Founded in 1985, the Honors Music Program is the Pre-College division of Westminster Conservatory of Music for talented music students aged 8-19. This unique program is committed to nurturing musical artistry and scholarship through a comprehensive curriculum designed to develop the potential of each student on their individual musical journey.
The Honors Music Program offers majors in Instrumental or Vocal Performance, Composition, and Musicianship Studies with multiple avenues of study ranging from rigorous conservatory preparation for students pursuing advanced study or degrees in music to divisions designed for students interested in supplementing their current musical studies all within a supportive and vibrant community. Students maintain weekly private lessons with their choice of private teacher either within or outside the Conservatory. They attend Saturday classes from September through early June on the campus of Westminster Choir College under the tutelage of an exceptional faculty of performers, composers, and scholars offering students unmatched personal attention. Honors Music Program alumni attend top universities and music conservatories and include international performers, award winning composers, successful music teachers, and dedicated amateurs.
The Honors Music Program core curriculum includes a course sequence in Music Theory, Ear Training, Music History, and Dalcroze supplemented by rotating Music History and Theory electives. Semester grades are awarded in all courses and a transcript is maintained. Conservatory-wide recitals, outreach concerts, master classes, and workshops presented by distinguished artists are offered in addition to major specific performances and performance evaluations.
Music Theory & Ear Training
The Honors Music Program provides a critical groundwork of both music theory and ear training throughout every year of study. Studying the construction and grammar of music fosters critical analysis skills that increases musical literacy and creates independent musicians. The Theory curriculum initially follows the Syllabus of the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, (RCM) and the Associated Board of the Royals School of Music (ABRSM). Advancing students prepare for the AP Music Theory Exam and finally move onto courses in Counterpoint, Composition, Analysis, and Orchestration. Students have the option to prepare for standardized theory testing each year.
The Honors Music Program presents the rich history of western music in survey classes and seminars. Students explore the field of musicology as they critically study the historical and cultural contexts of musical time periods, composers, and masterworks of the western canon.
The Honors Music Program develops the complete musician through an interactive Dalcroze Education.
“Dalcroze Education is an interactive process that develops skills in keen listening, music literacy, analysis, performance, improvisation, composition, and pedagogy. It is the combination of music, improvisation, and discovery-based, experiential learning that makes this work joyful, inspiring, and profound.”
Major Specific Studies
The following areas of study are available to specific majors within the Young Artist and Young Musician Divisions.
The Honors Music Program nurtures the community engagement of students through the collaborative study of Chamber Music. Carefully selected ensembles explore a wide range of Chamber literature for an array of instrumental combinations under the guidance of an experienced faculty. Students present their repertoire at the end of each semester in the Honors Music Program Chamber Concerts.
(Offered to Instrumental Performance Majors)
Honors Music Program offers a contemporary and versatile approach to classical music education that includes Jazz Improvisation instruction throughout every year of study. Students develop the ability to improvise in various styles through lab-style classes and Jazz Combos and study with instructors who are active performers throughout the NYC and Philadelphia areas. Students perform with faculty during a Jazz Showcase each semester. We are proud to have won the support of the Bharvaney Fund in support of our Jazz Department.
(Offered to Instrumental Performance Majors)
Solo Performance Classes
Instrumental Performance Majors in the Young Artist and Young Musician divisions perform participate in four private master classes per year. Students gain valuable performance experience in a supportive environment under the guidance of clinician.
The Honors Music Program provides a highly specialized track specifically designed for Vocalist Performance Majors.
Vocal Repertoire focuses on the holistic development of healthy vocal technique, communication, performance personality and presence through the study of a wide body of chamber and solo vocal repertoire. Students work in a master class format and perform with a professional piano accompanist. Vocalists showcase their ensemble repertoire at two Honors Music Program Chamber Recitals. (Offered Young Artist Vocal Performance Majors)
Language and Diction for Singers addresses the basics of the International Phonetic Alphabet and fundamentals of the principal singing languages: Italian, English, Latin, French, German, and Spanish. (Offered to both Young Artist and Young Musician Vocal Performance Majors)
Vocal Skills focuses on developing healthy vocal technique and independence as well as developing personal poise and stage deportment. Students work in a master class format and explore ensemble repertoire and hone their solo repertoire. Vocalists showcase their ensemble repertoire at two Honors Music Program Chamber Recitals. (Offered to Young Musician Vocal Performance Majors)
Vocal Seminar include topics such as Audition Skills, Baroque Ornamentation, Acting Songs, Vocal Health and Anatomy, and Performance Anxiety. (Offered to both Young Artist and Young Musician Vocal Performance Majors)