Understanding how colleges evaluate candidates is vital in maximizing your scholarship potential and opportunities. ScholarshipAuditions.com provides you with the tools to:

  • Set goals and reach them
  • Document your successes
  • Market your achievements

Do you know what recruiters are looking for?

The three most important factors recruiters consider are:

  • Your solo repertoire (show diverse styles, periods, and technical demands)
  • Your rankings or ratings at festivals and competitions
  • Your leadership potential, demonstrated by participation in school and community ensembles

Most recruiters have early decisions made within the first seven weeks of the student’s senior year. That makes it critically important to develop your skills and get noticed during your sophomore and junior years. Any scholarship money recruiters still have in February and March will be awarded to students whose senior year ratings are noteworthy.

Here’s a summary of what it takes:

6,7,8 Grade Chart

9, 10 Grade Chart

11, 12 Grade Chart

How to Get a Scholarship: A Grade-by-Grade Guide

The path to success is different for vocalists, keyboard players, and instrumentalists. Choose your instrument category and grade to get started on pursuing your goals.

KEYBOARD
Keyboard 6th Grade
  • Attend six concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring recitalists.
  • Participate in a statewide festival by performing a solo that is appropriate to your technical ability
  • Attend Summer Keyboard Camp that has an age-appropriate performance repertoire. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details
  • Begin a profile on ScholarshipAuditions.com and keep it updated each semester.
Keyboard 7th Grade
  • Attend six concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony or touring recitalists.
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Participate in a statewide festival by performing a solo that is appropriate to your technical ability
  • Perform in a studio recital.
  • Attend Summer Keyboard Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Keyboard 8th Grade
  • Attend six concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony or touring recitalists.
  • In addition, add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble, for example: a Broadway musical, opera, and/or a ballet.
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Participate in a statewide festival and competition by performing a solo that is appropriate to your technical ability.
  • Perform in a studio recital.
  • Attend Summer Keyboard Camp that has an age- and proficiency- appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Keyboard 9th Grade
  • Attend eight concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. For example, two concerts at your high school, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony or touring recitalists. Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance instrument, for example: a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend two Master Classes on a college campus. 
  • Begin music theory instruction. This can be through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online.
  • Participate in statewide festivals and competitions by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability.
  • Accompany at least three wind or string instrumentalist in their designated Solo and Ensemble Festival.
  • Perform in a studio recital.
  • Attend extended Summer Music Camp that has an age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus, preferably on the college campus you want to attend. While attending this camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.

