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Timothy Peck
11 Summer Activities

26 Summer Music Programs for High School Students in 2024

What’s Covered:


Are you looking to practice your pitch or come a step closer to mastering your favorite instrument? If so, 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 acapella to the oboe. 


The cost of summer music programs can vary from being free to a significant investment. Below is a list of 25 summer music programs, with a focus on options that are both high-quality and low-cost.  


26 Summer Music Programs for High School Students 


1. National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America


Dates: July 20 – August 15

Location: Purchase College

Application Deadline: December 4th

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 (including Carnegie Hall) is also a part of the program. 


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


2. Rafael Méndez Brass Institute


Dates: July 7 – 22

Location: University of Denver 

Application Deadline: March 31st for early bird prices

Cost: $975 


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. 


3. Lamont Summer Academy


Dates: June 20 – July 3

Location: University of Denver

Application Deadline: March 15 


  • Commuter: $1,750
  • Residential: $2,250


Lamont Summer Academy offers high school students ages 14 to 18 a highly customizable curriculum. Over the program’s 14 days, 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 are 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—almost 70% of Lamont participants receive financial aid.


4. Boston Conservatory at Berklee High School Composition Intensive


Dates: July 15 – 27

Location: Berklee College of Music

Application Deadline: June 1

Cost: $2,132 (tuition) + $1,560 (housing) 


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 robust portfolio of works of their own.


5. Interlochen Arts Camp


Dates: Varies

Location: Interlochen Center for the Arts; Interlochen, Michigan 

Application Deadline: January 15

Cost: $1,830 – $10,080 


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. 


6. MPulse Performing Arts Institutes 


Dates: Varies 

Location: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Application Deadline: Varies 

Cost: $500 – $5,610  


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 mostly 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, Tuba/Euphonium Institute, 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. 


7. Pop Star: Recording Artist at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy


Dates: June 30 – July 14

Location: The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (New York, NY) and AMDA College of the Performing Arts (Los Angeles, CA)

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: N/A


This two-week residential program provides students with a pre-college experience while allowing them to explore a variety of vocal styles, including contemporary, jazz, gospel, acapella, blues, soul, country, and R&B. The program allows students to focus on the style best suited to their strengths and includes a professional recording studio experience.


Students will leave the program with a better understanding of music production, a demonstrated ability to audition, and knowledge of the standard expected in the music industry for preparation, communication, and professionalism. The program culminates with a final performance for family and friends.


8. The Sphinx Performance Academy 



  • University of Colorado Boulder: June 20 – 30
  • The Juilliard School: July 7 – 20

Location: University of Colorado Boulder & The Juilliard School

Application Deadline: February 16

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. The program is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents between ages 11 and 17 who play the violin, viola, cello, and bass.


9. Stanford Jazz Workshop Jazz Camp Online


Dates: July 8 – 12

Location: Online

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $495


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 vocalists and instrumentalists ages 12 and older. No former jazz experience is required to participate. Need and merit-based financial aid is available to students aged 17 and under.


10. Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)  


Dates: Varies

Location: Boston University Tanglewood Institute (Lenox, MA)

Application Deadline: January 25

Cost: $3,710 – $9,515 


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—the 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 & Guitar 
  • Voice 
  • Winds & Brass


Scholarships ranging from $500 to full tuition are available. 


11. GRAMMY Camp


Dates: July 14 -20

Location: University of Southern California (USC) 

Application Deadline: March 31

Cost: $1,800


GRAMMY Camp is a five-day non-residential program for high schoolers in grades 9-12 interested in pursuing a music career. The camp’s programming is divided into eight “career tracks”:


  • 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. 


12. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp 



  • Session 1: June 26 – July 7
  • Session 2: July 10 – 21

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

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $1,730-$1,875


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. 


13. Illinois Chamber Music Festival


Dates: July 7 – 26 

Location: Illinois Wesleyan University

Application Deadline: May 4 

Cost: $950 (tuition) + $930 (room and board) 


This program is for talented high school and college chamber musicians—the 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.  


14. Intermuse International Music Institute and Festival (IIMIF)  


Dates: June 15-24

Location: Mount St. Mary’s University

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $2,400


IIMIF aims to elevate the musicianship and artistic confidence of high school and college violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists. The program provides 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. 


15. UNCG Summer Music Camp 



  • Session 1: July 7 – 12
  • Session 2: July 14 – 19

Location: UNC Greensboro

Application Deadline: Check schedule here

Cost: $445-$575


For more than 40 years, 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.  


16. Idyllwild Arts Summer Program  


Dates: Varies

Location: Idyllwild Arts (Temecula, CA) 

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $2,180 – $3,730 


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  
  • Instrumental Artist’s Intensive
  • Plug Into Songwriting
  • Piano Performance Intensive 
  • Songwriting Intensive 


This 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. 


17. Young Musicians Program


Dates: June 29 – August 4

Location: The Walden School

Application Deadline: February 1

Cost: $9,700


This five-week summer music program bills itself as part school, part camp, and part festival. The program is open to young musicians ages 9 to 18 and is held at the Walden School, tucked in the pastoral Monadnock region of New Hampshire—mountain hikes and swims in quiet lakes are just some of the activities students can engage in outside of music studios.


