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20 Summer Music Programs for High School Students in 2023

What’s Covered:

 

Looking to practice your pitch or come one step closer to mastering your favorite instrument? Summer music programs may strike a chord with you. Participate in one of these programs to dive deep into a wide variety of musical subjects, which will help you prepare for advanced music courses, learn about career opportunities in music, and explore passions ranging from a capella to the oboe.

 

The cost of summer music programs can vary from being free to a significant investment. Below is a list of 20 summer music programs, with a focus on options that are both high-quality and low-cost. Take a look below!

 

20 Summer Music Programs for High School Students

 

1. Rafael Méndez Brass Institute

 

Dates: July 16-22

Location: University of Denver 

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $950

 

The RMBI program provides young musicians with an unparalleled opportunity to hear performance and career development advice from world-renowned brass artists. The program takes the form of a seminar that features presentations, faculty recitals, and an open discussion with brass artists. 

 

To ensure proper placement in an ensemble, students are required to submit an audition recording with their application. A recommendation from a reference who knows their playing level is also encouraged. 

 

2. Morse Summer Music Academy

 

Dates: July 6-31

Location: Yale University 

Application Deadline: March 16 

Cost: Free

 

Fourth- through twelfth-grade students attending New Haven Public Schools are eligible for this free program. Run by Yale University’s School of Music, the Morse Summer Music Academy provides four weeks of interactive classes for string, brass, percussion, and choir students. Students will also participate in ensembles, get instruction, receive private coaching, and perform pop-up concerts across New Haven. 

 

Unlike the majority of summer music programs, student auditions are not necessary to apply to the Morse Academy‚ÄĒthe main application requirements are demonstrated musical accomplishment, enthusiasm, and good work habits.¬†

 

3. National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America

 

Dates: July 6-31

Location: Purchase College

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: Free

 

Widely regarded as the most prestigious summer music program in the US, NYO-USA offers high school instrumentalists between the ages of 16-19 the opportunity to perform and study music in the nation’s top orchestra. A worldwide tour of some of the most famous concert halls is also a part of the program. 

 

NYO-USA lasts three weeks and is completely free, with tuition, room, and board, and incidentals being paid for. Students must navigate a comprehensive audition process designed to identify the brightest young players in the nation to participate in this program. 

 

4. Music Production Workshop 

 

Dates: August 1-5

Location: Coast Music (Manhattan Beach, California)

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $595

 

Looking to learn how music is produced from start to finish? This five-day in-person workshop will explain the entire process, from the basics of a digital audio workstation to mixing and mastering techniques. Students can choose between tracks for songwriters, computer music producers, and instrumental music producers.

 

This camp has both commuter and residential opportunities‚ÄĒout-of-town participants can stay with a host, trusted families who provide a private room (or shared room with another approved participant), housing, breakfast, and dinner. The fee for staying with a host family is $200 per day.¬†

 

5. Lamont Summer Academy

 

Dates: June 18-July 1

Location: University of Denver

Application Deadline: 

  • Scholarship Deadline: February 15¬†
  • Regular Deadline: March 15

Cost: 

  • Commuter: $1,700
  • Residential: $2,200

 

Lamont Summer Academy offers high school students of every grade a highly customizable curriculum. Over the course of two weeks, students take four in-person classes of their choosing in their major area of study. Those include: 

 

  • String
  • Piano
  • Wind
  • Brass
  • Percussion
  • Guitar
  • Voice
  • Composition

 

Majors can then be paired with minors, ensemble participation, and electives to broaden the reach of the program. Lamont provides financial aid to students who demonstrate merit and need‚ÄĒalmost 70% of Lamont participants receive financial aid.

 

6. University of Miami Frost Young Musicians’ Live Summer Camp

 

Dates: July 6-15

Location: University of Miami

Application Deadline: 

  • Early Registration Deadline: April 1¬†
  • Scholarship Deadline: April 15¬†
  • Honors Program Deadline: May 1

Cost: $1,050- $1,875

 

High school students in any grade can participate virtually in one of six program tracks at the Frost Young Musicians’ Camp: 

 

  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Contemporary Voice¬†
  • Contemporary Songwriting
  • Music Production/Recording¬†

 

In addition to taking classes, participants get to meet and play with peers from across the U.S. and all over the globe.   

 

7. Boston Conservatory at Berklee High School Composition Intensive

 

Dates: July 17-29

Location: Berklee College of Music

Application Deadline: June 1

Cost: 

  • Tuition: $2,130
  • Housing and meals: $1,395

 

Join the Boston Conservatory for a rewarding and challenging two-week intensive program teaching music composition. High school composers between the ages of 15 and 18 are invited to the Berklee College of Music for individualized lessons from renowned faculty and instrumentalist performers. Classes cover the essentials of composition, including how to write quickly and effectively, rehearsal techniques, and communication skills. The program teaches through engagement, allowing each student composer to develop a portfolio of three works of their own.