Keyboard 10th Grade
  • Attend ten concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. For example, two concerts at your high school, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony or touring recitalists. Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance instrument. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like an organ recital, harpsichord recital, Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend four Master Classes on at least two different college campuses.
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. This can be through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online.
  • Participate in the statewide and regional festivals and competitions by performing a solo that is appropriate to your technical ability. Participate in the four-hand division.
  • Accompany at least five wind or string instrumentalist in their designated Solo and Ensemble Festival.
  • Perform in a studio recital.
  • Perform a solo recital of eight contrasting compositions with three of the selections memorized.
  • Attend extended Summer Music Camp that has an age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should preferably be on a college campus you want to attend. While attending this camp find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. Consider a nationally recognized summer enrichment program such as “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or a camp with noted conductors and performers. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In October of your sophomore year, schedule a one-hour private lesson with the lead piano/organ instructor from one of the colleges that is on your wish list.  This lesson should be scheduled for January, February, or March of your sophomore year. You’re beginning to build a relationship with the instructors you may want to study with. Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have three compositions prepared, one Classical, one Baroque, and one 20th Century. The instructor can help you with technique and interpretation. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video portfolio before junior year starts. 
Keyboard 11th Grade
  • Attend ten concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year, for example, two concerts at your high school, two concerts/recitals on a college/university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony or touring recitalists. Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance instrument like an organ recital, harpsichord recital, Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend six Master Classes on at least three different college campuses
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. In addition, take a music history course to learn the basic style periods and composers and works related to each of these style periods. You can use formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide and regional festivals and competitions by performing a solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as participate in the four-hand division.
  • Participate in an extra-curricular musical performance outside of the daily academic structure. Examples of this are the pit orchestra for your community theater’s Broadway musical presentation, the pit orchestra for acommunity ballet presentation of the “Nutcracker,” or holiday recital presentations. 
  • Accompany at least seven wind or string instrumentalist in their Solo and Ensemble Festival.
  • Perform in a studio recital.
  • Perform a solo recital of ten contrasting compositions with five of the selections being memorized.
  • Compete in a regional or national concerto competition. For example: Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition, Ylda Novik Memorial Concerto Competition, Legacy Concerto Competition, Blount-Slawson Young Artists Concerto Competition or the National Philharmonic Concerto Competition. Your local symphonies might sponsor concerto competitions. The winners often receive college scholarships!
  • Attend extended Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has an age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus, preferably the college you want to attend. While attending this camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. This can be a nationally recognized summer enrichment program like “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or one of the camps that features America’s most noted conductors and performers as instructors. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In May and/or June of your junior year, schedule an extended (two-hour) private lesson with the lead piano/organ instructor of the top two colleges that are on your wish list.  These lessons should be scheduled for August or September of your senior year (maybe even before your senior year starts!) The timing can help you get to know a potential future instructor and they’ll recognize you when audition time arrives. Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have seven compositions prepared, one Classical, one Baroque, one Romantic, two 20th Century, and two concertos of choice from different style periods. You can expect most of your lesson to be devoted to style interpretation. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • In October of your junior year, schedule a 2-hour private lesson with the lead piano/organ instructor of four of the colleges that are on your wish list. These lessons should be scheduled on Fridays during January, February, or March of your junior year. Have five compositions prepared: one Classical, one Baroque, one Romantic, one 20th Century, and a concerto of choice. The instructor will help you mainly with technique and emphasize style interpretation. Be prepared to pay for the lessons.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video profile before senior year starts.
Keyboard 12th Grade
  • Attend four concerts or recitals outside of your teacher’s studio this academic year. Each of these concerts/recitals should be at the schools where you are auditioning for acceptance and scholarships.
  • Attend four Master Classes each on a different college campus. 
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. Take weekly online music theory tests. 
  • Most importantly, take the first audition time available for each college/university where you are auditioning. Follow your audition with personal hand-written notes of thanks to each person on the audition committee.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester
VOICE
Vocalists 6th Grade
  • Participate in a school-sponsored music class. Hopefully, this is a choral class.
  • Attend four concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, or two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community chorus, or touring ensemble(s).
  • Begin profile on ScholarshipAuditions.com and update each semester.
Vocalists 7th Grade
  • Attend six concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community chorus, or touring ensemble(s).
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Begin the year by taking private voice lessons once a week with a more seasoned performer. In 7th grade, look for a Voice major at a local college. That person might be a good choice for your first private instructor.
  • Attend Summer Music Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Vocalists 8th Grade
  • Participate in a school performance ensemble like Middle School Chorus or Middle School Show Choir.
  • Attend eight concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). In addition, add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble like Broadway musical, opera, or a ballet.
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Continue taking private voice lessons once a week with a more seasoned performer. In 8th grade, look for a Voice major at a local college. That person might be a good choice for your first private instructor 
  • Audition and participate in a community musical theater presentation.
  • Attend Summer Music Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Vocalists 9th Grade
  • Participate in at least one school performance ensemble. For example, High School Mixed Chorus, High School Treble Chorus, or High School Show-Choir. 
  • Attend eight concerts or recitals outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts/recitals on a college or university campus; preferably at the college you are most interested in attending. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community chorus, or touring ensemble(s). Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble like a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend two Master Classes on a college campus.
  • Begin the year by taking private voice lessons once a week with a professional performer. This professional player can be a local college professor, a musical theater performer, an opera coach or any locally recognized private instructor. It’s important to ask if the private instructor is a member of NATS (National Association of the Teachers of Singing). This is a must.
  • Begin music theory instruction. This can be through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is age-appropriate.
  • Perform in your private voice teacher’s studio recital.
  • Attend extended Summer Music Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus, preferably on the college campus you want to attend. While attending this camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.

