Lessons and Class Requirements

Certain NEC Prep programs require new students to be evaluated by program faculty. Who needs to submit a placement evaluation?

  • All new Prep students
  • Current Prep students who do not currently participate in these programs
  • Current Private Lesson students may re-enroll with their current teacher, however, students who wish to study with a new teacher or take lessons for a new instrument must submit an evaluation.
  • Current Theory and Piano Seminar students will be placed based on their end-of-year evaluation.
  • Current Suzuki/Early Childhood students will be placed based on their current teacher’s recommendation.

Private Lessons

As part of their Prep application, students interested in taking private lessons should submit materials that help us determine their current playing ability and style. Please note that this is not an audition, but is necessary to help us recommend teachers that are best suited for the student. To receive a teacher recommendation, please submit the following:

  • Students with experience on their instrument:
    • Two contrasting solo pieces
  • Students who are new to their instrument
    • A video statement of why they want to learn their instrument, and their learning/performance goals
  • Priority submission deadline is 5/15
  • Final submission deadline is 8/1

Theory Classes

Students interested in Prep theory classes will need to take a placement test in order to be placed in the appropriate class. This 30-question, multiple choice test is divided into written and ear training sections, and may be accessed from the Parent/Guardian Application Portal after an application has been submitted.

All new students who wish to participate in Prep theory classes must complete the placement test. If your child does not have any prior music theory knowledge, we encourage them to do the best they can. There is no minimum score to gain admission into the program, and our Theory Level I and Theory for Teens 1 classes cover introductory theory principles.

  • Priority submission deadline is 5/15
  • Final submission deadline is 8/1

Piano Seminars

All new piano seminar students are required to perform a live placement audition on August 20th. Students should prepare two contrasting piano pieces from the standard piano repertoire. These pieces should be original compositions, and not arrangements.

  • Applications must be submitted by 8/1

Sight-Reading for Pianists

Students interested in the Sight-Reading for Pianists class are required to perform a live Audition on August 20th. Students should compare two contrasting pieces from the standard repertoire. Students will also be asked to sight read a piece.

  • Applications must be submitted by 8/1

Suzuki/Early Childhood Education

Those interested in the Suzuki/Early Childhood program should upload videos with the following:

  • Beginner students:
    • Say a few sentences about yourself, including your name, age, and why you want to play the instrument you have selected.
    • Sing your favorite song or play something on an instrument you might be studying at your school (any instrument).
  • Non-beginner students:
    • One short video introducing yourself, including your name, age, how many years you have been playing, and what pieces you are recording for the submission.
    • One scale (with or without arpeggios)
    • Two contrasting pieces or segments of longer pieces (slow/fast; technical/melodic)
  • Applications must be submitted by 8/1

Prep Jazz Programming

Those interested in Jazz at NEC Prep should complete and submit a 2024-2025 Prep application, as well as complete the NEC Prep Jazz Placement Form. NEC Prep Jazz students will be asked to meet with the department chairs for an interview and audition. In preparation for this meeting, please prepare the following materials:

  • Beginners
    • Students who are new to playing in a jazz ensemble and improvisation
      • Two contrasting pieces of your choice in whatever styles of music you are currently familiar with. Improvisation is welcome, but not required.
        • One piece should exhibit rhythmic skill (music played in a steady beat)
        • One piece should demonstrate instrumental or vocal skill
      • The chair and assistant chair will also ask you to do some simple improvisation accompanied by them, to evaluate how you respond to rhythm.
  • Non-Beginners
    • Students who have experience playing in a jazz ensembles and improvising solos
      • Two contrasting pieces, preferably from standard Jazz repertoire (funk, blues, bossa, and other related styles also acceptable).
      • Students should exhibit their ability to play a melody (or accompany it on bass and drums), accompany a soloist, and improvise.
        • The chair and assistant chair will accompany you. Please bring two concert key (piano key) copies of lead sheets of the pieces you would like to play.
  • Applications must be submitted by 8/1