continue to hone their craft. The program enables high school students to experience life at the university’s School of Music, which provides the chance for participants to gain experience on a college campus, interact with faculty members, utilize college-level resources, and get a feel for music opportunities in higher education.

The one-week-long program has specific focus areas and participants concentrate on one of the areas during the program to enhance their learning and performance skills. There is a wide range of high-interest music areas such as piano, jazz, choir, technology, composition, and more.

The program provides multiple ways for students to develop their musical skills. Through the program, students take part in classes, work one-on-one with instructors, perform with other participants, and share music in recitals. Students work on strengthening their musical skills, implementing new techniques, and developing confidence for performances.

During the program, high school students can stay on the campus at the university. There is an application for the program that involves providing audition materials.

Participants: The program is open to high school students who will be going into their freshman year after the summer through current seniors who are preparing to graduate.

Learn more: PSU Summer Honors Music Program

Westminster Summer Music Programs at Rider University – Lawrenceville, New Jersey

The Westminster College of the Arts, at Rider University in New Jersey, offers summer music programs for high school students as well as middle school students. The programs enable students to enhance their musical skills, learn from experienced instructors, and collaborate with peers from many different locations.

The High School Program offers students a variety of options. The areas of music include, but are not limited to, piano, music composition, vocal arts, music theatre, film, and more. Participants have the opportunity to learn from and interact with instructors, gain insight into new techniques, and take part in hands-on experiences. A number of the programs include a culminating performance in which students can apply what they have learned and implement new techniques.

The music programs provide students with a chance to preview college during the summer experience. In particular, high school students can become more familiar with college-level music material and develop a better understanding of what life is like on a university campus.

The programs offer on-campus housing or a commuter option. Students, who select the residential option, can stay in university-run dorms and utilize campus resources. Students, who select to commute, can participate in the activities and learning experiences on the campus and return home each evening.

Participants: High school students and middle school students.

Learn more: Westminster Summer Music Programs

University of Rochester summer jazz music program for high school students

University of Rochester Summer Jazz Program Rochester, New York

The School  of Music at the university offers a unique and productive jazz experience for high school students during the summer. Participants have the chance to delve deeply into jazz during the two-week program. High school students also have the opportunity to converse with and learn from experienced university instructors from the School of Music.

This music program is designed for students with a strong interest in jazz and who are considering this area for further study in post-secondary education. This summer experience at Rochester gives students a sense for the learning process that takes place in a college-level music program and helps them to become more familiar with opportunities involving music in higher education.

Through this program, high school students have the chance to engage in a variety of activities to develop and build their music skills. For example, students take part in instrument-based workshops and learn about effective techniques to utilize during concerts. Students can also engage in discussion and reflection pertaining to their learning and apply new ideas as the program proceeds. 

The program places an emphasis on experiential learning, hands-on exercises, concert rehearsals, and the enhancement of jazz knowledge. The summer experience is designed foster an atmosphere that values jazz and provide instruction to enhance performance skills. The program also enables high school to become more familiar with the college environment.

The summer music program is a pre-college program. As a result, high school students learn about the content (music), but they can also gain practical experience by living on the campus in university-run housing. This enables them to get a feel of life in a college setting.

Participants: High school students freshman through seniors.

Learn more: Rochester Summer Jazz Music Experience

University of South Carolina summer music program for high school students

University of South Carolina Summer Music Program – Columbia, South Carolina

The University of South Carolina offers a summer music program for experienced high school musicians. The program, known as the Carolina Summer Music Conservatory, brings high school students to the university’s campus and enables them to work with faculty members. Participants can immerse themselves in a week-long music experience and enhance their skills as musicians. The program is designed to be for high school students with experience in areas such as percussion, piano, voice, brass, and more.

During the summer program, students have a chance to work with instructors in small chamber groups, individually, and in a large chamber ensemble. Participants receive individual attention and feedback to continue to progress as musicians. Students can also take classes in high-interest areas such as jazz, improvisation, and auditioning.

There are a variety of performances that take place in this summer music camp. Students have the opportunity to see faculty members perform and they have the chance to perform as well. There are solo performances as well as a chamber orchestra performance towards the conclusion of the program.

There is an option to be a residential participant or a commuter student. Residential participants can stay in university housing and have meals in facilities on the campus. The residential model enables students to gain experience with living on a campus in a college setting. Commuter participants can engage in the activities that are offered throughout each day and then return home or to another arranged setting.

Participants: High school students.

Learn more: USC Summer Music Program

Summer Music Programs for High School Students

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