Vocalists 10th Grade
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. For example: High School Mixed Chorus, High School Treble Chorus, High School Show-Choir or High School Madrigal Singers. Consider district-wide ensembles like All-County Chorus as one of the performance ensembles.
  • Attend ten concerts/recitals outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts of large performance ensembles (e.g. Concert Choir, Show-Choir, or Jazz Vocal Ensemble) on a college campus where you want to go. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). Add two performances outside the discipline of your primary vocal performance ensemble like a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend two Master Classes on a college campus.
  • Continue taking private voice lessons once a week with a professional performer. 
  • Participate in NATS state and regional solo competitions.
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. This can be through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as in one same-voice small ensemble and a mixed ensemble.
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State Chorus.
  • Perform in your private voice teacher’s studio recital.
  • Perform a solo recital of eight contrasting compositions with five memorized selections. Two of the selections should be in a foreign language and one selection should be an American song cycle.
  • Attend extended Summer Music Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus, preferably a campus you want to attend. While attending this camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or he. This can be a nationally recognized summer enrichment program such as “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or a camp where America’s most noted conductors and performers act as instructors. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In October and/or November schedule a private 1-hour lesson with the lead vocal instructor of your voice part from one of the colleges that is on your wish list.  This lesson should be scheduled for the upcoming months of January, February, and March.  The best day to schedule this lesson will be on Friday and do not request a lesson on Saturday or Sunday.  Have at least one art song prepared for this lesson as well as two Broadway numbers. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video profile before junior year starts.
Vocalists 11th Grade
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles like High School Mixed Chorus, High School Treble Chorus, High School Show-Choir or High School Madrigal Singers. You can count district-wide ensembles like All-County Chorus as one of the performance ensembles.
  • Attend ten concerts/recitals outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts of large performance ensembles (e.g. Concert Choir, Show-Choir, or Jazz Vocal Ensemble, etc.) on a college campus, preferably where you want to attend. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary vocal performance ensemble. Examples are a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend four Master Classes on at least two different college campuses.
  • Continue taking private voice lessons once a week with a professional performer. Take one additional private lesson per semester with the college instructor whose studio you want to join.
  • Participate in NATS state, regional, and national solo competitions. These competitions frequently offer cash or college scholarship prizes!
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as one same voice small ensemble and a mixed ensemble.
  • Participate in an extra-curricular musical performance outside of the daily academic structure. Examples are an auditioned part in a community theater’s Broadway musical presentation, or a community or church choir holiday performance of “The Messiah.”
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. Take a music history course to learn the basic style periods and composers and works related to each of these style periods. Study via formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Audition and make the grade-level appropriate All-State Chorus.
  • Perform a solo recital in the spring of this academic year. This should include twelve accompanied compositions and two unaccompanied compositions. Four of the selections should be in a foreign language, one should be an aria, two should be a song cycle, also include a Broadway ballad. The entire recital should be memorized. Check out our Suggested Repertoire Directory. 
  • Attend extended Summer Music Camp that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus, preferably on the college campus you want to attend. While attending this camp take at least one private lesson per week from the professor in whose studio you might spend the majority of your collegiate experience. Consider a nationally recognized summer enrichment program such as “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or one of the nationally noted summer camps for the classical singer. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In May and/or June of your junior year, schedule an extended (2-hour) private lesson with the lead vocal instructor of the top two colleges on your wish list.  These lessons should be scheduled for the upcoming months of August or September (the beginning of your Senior year). The timing can help you get to know a potential future instructor and they’ll recognize you when audition time arrives. Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have at least one aria from an opera, two art songs, one French and one Italian, three songs from the American Songbook Collection, one song from Old American Songs (an Aaron Copland piece) along with one American Folk song or hymn (from the John Jacob Niles collection), and three Broadway songs. You may also want to take your accompanist with you or hire an accompanist from the institution’s faculty.  If this is the best choice for securing an accompanist, then request your lead vocal instructor to help you with this process.  Be prepared to pay for the lesson as well as the accompanists.