 

8. Interlochen Arts Camp

 

Dates: June 17-23

Location: Interlochen Center for the Arts; Interlochen, Michigan 

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $1,750

 

Interlochen offers a plethora of one-week intensive programs for high school students, in addition to advanced programs which can last up to six weeks. The program offerings cover all mainstream orchestra instruments and styles of voice. Each intensive features world-renowned artists and personalized master classes, workshops, and practice opportunities. 

 

Need- and merit-based financial aid is available for all Interlochen summer programs except their one-week intensive camps. 

 

9. MPulse Performing Arts Institutes 

 

Dates: Varies 

Location: University of Michigan ‚Äď Ann Arbor

Application Deadline: February 1

Cost: $500-$1,785

 

If you are looking to strengthen your instrumental fundamentals and enhance technical skills, an MPulse could be just the program you are looking for. These in-person programs range from one to four weeks in duration and are designed for domestic and international high school students who are considering studying music at the undergraduate level. The Clarinet Institute, Girls in Music & Technology, and the Harp Institute are just a few of the program tracks on offer. 

 

A limited number of need-based and merit awards are available, along with the Watson Scholarship for Michigan residents. 

 

10. High School Conservatory at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

 

Dates: 

  • Session 1: July 2-15
  • Session 2: July 16-29
  • Session 3: July 30-August 12

Location: 

  • In-person at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (New York, NY) and AMDA College of the Performing Arts (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Online¬†

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: 

  • Online: $2,415
  • In-person commuter: $4,465
  • In-person residential: $5,965

 

AMDA is providing an immersive online music program to help you maintain your music skills. Join the Academy for two weeks to train with world-renowned faculty in a customizable mix of disciplines, including musical theatre, acting, dance theatre, and music recording in the pop industry. 

 

The conservatory is open to high school students between the ages of 14-19.  

 

11. The Summer Institute of Music Technology (SIMT) at Steinhardt  

 

Dates: 

  • Session 1: July 3-14
  • Session 2: July 17-28

Location: New York University (NYU)

Application Deadline: 

  • Session 1: April 17
  • Session 2: May 1

Cost: 

  • Tuition: $3,533
  • Housing and meals: $1,214

 

SIMT is a two-week intensive program for high school seniors and juniors interested in music and audio technology. Aspiring musicians and producers alike will benefit from this program as it explores topics such as:

 

  • Studio production techniques
  • Electronic music production
  • Music and audio hardware development
  • The physics of sound¬†
  • The science of hearing¬†
  • Mixing and mastering¬†

 

Participants will learn from NYU Steinhardt Music Technology faculty along with guest artists and have the opportunity to interact with music technology students and alumni. Need- and merit-based financial aid is available. 

 

12. The Sphinx Performance Academy 

 

Dates: 

  • University of Colorado Boulder: June 22-July 2
  • The Juilliard School: July 8-21
  • Cleveland Institute of Music: July 23-August 5

Location: 

  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • The Juilliard School
  • Cleveland Institute of Music

Application Deadline: February 12

Cost: Free 

 

This intensive chamber music and solo performance program provides high school students from underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to enrich their classical music education. The curriculum entails personalized mentorship, string quartet coachings, masterclasses, career advising, and recitals. 

 

SPA is entirely free of cost for all participants. Students must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:  

 

  • Eligible instruments: violin, viola, cello, and bass (Juilliard school only)
  • 11-17 years of age
  • U.S. citizens or legal US residents

 

13. Stanford Jazz Workshop Jazz Camp 

 

Dates: July 24-28

Location: Online

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $395

 

Do you have at least 12 months of music education, but are interested in applying your talents to jazz? The SJW Jazz Camp can give you the learning opportunity you have been looking for! This one-week program features masterclasses along with courses in musicianship and jazz theory taught by renowned jazz artists. The camp is specifically designed for high school vocalists and instrumentalists up to 18 years old, and no former jazz experience is required. Need and merit-based financial aid is available to students aged 17 and under.

 

14. Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)  

 

Dates: June 18-August 12

Location: Boston University Tanglewood Institute (Lenox, MA)

Application Deadline: January 25

Cost: $3,610-$6,260

 

BUTI hosts a number of programs for musically talented students between ages 14 and 20 in Lenox, Massachusetts, just down the road from the Tanglewood Music Center‚ÄĒthe summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Students will build fundamental techniques while participating in masterclasses, lessons, courses, and performing. BUTI offers programming in a broad spectrum of fields, including:¬†

 

  • Composition
  • Harp¬†
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Strings¬†
  • Voice¬†
  • Winds
  • Brass

 

Scholarships ranging from $500 to full tuition are available. 

 

15. GRAMMY Camp

 

Dates: July 16-22

Location: University of Southern California (USC) 

Application Deadline: March 21

Cost: $1,500

 

GRAMMY Camp is a five-day non-residential program for high schoolers in grades 9-12 interested in pursuing a career in music. The camp‚Äôs programming is divided into eight ‚Äúcareer tracks‚ÄĚ:

 

  • Audio engineering
  • Electronic music production
  • Songwriting
  • Vocal performance
  • Instrumental performance¬†
  • Music journalism¬†
  • Video production and motion graphics¬†
  • Music business

 

The program is led by music and industry professionals who provide campers with real-world insight into career paths. Need-based financial assistance is available to qualifying students. 

