CMS Preparatory Program

cms prep program photo

The Preparatory Program (Prep) is a chamber music program designed to augment the individual music study of exceptionally talented string, wind, and piano students who anticipate pursuing a career in music. 

Acceptance to this program is by audition.

About the Preparatory Program at CMS

Utilizing the vast artistic resources of the Greater St. Louis region, including the St. Louis Symphony, area University and other music professionals, and our own Community Music School and Webster University faculty, the Preparatory Program offers high caliber instruction, performance opportunities, and artistic mentoring in one comprehensive curriculum. In addition to chamber music, the curriculum includes theory, ear training, music history and literature, performance classes, and special events such as student solo and guest recitals, master classes, guest lectures and public service projects. The Preparatory Program seeks to offer the resources and opportunities necessary to support tomorrow's professional musicians.

  • Most advanced string, wind, and piano students who are well into the concerto level repertoire
  • In grades 9-12.  Younger students may be considered based on teacher recommendation
  • Studying privately on the instrument on which they will audition
  • Highly motivated and who anticipate pursuing music study at the collegiate or conservatory level

Enrollment is limited to 35 students.

  • Complete the CMS Enrollment Form
  • Auditions are typically held in September

Each student will have 10 minutes to audition.  Although jurors may hear only a portion of the repertoire, students should prepare all required material specified below:

  • Two (2) contrasting pieces or movements to best demonstrate technical and musical ability.  Memorization is suggested by not required.  Accompanists are not required; students may elect to bring their own accompanists.
  • Sight-reading excerpts will be selected by the jurors for the audition
  • All major and melodic minor scales
    • Piano:  4 octaves plus harmonic minor scales
    • Strings:  3 octaves/4 notes per bow
    • Winds:  minimum 2 octaves plus chromatic scales
  • CLICK HERE for the Suggested Audition Repertoire

    Concert Dates
Preparatory Program Orientation Wednesday, September 30, 2020  
Cycle Rotation #1 (weekly coachings) October 12 - November 29, 2020 Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 6pm
Cycle Rotation #2 (weekly coachings) January 24 - February 24, 2021 Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7pm 
Cycle Rotation #3 (weekly coachings) March 8 - April 25, 2021 Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 6pm 

Group Classes are held monthly on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Tuition:  $930.00 (due November 1)


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

Tuition Assistance

  • Need-based tuition assistance based on total household income is available to cover partial tuition expenses for students demonstrating financial need.
  • Tuition assistance is awarded for individual lesson, classes, and ensembles (ex: YPSO, YPCO).
  • Assistance can be awarded for the Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters.
  • Tuition assistance is not retroactive; students must pay in full for any lessons or classes scheduled before a financial assistance award is granted.
  • If a student accepts tuition assistance no further discounts apply.

Download a 2020-2021 Tuition Assistance application form

Endangered Instrument Award

  • The Endangered Instrument Award is available to pre-college students new to CMS who wish to study viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, horn, trombone, tuba or harp.  This award may be granted for the Summer, Fall or Spring semester.  The award can be given for individual lessons, ensembles or summer camps.
  • Students who receive the award for individual lessons may receive 50% off the tuition for 30-minute lessons. 
  • Awarded students must audition for and, if accepted, take part in a CMS ensemble.
  • Students new to CMS ensembles may receive 50% off ensemble tuition if accepted into an orchestra/ ensemble.
  • Awarded students may participate in an ensemble only, they are not required to take individual lessons.

Download a 2020-2021 Endangered Instrument Award application form

Family and Multiple Instrument Discounts

  • A family discount is available when there are two or more siblings enrolled in individual lessons.  A discount of 10% is applied to all individual lessons except the one with the highest tuition charge.
  • A second instrument discount is available to students enrolled in individual lessons on more than one instrument.  A 10% discount is applied to all but the highest tuition charge.

Artistic Merit Scholarships

Artistic Merit Scholarships are awarded annually in the spring by audition to exceptional pre-college age students who have been recommended by their teacher and have taken individual lessons at CMS for at least one semester.  Students must be available to audition at any time assigned on the audition date. Scholarship awards are applied to student’s accounts for the following academic year.

Questions?  Call (314) 968-5939 or email