  • In October and/or November schedule a 2-hour private lesson with the lead vocal instructor of your voice part and/or the musical theater voice instructor of four of the colleges that are on your wish list.  These lessons should be scheduled for the upcoming months of January, February, or March.  Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then.  Have one French Art Song and one Italian Art Song, two songs from the American Songbook Collection, one song from Old American Songs (an Aaron Copland piece), and three Broadway songs. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video profile before senior year starts.
Vocalists 12th Grade
  • Attend four concerts/recitals outside of your school this academic year. Each of these concerts should be at the schools that you are auditioning for acceptance and scholarships.
  • Attend four Master Classes. Each of these classes should be at the schools where you are auditioning for acceptance and scholarships.
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. 
  • Continue taking private voice lessons once a week with a professional vocal instructor. 
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. Take weekly online music theory tests. 
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo.
  • Participate in NATS state, regional, and national solo competitions. These competitions frequently offer cash or college scholarship prizes!
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State Chorus.
  • Most importantly, take the first audition time available for each college/university where you are auditioning. Follow each audition with personal hand-written notes of thanks to each person on the audition committee.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester.
ENSEMBLE instrumentalist
Ensemble 6th Grade
  • Attend six concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, or two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s).
  • Following the holiday break, begin private lessons once every two weeks with a more seasoned player. This can simply be playing class required material with a high school player.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability
  • Attend Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Begin your profile on ScholarshipAuditions.com and keep updated each semester.
Ensemble 7th Grade
  • Attend six concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s).
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Participate in a school performance ensemble. For example: Middle School Symphonic Band, Middle School Orchestra, and sectional large ensembles.
  • Begin the year by taking private lessons once a week with a more seasoned player. In 7th grade, a college student majoring in your instrument’s performance may be a good choice for a private instructor.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability. Participate in one same instrument small ensemble.
  • Audition for the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Attend Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Ensemble 8th Grade
  • Attend eight concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, two concerts at the high school you will attend, two concerts on a college or university campus, and two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). In addition, add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble. Example: Broadway musical, opera, or a ballet.
  • Attend one Master Class on a college campus.
  • Participate in a school performance ensemble. For example, Middle School Symphonic Band, Middle School Orchestra, and sectional large ensembles.
  • Begin the year by taking private lessons once a week with a more seasoned player. In 8th grade, a college student majoring in your instrument’s performance may be a good choice for a private instructor.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability. Participate in one same instrument small ensemble.
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Attend Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.
Ensemble 9th Grade
  • Attend eight concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts on a college or university campus, preferably on the campus you are most interested in attending. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). Add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble like a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend two Master Classes on a college campus.
  • Participate in at least one school performance ensemble. For example: High School Symphonic Band, High School Orchestra, and sectional large ensembles. If you are a wind instrumentalist, marching band must be coupled with a concert ensemble.
  • Begin the year by taking private lessons once a week with a professional player. This professional player can be a local college professor, a symphonic player, or a local recognized private instructor.
  • Begin music theory instruction. You can study formal courses at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo appropriate to your technical ability. Participate in one same instrument small ensemble.
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Attend an extended Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus you want to attend. While attending this camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer.

