The Certificate Program is designed for students who are looking for an organized, advanced placement-like path to a comprehensive musical education. It offers an ambitious, sequential progression of learning, all in the company of other students who share the same goals.

The Program challenges students to achieve at a high level in a full spectrum of musicianship, including their own performance skills, music theory, and a knowledge of choral, orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire. Earning a certificate acknowledges significant accomplishment under the instruction of at least three different faculty members.

Entry level into the Certificate Program is determined by instrumental audition and a music theory placement evaluation. (To be eligible, a student’s instrumental study must be with a Preparatory School teacher, registered through the NEC program.)

There are four levels of achievement in which students are evaluated yearly. Though age is not necessarily a limiting factor, time is a crucial ingredient in the student’s developing maturity. Work at each traditional music certificate level normally requires two years of study.

Department chairs and the Director of the Preparatory School advise students, monitor progress, and guide curriculum decisions. We encourage students who seek an even more rigorous experience to supplement their studies with additional performance ensembles and elective courses.

Certificate Requirements

All requirements for the Certificate Program at each of the four levels are outlined below. Exceptions and waivers must be requested in writing and may be granted only by the Faculty Council. The instrumental repertoire and technique requirements vary by level and department. Please consult with your studio teacher on specific pieces. Required grade on PLE to receive the certificate is a High Pass.

Level I—For Beginning Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write one movement of sufficient scope
  • Complete Music Theory I

Level II—For Intermediate Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write two movements of sufficient scope
  • Complete Music Theory II
  • Complete 1 year of chorus

Additional Departmental Requirements: 

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of chamber ensemble or large ensemble
Pianists: Complete 1 year of Piano Duo or Chamber Music, and 1 semester of Sightreading for Pianists 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level II

Level III—For Lower Advanced Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write an extended work for solo instrument or ensemble
  • Complete Music Theory III (2 years)
  • Present half or full recital program
  • Complete one of the following at Level III: Fundamentals of Improvisation, Composition for Performers, or The Western Musical Experience
  • Complete one year of chorus at Level III or Level IV.  (This is in addition to the Level II chorus requirement.)

Additional Departmental Requirements:

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of large ensemble, and 1 year of intermediate level chamber ensemble (Percussion Ensemble for percussionists)
Pianists: Complete 1 year each of Piano Duo and Chamber Music in Level III or Level IV, and 1 year of Piano Seminar at Level III 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level III

Level IV—For Upper Advanced Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write an extended work for ensemble
  • Complete Music Theory IV (2 years)
  • Present full recital program
  • Complete one year of Fundamentals of Improvisation, Composition for Performers (in addition to the course completed at Level III), or The Western Musical Experience
  • Complete one year of chorus at Level III or Level IV (in addition to the Level III chorus requirement.

Additional Departmental Requirements: 

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of large ensemble, and 1 year of chamber ensemble (Percussion Ensemble for percussionists) 
Pianists: Complete 1 year each of Piano Duo and Chamber Music in Level III or Level IV, and 1 year of Advanced Piano Seminar at Level IV 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level IV

2012-08-24


WITHOUT CRAFTSMANSHIP, INSPIRATION IS A MERE REED SHAKEN IN THE WIND. JOHANNES BRAHMS