Many high school students use summer programs as a way to gain experience and knowledge in their desired field of study. If you are a high school musician, this post will explore 5 of the most well-renowned summer music programs in the United States for you!

Summer Program #1: Interlochen Center for the Arts

Where: Interlochen, Michigan

Interlochen is one of the most well-renowned music programs for young artists in the country. They offer 1-week institutes for instrumental studies, as well as several programs that last between 2-6 weeks that range anywhere from Rock Music to Orchestra and Wind Symphony groups. They boast highly educated and respected staff and instructors that aim to improve and enrich high school students’ personal musical abilities.

Many of their programs are highly selective and intensive, but also extremely rewarding and nurturing. The schedule is heavily based in playing individually and in groups, yet there is still ample time left for practice and socialization. It is often said “friends made at Interlochen are friends for a lifetime”, which attests to the quality of young musicians that this summer program attracts. Additionally, their beautiful campus on the northwestern edge of Michigan makes it a beautiful place to study.

I personally attended this program last summer for the 1-week Oboe Institute, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The teachers and students were both extremely supportive and talented, and I feel that I grew tremendously as a musician there. If anyone has further questions about my experience, please feel free to ask in the comments!

For more information or to audition visit their website: http://camp.interlochen.org/high-school-music-summer-programs

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Summer Program #2: Idyllwild Arts

Where: Idyllwild, California

Idyllwild Arts is another well-known Arts Camp for talented high school musicians. They offer several 2-week programs that include band, chamber, and orchestral groups, as well as other programs like songwriting. They have well-known staff that they draw from all over the country, but most prominently the close by Los Angeles, CA. Their mere 2-hour drive from Los Angeles means that they have educators who regularly perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Opera Orchestra, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, and major studio recording ensembles.

They have highly selective programs and attract many talented young artists, making it an ideal place to study if you are serious about studying music. They maintain a beautiful campus in southern California with ample practice rooms and outdoor space for students to explore.

For more information or to audition visit their website: http://www.idyllwildarts.org/page.cfm?p=734&pback=720

Summer Program #3: Boston University Tanglewood Institute

Where: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University Tanglewood Institute offers 2-week and 6-week programs for high school musicians. This program is unique in that it is associated with a major symphony orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Students attending the institute have the opportunity to attend Tanglewood performances daily, while also being heavily involved with rehearsals and individual instruction. This program primarily offers 2-week instrumental institutes, but they also offer 6-week Young Artist programs that include wind ensembles and orchestras.

This program is perfect for those who want to not only play but also experience others play in a professional setting. Additionally, being located on the Boston University campus provides an insight into what living on a college campus is like, which is very valuable for high school students.

For more information or to audition visit their website: http://www.bu.edu/cfa/tanglewood/

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Summer Program #4: Camp MSM

Where: Manhattan, New York

Camp MSM is a summer music camp for high school musicians held on the campus of the Manhattan School of Music. This is a 4-week program for instrumental studies where aspiring musicians will be involved in various ensembles and private instruction with the renowned staff. Students also have access to other music related classes that are not necessarily performance based, such as composition, songwriting, and conducting.

This program is ideal for students who are interested in what living in a city is like, as you will be housed in Manhattan School of Music’s urban campus. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to be immersed in the sights of the city on the weekends, amongst the busy rehearsal schedule.

For more information or to audition visit their website:

http://www.msmnyc.edu/Instruction-Faculty/Programs/Special-Programs/Camp-MSM

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Summer Program #5: Carnegie Mellon Summer Pre-College Music

Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Carnegie Mellon Pre-College program is a unique summer program for serious, aspiring musicians. It offers instrumental and vocal majors for students who are very seriously considering becoming music majors in college. Held on the grounds of Carnegie Mellon University, a very well known university for their musical theater and music programs, it is made clear that this is not a camp. This program focuses on preparing students for what they will be experiencing as music majors in college. The curriculum is rigorous due to this fact; however, they do offer non-major related classes for students to take.

This is the summer program for the serious high school musician that wants a preview into college as music majors. Students participate in private lessons, as well as playing in orchestral and chamber groups. If you want a more collegiate, and less “camp-like” experience, this may be the program for you.

For more information or to audition visit their website: http://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pages/pre-college-music


Summer music programs are probably the most rewarding and enriching ways for high school musicians to spend the summer. Of course, these are not the only music programs out there, but these are amongst the most renowned in the nation. If you do decide to apply or attend any of these amazing institutes this summer, let me know in the comments! Who knows, I may see you there!

If you decided a music program isn’t right for you, here are a few other productive ways you can spend your summer!

Volunteering: https://yougotintowhere.com/2016/10/20/volunteering-how-and-where-you-can-be-a-community-contributor/

Reading up on college admissions: https://yougotintowhere.com/2016/10/31/college-admission-made-easy/

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