Pre-College Curriculum

Juilliard Pre-College runs on Saturdays, generally from 9am to 6pm. Students must be prepared to attend during these hours. Because of scheduling complexities, students may be asked to take private lessons in their major or chamber music coachings during the week.


Major-Specific Courses Elective Courses

    Study is enhanced by ample performance opportunities. Pre-College presents more than 200 public performances each season, including solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts at venues throughout Juilliard and Lincoln Center.

    Course Descriptions

    A dynamic sequence that builds vocabulary and concepts from elementary topics to advanced studies in form analysis and chromatic harmony. The program cultivates musicianship by developing analytical and listening skills that connect classroom learning to musical repertoire. Additional advanced electives are offered on a rotating basis, tailored to match students' interests.
    One hour weekly. Placement by examination.

    Ear Training
    Ear training is a vital component in the development of a musician. The various activities aid the student in perfecting pitch and rhythm performance skills. Students learn to recognize and react to harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic structures through recitation and dictation. At the most advanced levels, students apply aural skills to performance repertoire. Score reading, clef reading, transposition.
    One hour weekly. Placement by examination.

    All students majoring in an orchestral instrument participate in one of three orchestras: the Pre-College String Ensemble, Pre-College Symphony, or Pre-College Orchestra. The orchestral repertoire covered in this program offers students a comprehensive performing experience through various periods and genres. Soloists for all concertos are Pre-College students selected by competition.
    Two and a half hours weekly. Placement in the orchestras by age and by discretion of the administration.

    Chamber Music
    With the major teacher's approval, all students are eligible for chamber music. During their studies in the division, eligible students must participate in chamber music for at least one year. Harp, double bass, voice, percussion, organ, and composition majors are exempt from this requirement and are offered additional studio or ensemble classes.
    One hour weekly. Placement in the chamber music program by discretion of the administration.

    Piano Performance Forum
    All students majoring in piano and organ are required to participate in Piano Performance Forum, which offers performance opportunities to students throughout the year. Special class topics include introduction to different keyboard instruments, various styles of performance, and master classes with faculty and guest artists.
    One hour weekly.

    Vocal Performance Class
    The Voice program is designed to prepare young singers for the rigorous demands of conservatory training. In addition to music theory, ear training, and private lessons, voice majors are required to take diction, Vocal Performance Class, and a 30-minute vocal coaching. They are also encouraged to take a 30-minute piano lesson. Applicants must be at least 14 years old at the time of the audition.


    Private Lesson (Secondary Instrument or Composition)
    Students who wish to pursue studies on a second instrument or composition must apply for instruction on Registration Day. Acceptance for secondary instruction is based on faculty approval and availability. Not all requests for secondary instruction will be granted. There is an additional fee for secondary instruction.

    Music History Survey
    A survey of the history of Western music. Main focus on the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century. This course is recommended for students interested in music history, but with little or no previous study. Emphasis on understanding musical style and development of ideas in each period. Study of important composers and events. Reading and listening assignments. 
    One hour weekly. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    History of 20th-Century Music
    Music styles, ideas, events, movements, composers and musicians in the 20th century. Topics include: Impressionism, Neo-classicism, post-Romanticism, atonality, jazz, musical theater, electronic music, experimental music, minimalism, and others. Reading and listening assignments.
    One hour weekly. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    Group Composition
    A small group class for students interested in music composition, but with little or no previous experience. Study of basic notions of pitch, rhythm, line and form. Writing assignments of two-voice and three-voice compositions. Discussion of student progress. Class may be repeated on different levels.
    One hour weekly. Open to all non-composition majors. Additional fee may apply.

    Study of species counterpoint in two and three voices. Writing exercises.
    Prerequisite: Advanced level of theory and ear training, and permission of the department. Study of 18th-century counterpoint including canon and fugue. Writing exercises and analysis.
    One hour weekly. Open to all non-composition majors. Additional fee may apply.

    Post-Tonal Theory
    A study of early 20th-century music, including works by Debussy, Ravel, Ives, Bartók, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and others. Particular emphasis will be on learning techniques of post-tonal analysis. Assignments include analysis, in-class presentations, and participation in classroom discussions.
    One hour weekly. Additional fee may apply.