Ensemble 10th Grade
  • Attend ten concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts of large performance ensembles (e.g. Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, etc.) at the college you are most interested in attending. Attend two concerts of small or large ensembles presented by the professors and conductors that you are developing a relationship with. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). In addition, add two performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble like a Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend two Master Classes on a college campus.
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. For example: High School Symphonic Band and High School Orchestra, or High School Symphonic Band and High School Chorus. If you are a wind instrumentalist, marching band must be coupled with a concert ensemble. Consider district-wide ensembles like countywide or regional Youth Orchestras.
  • Begin the year by taking private lessons once a week with a professional player. This professional player can be a local college professor, a symphonic player, or a local recognized private instructor. If the private instructor is not a college professor, you may want to add two lessons from the college professor whose studio you want to be in before your Solo and Ensemble Festival participation or before your All-State audition.
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. This can be through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as in one same instrument small ensemble and a mixed ensemble of like-instrument or mixed-instrument choir.
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Attend an extended Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus you want to attend. Find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. Consider a nationally recognized summer enrichment program like “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or a nationally noted summer camps. Another option for band students is participation in a DCI Corps: This is an especially good opportunity for percussionists. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In October and/or November schedule a 1-hour private lesson with the lead instrumental instructor from one of the colleges that is on your wish list.  This lesson should be scheduled for the upcoming months of January, February, and March.  Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have at least one solo prepared for this lesson as well as two etudes. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video profile before your junior year.
Ensemble 11th Grade
  • Attend ten concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts of large performance ensembles (e.g. Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, etc.) on a college or university campus, preferably on the campus of the college/university that you are most interested in attending. Attend two concerts of small or large ensembles presented by the professors/conductors that you are developing a relationship with. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). In addition, add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble. Example: Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.
  • Attend four Master Classes on at least two college campuses.
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. For example: High School Symphonic Band and High School Orchestra, or High School Symphonic Band and High School Chorus. If wind instrumentalist, note that Marching band cannot count as your second performance ensemble; it must be coupled with a concert ensemble. You may also consider district-wide ensembles such as countywide or regional Youth Orchestras.
  • Participate in an extra-curricular musical performance outside of the daily academic structure. Examples are the pit orchestra for a community theater’s Broadway musical presentation, the orchestra for a community ballet presentation of the “Nutcracker,” or community band or orchestra holiday presentations. 
  • Continue taking private lessons once a week with a professional player. This professional player can be a local college professor, a symphonic player, or a local recognized private instructor. If the private instructor is not a college professor, then you may want to add two lessons from the college professor whose studio you want to be in before your Solo and Ensemble Festival participation or before your All-State audition.
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. In addition, take a music history course to learn the basic style periods, composers, and works related to each of these style periods. The above can be achieved through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as participate in one same instrument small ensemble and a mixed ensemble or same instrument or mixed instruments choir.
  • Audition and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Perform a solo recital in the spring of this academic year. Program five accompanied compositions and two unaccompanied compositions or etudes. These selections should be Grade 5 of 6 according to the Suggested Repertoire Directory. Additional selections can be at a lower Grade level. Violinist and violist should consider performing one selection for memory.
  • Compete in a regional or national concerto competition. For example: Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition, Marine Band Concerto Competition, Navy Band Concerto Competition, and the National Philharmonic Concerto Competition, to list only a few. Many local symphonies sponsor concerto competitions. Note that the prizes for winners are often college scholarships.
  • Compete in your instrument’s guild regional or national competition. For example: International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, American Viola Society, or American Flute Guild, etc. Prizes for winners are often college scholarships!
  • Attend extended Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age-appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus; preferably on the college campus that you want to attend. At camp, find an instructor who you might want to study with in college and take at least one private lesson from him or her. You might also consider a nationally recognized summer program such as “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or one of the nationally noted summer camps that have America’s most famous conductors and performers as instructors. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.
  • In May or June of your Junior year, schedule an extended (two-hour) private lesson with the lead instructor of the top two colleges that are on your wish list.  These lessons should be scheduled for the upcoming months of August or September (just as your Senior year is starting). The timing can help you get to know a potential future instructor and they’ll recognize you when audition time arrives. Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have at least four solos prepared for this lesson as well as eight etudes. You may also want to take your accompanist with your or hire an accompanist from the institution’s faculty. If this is the best choice for securing an accompanist, request your primary instrumental instructor to help you with this process.  Be prepared to pay for the lesson as well as the accompanists.
  • In October and/or November schedule a two-hour private lesson with the lead instrumental instructor of four of the colleges that are on your wish list.  These lessons should be scheduled for the upcoming months of January, February, and March. Most colleges ask that recruiting lessons are scheduled on Fridays, so make your appointment then. Have at least two solos prepared for this lesson as well as six etudes. Be prepared to pay for the lesson.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester and summer. Focus on strengthening your video profile before senior year starts.
Ensemble 12th Grade
  • Attend four concerts outside of your school this academic year. Each of these concerts should be at the schools that you are auditioning for acceptance and scholarships.
  • Attend four Master Classes. Each Master Class should be at the schools that you are auditioning for acceptance and scholarships.
  • Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. For example: High School Symphonic Band and High School Orchestra, or High School Symphonic Band and High School Chorus. Marching band cannot count as your second performance ensemble; it must be coupled with a concert ensemble. You may also consider district-wide ensembles such as countywide or regional Youth Orchestras. 
  • Continue taking private lessons once a week with a professional player. If the private instructor is not a college professor, then you may want to add two lessons from the college professor whose studio you want to be in during your college experience
  • Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing and ear-training (interval) development. Take weekly online music theory tests. 
  • Participate in the statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability.
  • Audition for and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.
  • Compete in a regional or national concerto competition. For example: Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition, Marine Band Concerto Competition, Navy Band Concerto Competition, and the National Philharmonic Concerto Competition, to list only a few. Many local symphonies sponsor concerto competitions. Prizes for winners are often college scholarships! 
  • Compete in your instrument’s guild regional or national competition. For example: International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, American Viola Society, or American Flute Guild, etc. Prizes for winners are often college scholarships!
  • Most importantly, take the first audition time available for each college or university where you are auditioning. Follow your audition with personal hand-written notes of thanks to each person on the audition committee.
  • Keep ScholarshipAuditions.com updated each semester.