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15 Summer Music Programs for High School Students

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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. We have compiled a list of 15 summer music programs, with a focus on options that are both high quality and low-cost. Take a look below!


Note: Several in-person programs are being offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If an application deadline has already passed, remember to apply next year!


15 Summer Music Programs for High School Students


1. Rafael Méndez Virtual Brass Institute


Dates: July 2022

Location: Online (may be offered in-person)


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 which features presentations, faculty recitals, and an open discussion with brass artists. 


Any brass musician who has completed their freshman year of high school is welcome to apply. Details about the 2022 Institute are forthcoming; if the 2021 schedule will serve as a model, the program will be conducted virtually and free of charge over the course of 2 days. If an in-person format is decided on, the program will last one week.


2. Morse Summer Music Academy


Dates: July 2022

Location: Online


Third 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 runs four weeks of interactive classes in string, percussion, guitar, string, and brass instruments. Singing, wellness, music theory, and music composition are other class subjects on offer. The academy will likely operate virtually between the first and last weeks of July in 2022, as it has for the past two years. 


Unlike the majority of summer music programs, student auditions are not necessary to apply to the Morse Academy ‚ÄĒ the main application requirement is instead a recommendation from the student‚Äôs current public school music teacher.¬†


3. National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America


Dates: mid-July to early August, 2022

Location: New York City

Application deadline: November 11, 2021


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 to some of the most famous concert halls is also a part of the program. 


NYO-USA lasts three to four weeks and is completely free, with tuition, room and board, and incidentals being paid for. The program also provides aid to cover the $30 application fee, in addition to travel costs between home and New York City, to those who demonstrate substantial financial need. 


4. Vocal Arts at Depauw ‚Äď Virtual Camp


Dates: July 11, 2021 until a personalized end date (cancelled for 2021)

Location: Online

Application deadline: July 1, 2021


This virtual camp provides a variety of guest workshops and master classes under three pricing plans. The core activities of the program include:


  • Voice faculty master classes
  • Technology courses
  • Character coachings
  • Panel discussions
  • Repertoire classes
  • The Quince Workshop.


These core activities are offered under pricing Option A for $200. 


For $250, Option B adds two classes to the core: Musical Scenes and Ensembles and the Gabrielle Stravelli Master Class. Option C, which costs $300, includes a Broadway Master Class. All of the options are customizable, and each student’s schedule is personalized.


High school students who are able to submit a repertoire list of works performed and two video auditions are eligible to apply. 


5. Music Production Workshop


Dates: August 16-August 20, 2021

Location: Coast Music, Hermosa Beach 


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. The workshop concludes with a concert on the last day to present students’ newly produced music.


High school students ages 14 and above and with any musical background are eligible to apply. Tuition costs $495, and room and board through Coast Music’s host family program costs $200 per night.


6. Lamont Summer Academy


Dates: June 19-July 2, 2022

Location: Lamont School of Music; Denver, CO

Application deadline: March 15, 2022; Scholarship deadline is February 15, 2022


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 one of the following major areas of study:


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


Majors can then be paired with minors, ensemble participation, and electives.


Tuition, room and board, and recreation for the residential program costs $2,200. Lamont provides significant financial aid to students who demonstrate merit and need, along with designated scholarships from partner organizations. 


7. University of Miami Frost Young Musicians’ Camp


Dates: July 5-16, 2022

Location: Online


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


  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Vocal Performance
  • Music Production Essentials
  • Honors Jazz Program (vocal and instrumental)
  • Frost Summer Institute of Contemporary Songwriting (Studio ‚Äď Intro and Advanced)¬†


Costs for each program range from $795-1,350.


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8. Boston Conservatory at Berklee ‚Äď High School Composition Intensive


Dates: July 19-30, 2021

Location: Berklee College of Music; Boston, MA

Application deadline: Rolling admission


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 niche writing, rehearsal, and communication skills. The program teaches through engagement, allowing each student composer to develop a portfolio of three works of their own.


The program’s tuition and room and board cost a total of $3,525.


9. Interlochen Arts Camp


Dates: June 18-August 7, 2022

Location: Interlochen Center for the Arts; Interlochen, MI

Application deadline: January 15, 2022


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. 


Every week of programming has a total tuition and room and board cost of $1,675. Need-based and financial aid and merit scholarships are awarded to students applying for programs that last two weeks or longer.


10. MPulse Performing Arts Institutes 


Dates: July 3-July 30, 2022

Location: University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance; Ann Arbor, MI

Application deadline: February 1, 2022


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 week to twenty days 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. 


Tuition and room and board cost a total of $1,575 per week at any institute. A limited number of need-based and merit awards are available, along with the Watson Scholarship for Michigan residents. 


11. High School Virtual Conservatory at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy


Dates: June 27-August 20, 2022

Location: Online


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. The total cost is $2,300; financial aid and talent-based scholarships are available. 


12. Summer Institute of Music Production Technology ‚Äď NYU Steinhardt¬†



  • Session 1: June 28-July 9, 2021
  • Session 2: July 12-July 23, 2021


Location: NYU Steinhardt; New York, New York 

Application deadline: May 20, 2021


If you are a rising high school junior or senior who is passionate about music production, then SIMPT is for you! SIMPT is a two-week program which allows young producers to learn about the artistic process and technology behind music production ‚ÄĒ all in a hands-on, collaborative way. From technical group projects to performance practice, and from mixing to field recording, SIMPT gives students a diverse set of learning opportunities.


Tuition for the program is $3,464. Performance-based and need-based scholarships are available to offset these costs.


13. The Sphinx Performance Academy at Curtis


Dates: June 13-27, 2021

Location: Online

Application deadline:  February 28, 2021


This intensive chamber music and solo performance program gives 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. They must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply: 


  • Eligible instruments: violin, viola, cello
  • 11‚Äď17 years of age
  • US citizens or legal US residents
  • Black or Latinx descent


14. Duke Ellington School of the Arts Summer Instrumental Music Intensive 


Dates: July 19-August 6

Location: Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Washington, DC. 


The Duke Ellington School of the Arts runs an in-person instrumental intensive for high school students of all ages. Lessons in strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, and piano are on offer, and young musicians at all levels are welcome to participate. 


The cost of this two-week program is $200.


15. Stanford Jazz Workshop Jazz Camp 


Dates: July 11-July 16, 2022

Location: Online

Application deadline: June 28, 2022


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, private coaching, an in-person ensemble, group activities, and more, all 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.


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.

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The college applications process is all about responding to one question: who are you? I am passionate about helping students craft a creative answer. I have been helping students gain admission to the T25 schools of their dreams since 2018. Soon after graduating from Georgetown University with a B.A. in History and minors in French and Russian, I made college advising my career. I currently mentor students through one-on-one consulting sessions, blog posts, and admissions livestreams, in addition to tutoring in humanities subjects. When I am not advising, you can probably find me taking a road trip or reading a novel in Russian.