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Preparatory School Certificates in Piano, Composition & Orchestral Instruments

Requirements for the Certificate Program at each of the four levels are outlined below. Exceptions and waivers must be requested in writing and may be granted only by the Faculty Council. Instrumental repertoire and technique requirements vary by level and department. Please consult with your studio teacher or department chair on specific pieces. Students are required to receive a grade of High Pass or higher on their PLE (Performance Level Evaluation) to receive the certificate. Work at each certificate level normally requires two years of study. For all levels of the certificate program, students must be enrolled in private lessons through NEC Prep.

Level I—For Beginning Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write one movement of sufficient scope
  • Complete Music Theory I

Level II—For Intermediate Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write two movements of sufficient scope
  • Complete Music Theory II
  • Complete 1 year of chorus

Additional Departmental Requirements:

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of chamber ensemble or a large ensemble
Pianists: Complete 1 year of Piano Duo or Chamber Music, and 1 semester of Sight-Reading for Pianists 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level II

Level III—For Lower Advanced Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write an extended work for solo instrument or ensemble
  • Complete Music Theory III (2 years)
  • Present half or full recital program
  • Complete one of the following at Level III: Fundamentals of Improvisation, The Western Musical Experience, Composition for Performers, The Art of Practice and Performance, Intro to Composing with Electronics, World Music Ensemble and Appreciation, Rock Music Ensemble and Appreciation, or CI Skill Building
  • Complete one year of chorus at Level III or Level IV.  (This is in addition to the Level II chorus requirement.)

Additional Departmental Requirements:

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of a large ensemble, and 1 year of intermediate level chamber ensemble (Percussion Ensemble for percussionists)
Pianists: Complete 1 year each of Piano Duo and Chamber Music in Level III or Level IV, and 1 year of Piano Seminar at Level III 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level III

Level IV—For Upper Advanced Students

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements; composers must write an extended work for ensemble
  • Complete Music Theory IV (2 years)
  • Present full recital program
  • Complete one of the following at Level III: Fundamentals of Improvisation, The Western Musical Experience, Composition for Performers, The Art of Practice and Performance, Intro to Composing with Electronics, World Music Ensemble and Appreciation, Rock Music Ensemble and Appreciation, or CI Skill Building (in addition to the course completed at Level III)
  • Complete one year of chorus at Level III or Level IV (in addition to the Level II chorus requirement).

Additional Departmental Requirements:

Orchestral instruments: Complete 1 year of a large ensemble, and 1 year of chamber ensemble (Percussion Ensemble for percussionists) 
Pianists: Complete 1 year each of Piano Duo and Chamber Music in Level III or Level IV, and 1 year of Advanced Piano Seminar at Level IV 
Composers: Complete 1 year of Composition Seminar at Level IV

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