violinists in class

The High School Summer Music Academy is an opportunity for talented band, orchestra and piano students from Colorado and around the country to receive world-class instruction in a one-week summer session. Band and orchestra participants will be placed into a wind ensemble or string orchestra with a nationally renowned conductor. Select students will be divided up into one of many small ensembles in order to gain invaluable chamber music experience. Students will also participate in electives that will serve as preparation for collegiate music degree programs. 

Instruction for the academy is provided by renowned guest conductors, CU faculty members, guest artists and graduate students in the CU College of Music.

*Note: The following information applies to band and orchestra students only. Please see information for piano students at the bottom of the page.

Dates: June 16-21, 2019

Exciting news – the Imig Music Building will be undergoing construction beginning January 2019!  We are looking forward to a partial reconstruction of our building with new facilities, additional spaces, and expanded capabilities.  As the construction project will last about a year and a half, the 2019 and 2020 Summer Music Academies (both High School and Middle School) will be impacted. 

We will begin our week in Williams Village, just to the south and east of main campus.  Our residence hall, commuter drop-offs and pick-ups, rehearsals, meals, and recreational activities will all be held in this complex.  The activities we will hold at the Imig Music Building on main campus will be: piano-specific rehearsals and meals, large ensemble rehearsals on Friday, and our performances (Chamber Concert on Thursday; and Piano, Band, and Strings Final Concerts on Friday).  We will provide transportation from Williams Village (“Will Vill”) to Imig for ALL instances except the Final Concert for band and strings.  On Friday afternoon, you will need to pick up your student from Will Vill, and return them to the Imig Music Building for the Final Concert at call time, in concert dress (please see schedule for exact times). 

As a result of construction, there will be a loss of street access along the south side of the Imig Music Building; and some classroom spaces still in use will be adjacent to construction areas.  Crews, faculty, and staff will all work together to minimize the impact on the College of Music both day-to-day and for special events, including the Summer Music Academies. 

Please note that the Summer Jazz Academy will not be impacted, and it will continue to be held in Macky Auditorium and Old Main in July.

We appreciate your understanding and flexibility during this exciting transition period!

View the tentative 2019 schedule here

Registration, Fees and Deadlines


To secure your spot in the High School Summer Music Academy, please follow the registration form link below and complete the online registration form by May 10, 2019. A non-refundable $150 deposit, which goes toward the full camp fees, is required with your registration.

Register here!

For assistance with the online registration form, please download this online registration how-to document.

All students will also need to email a recording of a two-minute excerpt of their choice that demonstrates their tone quality and technical ability. Please email this in .mp3 format to This will help us gauge the overall level of the large ensembles and place musicians for optional small chamber groups (see below). Note: this is not an audition for acceptance. Piano students should follow these guidelines for submitting their playing excerpt, and email their excerpt directly to

Optional: If you would like to participate in a small chamber group or perform as a soloist with piano accompaniment in addition to participation in the large ensemble, please fill out the chamber music portion of the online registration form. Small chamber groups and soloists with piano accompaniment will work with a CU professor or graduate student as a coach in preparation for chamber music and solo music performances. If you would like to do either, we will assemble the appropriate small groups with like-skilled students based on the submitted recording as detailed above.


  • $775 residential
    • Includes instruction, camp t-shirt, room and all meals.
  • $550 commuter
    • Includes instruction, camp t-shirt and all lunches.

Incidental fees

  • Lost Room Key fee (to be collected at the time of loss): $10-$50
  • Lost Meal Card fee (to be collected at the time of loss): $5-$15
  • Property Damage (where applicable): case-by-case determination

Parents are financially responsible for any and all damages caused by the student to the University of Colorado property including, but not limited to, CU College of Music facilities and CU dormitory facilities.


March 1: Optional scholarship application deadline. See Scholarship Opportunity below for more information regarding application requirements and a link to the application form. Awardees will be notified by April 1.

April 1: Scholarship award notification

May 10, 2019: Registration, deposit and recording deadline for residents and commuters for the High School Summer Music Academy. Please follow the link above to the online registration form. Registration forms are accepted for the High School camp until positions are filled or the deadline passes. If an instrument section is full, you will be put on a waitlist. We will contact you if a spot becomes available no later than June 4, 2019.

May 31: Payment-in-full deadline for residents and commuters for the High School Summer Music Academy. Payment may be completed through the registration portal linked above.

May 31: Cancellation deadline for full refund of camp fees excluding a non-refundable $150 deposit. See Refund Policy below for more information regarding refunds and cancellation.

June 4, 2019: Waitlist notification

Refund Policy

All refunds will be processed on the card used to make the payment through the registration portal. Prior to May 31, refund is in full excluding a non-refundable $150 deposit. No refunds will be issued for cancellations after May 31.

