Musicians around the world know the name Brevard. On the 180-acre campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, talented artists come together each summer to perform alongside the most celebrated names in music. To learn how you can be an artist at the Brevard Summer Institute & Festival, here are some frequently asked questions answered right from the source, with Director of Admissions & Student Services, Beth Trower.
Who is eligible to attend the Brevard Summer Institute and Festival? (instruments, divisions, performance ability)
The Brevard Music Center has summer programs for ages 14-29. Our core is orchestral training, with dedicated faculty for each orchestral instrument. We also have specialized programs for Piano, Collaborative Piano, Jazz, Composition, Opera, and High School Voice.
For Summer 2021, of course, things look different. Due to housing restrictions that limit our capacity to less than 25% of a usual season’s enrollment, BMC will run only four on-campus programs this summer (for ages 18-29) — College Orchestral Institute, College Opera Institute, and college-division Jazz and Saxophone programs. Piano, Composition, and the Guitar Institute will be offered as robust virtual programs for ages 12-35.
How much does the program cost?
Costs vary by program, but here’s a quick overview!
Summer 2021 In-Person Programs
- 5+ week College Orchestral Institute - $5000
- 2-week college-division Jazz Institute - $1500
- 3-week college-division Saxophone Institute - $3150
Summer 2021 Virtual Programs
- 2-week Piano Institute - $950
- 2-week Classical Guitar Institute - $950
- 4-week Composition Institute - $2150
This year’s virtual programs will be held entirely online while uniquely connecting to performances and events by the on-campus College Orchestral Institute!
Are there scholarships available?
Absolutely! For our in-person programs, Brevard offers scholarship support according to merit and to need, so the amount varies by program and from student to student. Brevard regularly provides scholarship support to more than 70% of its students. The types of financial aid include merit-based, need-based, the BMC Opportunity Scholarship, and special partnerships with youth orchestras and other organizations.
Merit-based scholarships are based on the audition. Need-based scholarships are based on the financial aid portion of the application and given as work study awards. The BMC Opportunity Scholarship is open to students of African-American and Latinx descent, and is awarded in conjunction with merit and work study scholarships. Students may apply for the scholarship in the Financial Aid section of the online application at my.brevardmusic.org.
What kind of rep do I need to prepare for my audition?
To audition for the Virtual Piano Institute, applicants should perform two contrasting solo works or movements from different style periods. For the in-person College Orchestral Institute (ages 18-29), most applicants should prepare a solo and their standard orchestral excerpts of their choice. Audition requirements may vary by instrument, and other programs like Composition and Opera have more specific requirements.
How can I make my application stand out?
I review hundreds of applications every year, so I’m happy to share some tips!
- Be specific in the essay questions. A lot of people have similar experiences like taking lessons or playing in a youth orchestra, so what makes your musical journey different?
- Sometimes, less is more. If you list every accomplishment in great detail, it’s hard to tell what is most meaningful or important.
- Workshop your audition videos. I suggest having all of your music prepared about a month in advance and recording an audition. Show the video to your teacher and/or a couple of trusted friends, then pick one or two key things to polish before re-recording. Note: don’t try to fix everything! This is primarily a way to test your comfort with the material and add a little bit of shine to your performance.
- Aim for the best possible recording quality. Does your drumset sit in an echo-filled alcove, or do you normally practice the violin in your bathroom? Those might not be the best spot for recording. Although our faculty don’t judge applicants on the recording quality itself, better audio makes it easier to hear tone, dynamics, color, and musicality.
Will I be able to attend in person or will it be online due to COVID-19?
Brevard Music Center is preparing for an in-person summer with college division programs only, and we have restructured many of our programs to help make that possible. Roughly 25% the number of students as usual will be on campus at any given time, allowing for one person per dorm room. We can also take advantage of the numerous outdoor and open-air spaces throughout our 180-acre campus.
Our three online programs will connect to those in-person programs, allowing for a truly unique virtual experience.
Summer 2021 In-Person Programs
- 5+ week College Orchestral Institute
- 2-week college-division Jazz Institute
- 3-week college-division Saxophone Institute
Summer 2021 Virtual Programs
- 2-week Piano Institute
- 2-week Classical Guitar Institute
- 4-week Composition Institute
What kind of performance opportunities are available? Do I get to watch professional concerts as well?
You won’t leave Brevard feeling like you didn’t have enough performance opportunities! In addition to our orchestra, chamber music, and opera performances, there are numerous chances to perform in student recitals, masterclasses, studio classes, and more. BMC students also have the opportunity to attend the other on-campus concerts and events that occur each summer.
Students enrolled in our 2021 online programs will have performance opportunities including virtual studio classes, masterclasses, lessons, and recitals. Composers will write pieces and virtually attend our on-campus rehearsals and performances of their works.
What makes Brevard different from other summer programs?
Honestly, there are tons of summer music programs you could attend. I’ve attended several myself! The hallmark of BMC, though, is our sense of community. Everyone co-exists on campus together, from students and teaching assistants to faculty and guest artists. We encourage communication and collaboration, allowing everyone to learn from each other. It truly is a transformative experience, and it’s worth seeing if Brevard is the right fit for you!
When do I need to apply by?
Most 2021 program applications are due March 31 with rolling admissions after April 1. Applications for our Virtual Composition Institute are due April 15.
Thinking about Summer 2022? Sign up for our new Student Newsletter to hear about institute updates, new programs, online events, giveaways, and more!
Be inspired. Be here. Be a part of the 2021 Brevard Summer Institute & Festival!
2021 Virtual Programs: Ages 12-35
In-Person College & Post-College Division: Ages 18-29