    Musical Form and Analysis
    A study of musical form and analytical techniques from the standard literature. The first semester focuses on the structure and forms used by composers from the Baroque through Romantic periods. Concentration is placed on overall structures, themes and motives, key relationships, sequences, melodic devices and identification of cadences, and some harmonic analysis. The second semester is an in-depth look at harmonic analysis. Specific works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and others will introduce analytical challenges to the student. A special concentration will be placed on the analysis of Bach, including his use of the golden mean, numerical Fibonacci sequences, the use of his name in his compositions, and the many numerological religious symbolisms in his music.
    One hour weekly. Additional fee may apply.

    A practical course in orchestral conducting, including baton technique, score analysis, and the study of technical and musical problems involved in conducting classical and contemporary works. Interview with faculty may be required.
    One hour weekly. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    Psychological Skills of Top Performers
    Performance-oriented, this course presents sport psychology methods that have proven to help musicians achieve optimal performance levels under the pressure of recitals, auditions, and competitions. Students will learn how to manage nervousness, deal with doubts and worry, focus better, and perform at a high level in stressful situations.
    Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    Music of J.S. Bach
    Discover Bach's greatness through his keyboard works, solo sonatas, concertos, cantatas, masses, and more. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    The Science of Resilience
    Stress less and achieve more! In this course, you will use fun tools like Virtual Reality and biofeedback to learn how to elicit the Relaxation Response, the opposite of the stress response. Maximize your performance in all areas of life with more motivation and less procrastination. Positive psychology and emotional intelligence skills backed by research at the Benson Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, will optimize your brain and improve your health down to the genomic level so you can perform, relate, sleep, eat and move better. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    Improvisation workshop
    The ability to improvise is one of the most essential skills for any musician. It develops confidence, freedom of expression, creativity, and better understanding of the pieces that we study. In this course you will improvise in a wide range of styles from the 18th to 21th centuries, focusing on compositional thinking, harmonic imagination, and melodic fluency. Open to all students. Additional fee may apply.

    Beyond Solo Piano: Keyboard Strategies for Pianists
    Because pianists make music in many different settings, it is important to learn skills that go beyond solo repertoire performance. In this class, we will explore such topics as how to harmonize a melody; how to make up a melody if someone gives you sheet music with chord symbols on it; how to accompany someone if they only give you a copy of the orchestral score, or need their song "in a slightly higher key". Developing these skills can help with sight reading; repertoire preparation; and have a wide variety of practical- and enjoyable- applications. For Piano Majors.

    Beyond Solo Piano: Keyboard Strategies for Pianists
    Through an exploration of works by Joplin, Dvorak, Still, Price, Ives, Gershwin, Ellington, Copland, and others, this class provides an understanding of the elements that have come to define the “American sound” in 20th century classical music.

    Fundamentals of Orchestration
    Study how instruments work together in chamber and orchestra music. Listening and writing exercises. Open to all students with permission. Required for composition majors who are scheduled for the class automatically.

    Music Technology
    Students will learn about basic concepts and technologies used in music recording, editing, composition and production. Students will develop basic skills in the following areas: home recording, sound editing, sequencing, signal processing, and mixing. Classwork will feature lessons using Logic, Ableton or another (suitable for PC) music production software, analysis of recordings, and presentations of individual projects. Homework will be assigned weekly and may include home recording, audio and basic video editing, creative exercises and original composition, production work and listening assignments. The course will conclude with a presentation of a creative project that demonstrates an advanced understanding and skill with the software and production tools presented in class. Prerequisite: Access to a laptop or desktop computer.

    A fundamental exploration of sound itself, as both physical phenomenon and biological sensation, tailored to the needs of musicians. Timbre, tuning systems, and structural acoustics will be discussed, and the following questions addressed: What exactly is sound? What are overtones and why are they important? Why do different instruments sound the way they do? What is "temperament" in musical tuning? How has tuning evolved over time? What is the "right way" to tune? How do performance venues shape sound? What structural features make for good acoustics? How do human bodies respond to sound? Why do we hear what we hear?

    Last Updated Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, 04:08PM