 

16. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

 

Dates: 

  • Session 1: June 21-July 2
  • Session 2: July 5-16

Location: Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Twin Lake, MI)

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $1,650-$1,740

 

For more than five decades, students have been providing a unique residential experience and inspiring burgeoning young artists. Two-week sessions are available to high schoolers in grades 9-12. A variety of programs are available for students with an interest in music, including:

 

  • Band
  • Choir¬†
  • Harp
  • Jazz
  • Orchestra¬†
  • Piano

 

In addition to working on their art, students are encouraged to make new friends, build a community among campers, and have a great time. 

 

17. Illinois Chamber Music Festival

 

Dates: July 9-29

Location: Illinois Wesleyan University

Application Deadline: April 21

Cost: 

  • Tuition: $950¬†
  • Room and board: $880¬†

 

This program is for talented high school and college chamber musicians‚ÄĒthe camp is aimed at strings, piano, winds, and harp. Over the duration of the program, students take part in masterclasses, rehearsals, and performances from faculty and students. Other available activities include courses like music history, music theory, musical theater, and conducting.¬†¬†

 

18. Intermuse International Music Institute and Festival (IIMIF) 

 

Dates: June 15-24

Location: Mount St. Mary’s University

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: 

  • In-person: $2,300
  • Online: $745

 

IIMIF aims to elevate the musicianship and artistic confidence of high school and college violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists. The program is available both in-person and online, both of which provide participants with lessons, masterclasses, coaching, and daily yoga for musicians. IIMIF welcomes just 25 in-person participants to its campus at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, per year. Need- and merit-based scholarships are available. 

 

19. UNCG Summer Music Camp

 

Dates: 

  • Session 1: July 9-14
  • Session 2: July 16-21

Location: UNC Greensboro

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $435-$565

 

For almost four decades, UNCG Summer Music Camp has provided young musicians with programs in band, mixed chorus, orchestra, and piano. The largest university-sponsored music camp in the country, UNCG Summer Music Camp welcomes more than 2,000 students to its campus each summer. This program focuses on ensemble performance and concludes with a concert for friends and family. 

 

20. Idyllwild Arts Summer Program 

 

Dates: July 2-29

Location: Idyllwild Arts (Temecula, CA) 

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: 

  • One week: $1,765
  • Two weeks: $3,550
  • Four weeks: $6,500

 

Idyllwild Arts Academy, the country’s premier residential arts high school, offers a number of programs that will interest young musicians, including: 

 

  • Jazz in the Pines Student Clinic¬†¬†
  • Chamber Music Intensive¬†
  • Plug Into Songwriting
  • Summer Symphony Orchestra
  • Piano Performance Intensive¬†

 

This residential program provides students at all levels with focused, practical, hands-on experience in a supportive and creative environment. Need-based scholarships are available along with scholarships specifically for San Diego residents. 

 

How Impressive Are Summer Programs in College Admissions?

 

The freedom of summer presents an opportunity for growth outside the high school classroom. Colleges want to see that you make use of it. Extracurricular activities are a particularly important way to demonstrate your passions to college admissions officers. 

 

Admissions committees are looking to learn how your summer activities are both impressive and unique. Extracurricular activities are broken down into four tiers based on these two criteria, with Tier 1 representing the most impressive and unique activities and Tier 4 representing those that are typical. Ideally, you should include at least one Tier 1 activity, a core of Tier 2 and 3 activities, and as few Tier 4s as possible. 

 

Summer programs most commonly fall into Tier 3 or 4, though several, such as NYO-USA, can clearly be differentiated as in Tier 1 or 2. These programs are more selective, and a defining characteristic of the best ones is that they provide high-quality programming for free.  

 

Curious how a summer program or extracurricular activity will impact your chances of admission? CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can calculate your odds of acceptance using your academic profile, and it can also share areas in which you can improve. In addition to sharing your chances of acceptance at certain schools and universities, our free chancing engine will also share a list of schools that match your needs and profile. 

 

Other Ways to Spend Your Summer

 

Though summer break provides you with the most time to explore your passions, it is not the only time. Colleges want to see that you are curious about the world around you at heart and are constantly seeking new learning opportunities. 

 

Instead of participating in a program, you could create your own. Writing a book or mobilizing a team to solve an issue in your local community are examples of independent efforts that look impressive to colleges. 

 

You can show further initiative by taking on internships and paying jobs. Both demonstrate initiative, a career direction, and key life skills such as time management and responsibility. Since most internships are reserved for college students and graduates, it can be a challenge to find opportunities for high school students. To help with the search, here is a list of online summer internships for high school students. Looking for more summer programs? Take a look at this list of virtual opportunities for high school students.

 


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.