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, mentoring, theory, multi-track recording, and special events.

About the Preparatory Program at CMS

The CMS Preparatory Program is an extensive, multi-year 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; and electives in performance, theory, mentorship, and multi-track recording. The CMS Preparatory Program is most appropriate for advanced high school musicians who may be interested in pursuing a music major or minor in college. 


  • 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.
  • Mentorship: Mentors meet with students in small groups or individually twice per rotation. Topics may include how to prepare for conservatory auditions, is music the right career path for you, where should you apply for college, how can you make a living playing music
  • Multi-track Recording: Becoming familiar with the fundamentals of multi-track recording is a valuable skill for musicians. This elective gives students an opportunity to collaborate on classical repertoire while gaining experience with technology.

  • Advanced 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.

Please complete this application to indicate your intention to audition for the 2021-2022 CMS Preparatory Program.  More complete information about auditions will be sent by email once the application is received.  Students may audition online or in-person

Online auditions:

Video submissions due:  Sunday, September 12, 2021
Online Audition Procedure

Live auditions:

SATURDAY, September 11th
Winifred Moore Auditorium at Webster University
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 12th. There is a $40.00 competition fee for students auditioning in-person and entered into the CMS Prep Scholarship Competition.

prep competition logoSunday, September 12th

Prep Scholarship Competition
CMS Concert Hall
3:00 p.m.

*By choosing to audition in-person, students are automatically entered into the CMS Prep Scholarship Competition.  The top 4-8 students auditioning in the preliminary round in-person on Saturday will proceed to a Scholarship round on SundaySeptember 12th at the Community Music School.  The winner of the Prep Scholarship Competition will receive a full-tuition scholarship for the 2021-2022 CMS Preparatory Program.


2021-2022 Academic Year   Concert Dates
Preparatory Program Orientation Sept. 29, 2021  
Fall Rotation #1 (weekly coachings) Oct. 4 - Nov. 15, 2021 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 
Winter Rotation #2 (weekly coachings) Jan. 3 - Feb. 14, 2022 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 
Spring Rotation #3 (weekly coachings) March 7 - April 24, 2022 6 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2022 

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

2021-22 Tuition:  $960 (Fall, Winter and Spring rotations)

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 10/4-11/19, winter 1/3-2/23, spring 3/7-4/24). 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.