CMS Preparatory Program

cms prep program photo

The Preparatory Program (Prep) is the pinnacle of the CMS sequential music education program,  positioning graduates for a lifetime of arts-rich success.  It is an intensive  program for developing well-rounded young musicians by offering high-caliber chamber music coaching from professional musicians, performance opportunities, theory, and special events.

About the Preparatory Program at CMS

The CMS Preparatory Program is an extensive program offering high-caliber coaching from professional musicians, meaningful real-world performance opportunities, artistic mentoring, and other curriculum. Three 7-week rotations include: 1-3 weekly rehearsals; 5 coachings; a culminating concert; optional theory and performance classes. The CMS Preparatory Program is most appropriate for high school musicians who may be interested in pursuing a music major or minor in college. 

Optional classes:

  • Performance: These classes provide a masterclass-like environment for students to develop experience performing. Each musician is given two opportunities per rotation to play and get feedback from top professional musicians.
  • Theory: Students work with a college-level theory instructor to develop knowledge of key signatures, intervals, chord identification, cadences, harmonization and analysis; five classes per rotation.

  • String, wind (flute, clarinet, bassoon, french horn), and piano students with a recommended minimum of at least 4 years of private study.
  • Students in grades 9-12. Middle school students may be considered based on teacher recommendation
  • Students should be studying privately on the instrument on which they will audition
  • Students should be motivated and interested in chamber music.

Students may audition in-person or by video submission. The application deadline is September 1, 2022.

Video Auditions:

Video auditions due:  Saturday, September 10, 2022
Video Audition Procedure

Live Auditions:

SATURDAY, September 10th
CMS Concert Hall
Live Audition Procedure

Students may audition for the Preparatory Program in-person* in the Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus at Webster University. Students auditioning in-person will automatically be considered for the Prep Scholarship Competition held in the CMS Concert Hall the following day on September 11th. There is a $40.00 competition fee for students auditioning in-person and entered into the CMS Prep Scholarship Competition.

SUNDAY, September 11th prep-scholarship-competition logo
Prep Scholarship Competition
CMS Concert Hall
3:00 p.m.

The top 4-8 students auditioning in the preliminary round in-person on Saturday will proceed to a Scholarship round on SundaySeptember 11th at the Community Music School.  The winner of the Prep Scholarship Competition will receive a full-tuition scholarship ($1050.00) for all three rotations of the 2022-2023 CMS Preparatory Program. 

2022-2023 Academic Year   Concert Dates
Preparatory Program Orientation Wednesday, September 28, 2022  
Fall Rotation #1 (weekly coachings) Oct. 3 - Nov. 18, 2022 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 
Winter Rotation #2 (weekly coachings) Jan. 2 - Feb. 22, 2023 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023 
Spring Rotation #3 (weekly coachings) March 6 - April 23, 2023 6 p.m., Sunday, April 23, 2023 

Electives and class meetings take place on Wednesdays during each rotation.

2022-23 Tuition:  $350/rotation

Annual Registration Fee:  A non-refundable registration fee of $30 is assessed once per academic year per student upon enrollment.  

Competition Fee: There is a $40.00 competition fee for students auditioning in-person and entered into the CMS Prep Scholarship Competition.

Do I have to play in the live audition to get into the Prep program?

No, you may apply online to the Prep program by video.

How many live auditions are there each year?

Just one in early September before the academic year begins.

How do I get into the scholarship competition?

Between 4 and 8 scholarship competition finalists will be selected from the live audition round. All you need to do is apply for the live audition and you are automatically eligible for the scholarship round.

Do I have to stay at CMS after my audition?

No, you are welcome to leave after your audition and we will notify you of the results when they are posted.

Why is there an application fee for the live audition?

The fee covers the cost of jury members, accompanist, and building use for this unique opportunity to play an audition that is open to the public.

How big of a time commitment is Prep?

The majority of Prep activities happen during our three academic year rotations (fall, winter, spring ). There can be some variation in time commitment depending on chamber group assignment. The most serious groups with the goal of entering competitions might meet 3-5 times per week whereas a new quartet may only meet 1-3 times per week. In addition to chamber meetings, Prep students also attend 2 all-prep gatherings and 4-8 elective classes per rotation.