Advanced students entering grades 8-12 can audition for CIM's Pre-College program, a comprehensive course of study that prepares them for acceptance into CIM's Young Artist Program, a college music school or conservatory. Pre-College program students take weekly hour-long private lessons with top faculty, attend classes in piano, music theory and eurhythmics, and participate in an ensemble.

Program at a Glance

Pre-College program students will:

  • Attend weekly private lessons 
  • Enjoy Saturday classes in piano, music theory and eurhythmics and participate in a performance seminar
  • Gain access to educational seminars, workshops and conservatory master classes and performances
  • Experience ensemble training with top faculty, including members of The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Receive complimentary access to Cleveland Orchestra performances at Severance Hall
  • Enjoy full privileges at CIM's Robinson Music Library
  • Connect with staff to receive college application and audition guidance 
  • Optionally participate in CIM's annual Preparatory Concerto Competition for a chance to perform with the CIM Orchestra
  • Participate in performance juries each semester
  • Earn a graduation certificate signed by CIM President and CEO Paul Hogle

Application & Audition

Pre-College program students are required to apply online and audition for the program. We are currently accepting applications for the 2021-22 academic year! Applications received will be considered on a rolling basis until all positions are filled or until further notice. Learn more about the required application and audition process below. To inquire about the program, please email

Application Materials

All students applying for the Pre-College program for Fall 2021 must complete the online application and submit all necessary application materials to be eligible.

In addition to completing the application, students are required to submit: 

  • One letter of recommendation from a person (non-family) who can attest to the student’s musical prowess and potential. 
  • 500-750-word essay responding to one of the following prompts:
    • Describe an important lesson learned from a challenge in your musical life. How does it continue to influence you today?
    • Describe how the CIM Pre-College program will contribute to your educational and professional goals.
    • If you couldn't pursue music, what career would you work toward and why that career?
  • Financial Aid application, if applying for need-based aid (this will be posted to your Status Page once the online application is complete). 
  • Recorded audition video of required repertoire
Recorded Audition Videos

Out of an abundance of caution, we will not be holding in-person auditions for Fall 2021. Rather, we are accepting recorded audition videos. Recordings should be uploaded through the "Upload Audio or Video" page of your application. Please review our tutorial regarding the proper preparation and recording of audition videos. Recorded auditions should follow the live audition repertoire requirements for Pre-College.

International Applicant Requirements

International students applying for the Pre-College program are required to obtain an I-20 from their academic institution and have sufficient English fluency in reading, writing and aural comprehension. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit test results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination; a minimum score of 79 is needed to participate in this program.

Musical Pathway Fellowship

Through the fellowship, Black and Latinx students entering grades 5-12 can join the Pre-College program with a full scholarship, participating in all that the program has to offer, including exceptional artistic training, and receiving ongoing, multi-year support. Learn more about applying for the fellowship.