Enrollment and Proficiency

Due to instrumentation limits in the high school camp, enrollment is granted on a first-come, first-served basis reserved with a non-refundable deposit in the amount of $150. For the High School Summer Music Academy, enrollment, while open to everyone that meets eligibility requirements, is limited to 115 students. In the event enrollment is full, all subsequent registrants will be placed on a waiting list. If a spot comes open, we will notify you of the opening no later than June 4, 2019.

The High School Academy is open to graduates of grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. Enrollment is limited to the following instrumentation: 8 flutes, 8 clarinets, 2 bass clarinets, 4 oboes, 4 bassoons, 4 alto saxes, 1 tenor sax, 1 baritone sax, 6 French horns, 8 trumpets, 6 trombones, 2 euphoniums, 3 tubas, 6 percussion, 1 pianist, 24 violins, 10 violas, 8 cellos, and 6 basses (1 for band, 5 for orchestra). Seating auditions for placement in the large ensemble will take place during the first day of camp.

Performance and abilities are suggested to meet the following guidelines:

  • Proficiency of major scales: 2 octaves, in 16th notes, quarter-note = 112
  • Proficiency of harmonic minor scales: 2 octaves, in 8th notes, quarter-note = 120
  • Proficiency of chromatic scale: 2 octaves, in 8th notes, quarter-note = 80
  • Confidence in performing solo and chamber ensemble repertoire 

Special Opportunity

We would like to extend an invitation to any high school musicians who are current participants in Colorado All-State or the University of Colorado High School Honor Band for this academic year. If you are a member of either of these select groups, you will receive a $150 credit toward your registration fee. In order to redeem this credit, please use the discount code provided to you at the festival. If you register for the Academy before the Honor Band Festival, we will apply the $150 discount to your registration after the festival has ended.

Scholarship Opportunity

For the High School Summer Music Academy of 2019, we are excited to announce that we will be offering scholarship assistance to help select students of financial need attend the high school academy. In order to be considered for scholarship assistance, please fill out the form below and return the completed form along with a brief essay telling us about yourself, your need for financial assistance, and how you could benefit from attendance at the High School Summer Music Academy. Instead of mailing or emailing the completed form, you may complete the Google form below. The completed form and essay are due March 1, and awardees will be notified by April 1. Financial need will be taken into account when reviewing applications, and scholarships will be awarded as funds allow.

View the Scholarship Application form

Academy Instruction

Assembled for their talent, teaching ability, dedication, and enthusiasm for music, distinguished music professionals from across the country participate in the University of Colorado Summer Music Academies. They include world-renowned conductors, CU professors, middle school and high school teachers, master class and elective teachers, administrators and outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who serve as counselors and mentors. Together, their knowledge and experience support an extraordinary educational opportunity where students build confidence and develop good habits and attitudes that shape their future. 

Donald McKinney
High School Summer Music Academy Wind Ensemble Conductor

joel schutJoel Schut
High School Summer Music Academy Orchestral Ensemble Conductor​

Joel Schut is the interim Director of Orchestras at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam where he conducts the Crane Symphony Orchestra and teaches conducting. He previously worked with the Michigan State University and University of Colorado-Boulder Symphony Orchestras and led the nationally recognized Okemos High School Orchestras.

He is an active conductor for All-State, regional, and honor orchestras. His philosophy of teaching as a performing art has helped create, grow, and strengthen numerous school, community and professional programs. He served as Music Director of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, founding director of the Detroit Medical Orchestra, and organizer of the Michigan Teachers Orchestra amongst others. He has collaborated with a wide range of professional artists including Andrés Cárdenes and Ralph Votapek and has commissioned works for both string and full orchestra.

A passionate advocate for conductor-teacher training, he has presented at conferences, conducting symposiums, and university guest lecture series on a wide range of topics. He served on faculty at Michigan State University teaching stringed methods and has mentored student teachers and conducting students both nationally and internationally. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the American String Teacher editorial board and will serve as editor beginning in 2019.

His belief in promoting cultural diplomacy through music is evident in his work around the globe. He has taught, conducted, and performed with multiple engagements in Tunisia, Honduras, and as guest faculty at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. He facilitated a long running music centered host exchange connecting German and American young artists and been featured as artist faculty at the Myanmar Music Festival. He is a graduate of the YOA Orchestra of the Americas Global Leaders Fellowship Program and served as a program mentor connecting innovators in youth orchestra education throughout the Americas.

As a professional violinist, he has held positions with the Flint and Lansing Symphony Orchestras and toured extensively in China, Mexico, and Europe. He has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. He earned his DMA in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University and holds degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Colorado-Boulder as well as Violin Performance and Music Education from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance where he was awarded the Albert A. Stanley Medal, the school's highest honor.

Contact Us

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