Stony Brook University Pre-College Division

Pre-College 2013

Advancing young musicians have the opportunity to study with exceptional faculty members at Stony Brook University’s music department, which is one of the premiere collegiate programs for professional music training. Students push their musical limits with chamber coachings, studio classes, and an array of progressive courses in music theory, composition, and aural skills. Programs include instrumental chamber music, classical voice, composition, jazz improvisation, computer/electronic music, and harp.

The main programs of chamber music, jazz, and classical voice offer guided rehearsal and instruction on interpretation and style by experienced Pre-College faculty artists. Courses in theory, analysis, and aural skills reinforce the musical foundations necessary for advanced musical performance. Additional electives are offered on a per-semester basis.

The Pre-College program brings the conservatory environment, often sought out in similar New York City programs, right to your backyard in Long Island. Save travel time and cost, while studying at one of the world’s best schools of music. Additionally, pre-college musical training is a standout item on any college application.


Once applications are received you will be contacted to schedule the audition.  Each audition is 15 minutes long, and is observed by a committee of two or three people.  The audition is made up of the following components:

  • Two pieces of music with contrasting style and tempo that represents your current level of skill.  This can be a NYSSMA piece or an etude you have been preparing with your private instructor. There are no guidelines for the pieces you should select, but solos of NYSSMA levels 5-6 are usually appropriate.
  • 1 or 2 major scales in two octaves
  • Sightreading
  • Short interview of the applicant

Auditions are always video recorded for further review by the audition committee.  Videos are never made public and are scurely deleted after the enrollment process is complete.


Theory, Analysis, and Aural Skills courses supply the intellectual backbone that informs the excellent performance at the heart of the chamber music program. Students in the program will be well prepared for the most rigorous college, university, or conservatory programs. These two courses provide instruction in two essential areas of musical instruction: (1) Music theory includes the rudiments of musical notation and the study of such components of music as scales, keys, intervals, and harmony. Students apply this knowledge through compositional exercises and the study of music from various traditions, including classical, jazz, popular, and world music. (2) The aural skills aspect of the class engages students in practical musicianship, applying their theoretical knowledge to the listening experience. Students learn the important connection between sound and notation through drills in rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic dictation. Students also learn to sing at sight in four clefs.

Participation in a chamber music ensemble (small groups with one instrument or voice to a part.) Each session consists of guided rehearsal and instruction on interpretation and style by the experienced Pre-College faculty musicians. Students perform each semester in master classes conducted by Stony Brook University faculty, which has in recent years included the Emerson String Quartet, Colin Carr, Joe Carver, Christina Dahl, Daniel Gilbert, Gilbert Kalish, Timothy Long, Mitchell Stern, Ray Anderson and others. An important part of the chamber music experience is the opportunity to perform for an audience during the year in the Recital Hall of the Staller Center for the Performing Arts.


All classes meet on Saturdays. Each area of study (voice, jazz, composition, chamber music) follows its own class schedule.  A typical day begins at 10:00 AM and concludes at 2:00 PM.

A sample class schedule:

 10:00 a.m.
 Chamber Music
 11:15 a.m.
 11:30 a.m.
 Studio Performance Class
 12:30 p.m.
 12:45 p.m.
 Music Theory
 2:00 p.m.  Classes end


Concerto Competition
The annual concerto competition is open to all Pre-College Division students for any instrument or voice. The winner will perform with the University Orchestra in March on the Main Stage of the Staller Center for the annual Children’s Concert.  The concerto should be standard repertoire, and short works or a movement of a concerto should be approved by the director and the conductor well in advance. Auditions will be held in November.

Free tickets to Music Department and Staller Center events
Throughout the year students and their families have access to exclusive concerts and events held at the Staller Center.   This past year families were able to experience the Emerson String Quartet, Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, Stony Brook Opera and Faculty Recitals at no cost.


Non refundable deposit: $100

Full year tuition:  $2300

There are no additional fees or expenses required for the year.  Tuition also covers the cost of concerts and tickets to all events.

The balance is due in full by December 1, 2016.  All payments must be made online.  Incremental payment plans are available.


Need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships are available to qualified families.  After acceptance to the program, a separate financial form must be completed.




How does tuition compare to similar programs?

Pre-College programs in Manhattan cost more than $10,000 per year before you factor in the time and cost of transportation each week.  As a not-for-profit institution, our program offers more experienced teachers and similar performance and academic programs at the lowest possible cost.

Do you have a youth orchestra or chamber orchestra?

Large ensembles are not offered through the Community Music Program.  We are more than happy to recommend some youth orchestra programs in the area.  

If I'm already enrolled in a youth orchestra, why do I need chamber music? 

Orchestral performance is a specialized skill in itself, but chamber music, particularly for string players, gives performers the chance to be soloists but also have the interaction with other musicians, which makes orchestra so much fun!

Do you have summer programs available?

A one week string quartet camp for middle and high school students is offered in August.  Click here for more information.

Do you offer private instruction as part of your program?

Private instruction is a requirement of the Pre-College Division, but is not offered directly through the program.  The instructors at Stony Brook are among the best in the world, and we offer a free matching service for students who are looking for private instruction or tutoring.

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