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Precollege Certificate Program

Myra Jackson Blair Scholarship students and alumni

The Blair School of Music awards two certificates to outstanding precollege performers and scholars. The Certificate of Distinction is awarded to advanced performance-level high school seniors, and the Certificate of Merit is awarded to intermediate performance-level high school seniors who have completed formal programs that encourage excellence in performance and knowledge of music theory and history. All precollege students, particularly Myra Jackson Blair Honor Scholars, are encouraged to participate. The curriculum is designed to promote the readiness of a student to successfully enter a collegiate music program. Learn more about specific requirements for the Certificate of Distinction and the Certificate of Merit, and view a list of all our distinguished certificate recipients.

Nomination to the program

High school students are nominated for admission to the certificate program by the departmental faculty after scholarship auditions in the spring semester. Nominated students will have achieved at least an upper-intermediate level of proficiency in instrumental or vocal study, and demonstrate an eagerness to explore in depth the academic and performance study of music. Nominated students will receive invitations to enter the program. Accepted students will enter at the Certificate of Merit rank. There is no cost for participation.

General program requirements

To earn a precollege certificate, a student must enroll in private instrument or voice lessons; performance class and recital performance as applicable; classes in music theory, music history, chamber music and/or collaborative piano; and participate in instrumental or choral ensembles as qualified. Length of study requirements vary by certificate. Each candidate will also perform a Certificate Recital, after a pre-recital hearing conducted by the department and the Certificate Program Council.

A student may earn honors with either the Certificate of Merit or Certificate of Distinction. A certificate with honors requires: music history study at Blair for two years; music theory study and completion of Level 6 of the music theory curriculum; and private instruction at Blair for at least three years. A standard certificate requires: music history study at Blair for one year; music theory study and completion of Level 4 of the theory curriculum; and private instruction at Blair for at least two years.

Admission requirements for the Certificate of Distinction

Students who have achieved an advanced performance level and have a letter of recommendation from their Blair studio teacher may audition for the Certificate of Distinction program. Auditions are conducted by the Certificate Program Council in the spring of the student’s junior year of high school. (In rare instances, an audition may be heard during the fall semester of the student’s high school senior year.) The repertoire requirement is three contrasting compositions from three stylistic periods. Suggestions for appropriate repertoire will be made by the studio teacher.

Student responsibility

Students in both certificate programs are responsible for understanding and fulfilling all requirements. Records are kept by the Certificate Program Council Coordinator, private teacher and the Blair office. Direct any questions to Associate Dean Pam Schneller via email or phone (615-343-5614).

An overview of the certificates

Certificate of Merit

This certificate is for the student with excellent performing and academic ability who has been nominated by the department faculty after scholarship auditions in the spring. It is awarded to high school seniors who have met the requirements outlined on the Certificate of Merit page.

Certificate of Distinction

This certificate is for the student with outstanding performing ability who is seriously considering a career in music. It is awarded to high school seniors who have met the performance requirements outlined on the Certificate of Distinction page.