Certificate Programs

The Certificate Program is designed for students who are looking for an organized, advanced placement-like path to a comprehensive musical education. It offers an ambitious, sequential progression of learning, all in the company of other students who share the same goals. Through the Certificate Program, students are challenged to achieve their optimum performance skills, competence in music theory, and a knowledge of the literature that includes choral, orchestral, and chamber, as well as solo repertoire. The granting of a certificate acknowledges significant achievement in the full range of Preparatory School activities, under the instruction of at least three different faculty members. The general program and the range of faculty are sufficiently broad to accommodate students of varied outlook, proficiency, and professional intent. 

There are four levels of achievement in which students are evaluated yearly. While experience has shown that age is not a limiting factor, time is a crucial ingredient in the student’s developing maturity. Work at each certificate level normally requires two years of study. Eurhythmics and early musicianship classes lead to readiness for the theory classes for young students.

Entry level into the Certificate Program is determined by instrumental audition and a music theory placement evaluation. To be eligible for the Certificate Program, a student’s instrumental study must be with a Preparatory School teacher, registered through the NEC program.

Department Chairs, Department Program Managers, and the Director of the Preparatory School are available to advise students, monitor progress, and guide curriculum decisions. We encourage students who seek an even more rigorous experience to supplement their studies with additional performance ensembles and elective courses.

For specifics about each of our certificates, please choose an option below.

Certificates/Awards and Graduation Ceremony

At the close of each academic year, eligible students will be awarded their certificates in a joint ceremony with graduating seniors. Departmental and large ensemble awards are also presented to a number of outstanding seniors.

Frances B. Lanier Award

Named for the remarkable teacher and violinist who founded the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, this prestigious award is given to the most outstanding senior performers who have integrated their innate ability and skills into an emerging musical personality. This honor presupposes the student’s thorough technical mastery, a capacity for independent endeavor, and the motivation and initiative that will lead to the achievement of creative distinction. Recipients of this award have completed their Level IV certificates and have been recommended by the Faculty Council.