Columbia College Chicago

Pre-Collegiate Music Program

The Sherwood Pre-Collegiate Music Program provides accelerated training for talented young musicians. This comprehensive honors program allows middle and high school students an opportunity to acquire the skills needed to gain acceptance into major universities and conservatories across the country. Our program accommodates a wide range of skill levels, allowing students to progress at their own pace, while providing them with a structured path towards improvement. We welcome students training in either classical or jazz mediums. 


Our course offerings are built around a set of core program components:

The Pre-Collegiate Program is open to students ages 12 – 18 and includes the following instruments: piano, percussion, violin, viola, cello, bass, harp, guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, voice, and composition. 

Admission to the Pre-Collegiate Music Program is determined by audition. For more information on enrolling in the Pre-Collegiate Music program, please visit our 'How to Register for Pre-Collegiate' page, or click the first link in the menu on the right. 

Program Weekly Components 

Individual Lesson 
Students enrolled in the Pre-Collegiate Music Program are required to register and pay for a 60 minute lesson through Sherwood once per week on their primary  instrument in order to receive the program's classes tuition free. Students may focus on classical or jazz study. Students who would prefer to study with an instructor outside of Sherwood may continue to do so for an additional fee.

Musicianship classes are a key component of the Pre-Collegiate Music Program. Class placement is based upon a musicianship placement exam, taken at audition time.

Pre-Collegiate students are placed into ensembles that are grouped by the ability demonstrated during their entrance audition. Ensembles include:

Chamber Ensemble
Jazz Combo
Percussion Ensemble

Students will be assigned electives coursework by the Pre-Collegiate Program Manager. Electives are meant to enrich and deepen the student's musical knowledge. Some elective courses will broaden their exposure beyond their usual area of study. Electives include the following:

Piano Performance Class
String Performance Class
Wind Performance Class
Jazz Improvisation

Musicianship Classes

Sherwood's musicianship classes are designed to create a fully integrated musician, and are comprised of ear training/sight-singing, music theory, analysis, music history, class performance/improvisation and experience with various musical genres.

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sheet music

Performance Classes

In a weekly master class setting, students will perform and receive constructive guidance from the instructor as well as from their peers. Sherwood offers performance classes for both piano and string students.

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Performance Class

Repertoire Classes

Repertoire Class offers students the opportunity to explore the full range of their instrument's major works. Multimedia presentations followed by in-depth discussion and research help students develop a deeper understanding of their instrument's repertoire. Sherwood offers repertoire classes for piano, string and wind students.

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Jazz Studies Class

This course will cover the basics of jazz history, theory, repertoire, and improvisation. A performance-based class, students will develop knowledge of the jazz tradition through learning, playing, and discussing essential jazz repertoire in a hands-on, collaborative environment.

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Chamber Ensembles

Participation in a Chamber Ensemble provides students the opportunity to collaborate and perform with other like-minded young musicians in small groups. Mixed-instrument trios, quartets and quintets will be formed based on age, level and instrumentation. Repertoire from Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras will be covered.

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Jazz Combos

Jazz Combo is an excellent opportunity for those interested in studying this great American art form. Mixed-instrument trios, quartets and quintets will be formed based on age, level and instrumentation. Repertoire covered will be primarily from the Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool, and Modal eras.

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jazz combo

Percussion Ensemble

Percussion ensemble is an essential part of a percussionist's education. Students will discover new instruments, repertoire, techniques, and styles as well as develop sight-reading, performance, and ensemble skills. Repertoire will cover selections from classical, jazz, Latin, funk, and rock idioms.

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