Skip to main content

Professional Studies Certificate Curriculum

Life isn’t an audition.

Any music school can make you a better player. Our interconnected courses are built to transform you intellectually, artistically, professionally, and individually. You’ll understand the roots of your music, freeing you to take it somewhere new. You’ll see how your training broadens your options, rather than narrowing them. You'll find your voice. And you'll enter the world with the same confidence you bring to the stage.

The Professional Studies Certificate is a one-year, non-degree program that provides advanced, focused studies for young artists in the pre-professional stages of their careers. It helps students prepare for major competitions, auditions, and performance careers by emphasizing individual instruction and performance opportunities. With the exception of private lessons, the curriculum is designed by the student in consultation with his or her major teacher, in accordance with the student's specific career goals. This affords time for intense personal study and the freedom to choose electives, ensembles, and independent study projects directly related to professional goals.

Available to students with a completed bachelor’s degree.

If a student in select Professional Studies Certificate programs wishes to stay an additional year at the Conservatory, they may petition to the Admission Committee to switch to the Advanced Certificate program after completing their first semester as a Professional Studies Certificate student, providing an additional year of studies at the Conservatory.

Violin Concertmaster Track

SFCM offers a dedicated track of study geared toward students who wish to develop and hone their skills in concertmaster roles. This exclusive, one-year Professional Studies Certificate (PSC) program is for violinists who aspire to take on leadership roles in orchestras.

Students in the Concertmaster Track serve as the primary concertmasters and principal players in SFCM’s large ensembles, including the Conservatory Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, and Baroque Ensemble. While in San Francisco, students in the Concertmaster Track participate in significant professional opportunities and perform side by side with internationally renowned orchestra players. In addition to solo repertoire, students study orchestral repertoire intensively in their private lessons, as well as in coachings with professionals from the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera and Ballet orchestras.

This course of study culminates in a capstone project where students take a mock audition in front of a panel of San Francisco Symphony players, presenting all the qualities and standards that would be required in a professional audition.

PSC Concertmaster Track students have the same curricular requirements as other PSC Instrumental Performance majors.

Auxiliary Wind Instrument Track

SFCM offers a specialized track for the study of auxiliary wind instruments (piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet, and contrabassoon). This one-year Professional Studies Certificate (PSC) is designed for wind students who want to focus primarily on auxiliary instruments. Each studio will accept up to one student on each instrument, and applicants will work closely with faculty to develop a course of study specific to their goals. Students will have performance opportunities in the SFCM Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, chamber music program, and other special projects, and will finish their degree with a capstone recital or mock audition for a panel of San Francisco Symphony members.

Required Courses

Curriculum: Professional Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance
Credit total: 24

Required Cr.
Private Instruction 8
Ensemble or Independent Study 9
Electives 7
Winter Term 1
Juries and Recitals N/A