Participants will receive daily instruction—three classes and a chorus—to develop their musical and creative skills and work on improvising and creating original works. By the end of the program, students will have completed at least one composition.


18. Meadowmount


Dates: June 23 – August 9

Location: Meadowmount School of Music

Application Deadline: January 20

Cost: $5,300 – $9,200


For eight decades, young musicians have been coming to the Meadowmount School of Music to train for music careers. This seven-week program admits approximately 200 violin, viola, and cello players between ages 13 and 30 annually. Students take part in masterclasses, music coaching, rehearsals, and studio classes. Bi-weekly yoga classes are offered along with special events and a variety of other reactionary opportunities.


19. Chicago Chamber Music Workshop


Dates: July 1 – 20

Location: Midwest Young Artists Conservatory

Application Deadline: May 15

Cost: $1,575


Chicago-area string and piano students in grades 7 through 12 will want to check out this three-week program in which they’ll explore new ideas, unlock hidden talents, and learn new skills while surrounded by a group of supportive and similarly skilled peers. Students will have the chance to perform three chamber music soirees at the conservatory during the program with additional performance opportunities at other venues a possibility.


20. Manhattan School of Music (MSM) Summer Program



  • Musical Theater: July 8 – August 1
  • Composition and Instrumental: July 15 – August 1

Location: Manhattan School of Music

Application Deadline: February 1

Cost: $3,075 – $4,125


Musicians between ages 8 and 17 will receive instruction and gain performance experience in a conservatory setting in this summer day program. Students in this intensive program will take eight classes a day tailored specifically toward their area of focus.


21. Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF)


Dates: Varies

Location: Valley Forge Military Academy and College

Application Deadline: February 1

Cost: $2,125 – $4,950


This program immerses music students from ages 11 to 19 in music education and performance training under the guidance of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Students will take private lessons, sit for masterclasses, and play in recitals while exploring a variety of musical topics. Participants will also take day trips to locations like Philadelphia’s Mann Music Center for a Philadelphia Orchestra outdoor concert.


PIMF offers five unique summer programs:


  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Solo Performance Preparation
  • Piano Studies
  • Chamber Music Intensive
  • College Audition Preparation


22. Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Music Program


Dates: Varies

Location: Carnegie Mellon University

Application Deadline: February 1

Cost: $5,600 – $10,866


High school students can gain firsthand insight into what it’s like as a college music major through Carnegie Mellon’s pre-college summer music program—it’s modeled after the first few weeks of the university’s undergraduate school of music curriculum. Participants will sit for private studio lessons, perform in ensembles, and take music support classes to enhance their skills individually and as members of an ensemble.


The program is open to current high school sophomores and juniors with a strong interest in music.


23. Lawrence Summer Music Institute


Dates: July 14 -21

Location: Lawrence University

Application Deadline: Rolling

Cost: $950


This week-long summer program for high school musicians provides an immersive environment and inspiration to develop their craft. Participants in the program will build their classical and chamber music skills through activities like private lessons, group coaching, workshops, and performances.


The Lawrence Summer Music Institute is capped at just 20 students and features a small 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring participants receive an abundance of personal attention.


24. USC Pre-College Musical Theater Program


Dates: July 14 -21

Location: University of Southern California (USC)

Application Deadline: Rolling

Cost: $7,482 – $10,480


This collaborative, interactive, conservatory-style summer program exposes high schoolers between 9th and 12th grade to the foundational aspects of musical theater: songs, movement, and acting. Participants will practice dancing, singing, and acting while also preparing to audition for universities throughout this week-long program. They will also go on field trips to see professional theater in person.


25. Brevard Music Center High School Orchestral Institute


Dates: June 21 – August 4

Location: Brevard Music Center

Application Deadline: February 15

Cost: $8,950


The High School Orchestra Institute is the Brevard Music Center’s premier summer program. Program participants receive intrusive summer training and deliver performances directed by Keith Lockhart, Conductor of the Boston Pops and formerly Chief Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London.


Students will rehearse and perform extensively in ensembles in the program and may also perform solos and chamber concerts. They’ll also engage in activities like workshops, private lessons, masterclasses, and rehearsals with world-renowned musicians.


26. Wartburg College Meistersinger Music Camp



  • Session 1: August 5 – 7
  • Session 2: August 9 – 11

Location: Wartburg College

Application Deadline: July 21 (June 30 for early bird pricing)

Cost: $160 – $300


Wartburg College hosts a camp where high school musicians can grow in a range of ways, through both group rehearsals and individual coaching sessions. When not receiving mentorship on how to expand your skills with your voice or instrument, you’ll get to experience what life is like as a Wartburg student, as you spend time exploring the campus and potentially even sleeping in the resident halls, if you choose the residential version of the program.


Program pricing varies depending on your registration date and whether you would like to have a 30-minute private voice lesson. Spots are limited for the private lessons, so make sure you register early to get the best deal and have access to the full camp experience! 


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 quite common. 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, visit CollegeVine’s internship blog page to view internships in your city, state, or area of interest!

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.