1. Pre-College

Pre-College Core Curriculum

The Pre-College curriculum gives students a comprehensive and immersive musical education comprised of private lessons, musicianship, and small and large ensemble courses. Paired with master classes, performance opportunities, and assessments, the curriculum provides young musicians with the tools they need to succeed in the field of music and beyond. Additional electives are offered in specialized topics. Pre-College classes occur on Saturdays between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM over 30 weeks each academic year.

Pre-College Handbook

  • Majors

  • Bassoon
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Composition
  • Double Bass
  • Flute
  • Guitar, classical
  • Harp
  • Horn
  • Oboe
  • Organ
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Technology & Applied Composition
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Voice
  • Core Curriculum

  • Private Lessons
  • Musicianship (Music Theory & Ear Training)
  • Small Ensembles
    • Instrumental Chamber Music
    • Opera & Musical Theatre Scenes
    • Vocal Performance Workshop
    • Brass Ensemble
  • Large Ensembles
    • Chorus
    • String Orchestra
    • Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Young Persons Curriculum (ages 6-8)

  • Private Lessons
  • Musicianship (Music Theory & Ear Training)
  • Elective Courses

  • Secondary Instrument or Private Composition Lessons
  • Composition Seminar
  • Conducting
  • Harpsichord for Pianists
  • Health and Wellness for Musicians
  • Technology & Applied Composition
  • Private Lessons

    The cornerstone of a comprehensive curriculum in music education is private instruction. The Pre-College offers consistent, high-level teaching and individual mentoring through private lessons with our excellent faculty.

  • Musicianship

    The Pre-College musicianship program cultivates musical literacy as well as musical intelligence. Students master elements of music, sharpen their aural perception and develop a strong inner pulse by performing sight-singing, keyboard harmony and rhythmic exercises; taking aural dictation; and studying practical theory, harmony, improvisation and score analysis

  • Small Ensemble

    Small ensemble training provides some of the most gratifying and transformative experiences in a young musician's development. Playing in an ensemble promotes collaboration and builds community while cultivating performance and rehearsal skills.

  • Large Ensemble

    Students participate in professionally directed large ensembles, which include chorus, string orchestra, and contemporary music ensemble.

Master Classes, Performance Opportunities, and Assessments

The Pre-College fosters achievement by incorporating regular input and assessment from SFCM faculty as well as artists in the field. Public chamber music master classes, workshops, and performances are an integral part of the curriculum. Recent master classes have been presented by renowned musicianship from the Bay Area and beyond, including pianist Anton Nel, violist James Dunham, and cellists Matt Haimovitz and Bonnie Hampton. Students are required to participate in juries once a year and many of our students participate in the Royal Conservatory of Music Development assessments. Students have ample performing opportunities, including weekly recitals and semester-end chamber music and chorus concerts.


Students can choose to supplement the core program with one of our elective offerings. Electives change each year in response to students’ needs. This year’s current elective offerings include Composition Seminar and Second Instrument Instruction.

Certificate Program

Students enrolled in our comprehensive program may choose to complete certificates at the following levels. Each of these levels is designed to be completed over a period of one to three years.

Certificate Program Requirements