Curtis does not have a program specifically for young children. Occasionally, advanced students under normal college age (i.e. seventeen or younger) participate in a precollege course of study as a result of their high level of performance in the admission audition.
These students study their instrument and participate in ensembles with the same teachers as students in the college curriculum. They complete their precollege academic education by attending local public or private schools. (U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents may also complete this requirement through participation in a home-school environment sanctioned by Curtis and approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.)
First-year students in the Bachelor of Music program usually carry at least eighteen credits (equivalent to semester hours). These include the major lesson, large and small ensembles, Musical Studies courses, and Liberal Arts classes. A heavy load would be twenty credits or more.
First-year students in the Diploma program usually carry at least sixteen credits in the first year. The minimum load for full-time enrollment status at the undergraduate level is twelve credits.
Younger students of precollege age attend local middle schools or high schools and carry a load at Curtis of eight to ten credits including their major lesson, some ensembles, and Musical Studies courses.
Students are on call seven days a week because of the flexible schedules of major performance teachers, many of whom are active professional musicians. Many ensemble rehearsals and performances are scheduled on weekends. Please see The Curtis Curriculum for full details on credits, the transfer of credits from other institutions, and grading procedures.
Frequent performance opportunities are a distinctive feature of the Curtis education. Typically a student performs in solo, duo and small ensemble performances on the Student Recital Series at least twice a year and often more, based on discussions with the major teacher.
Students who play in the Curtis Symphony Orchestra give three performances each year in Verizon Hall, with additional repeat performances in other venues. The Curtis Opera Theatre presents between three to five operas each year.
There are annual auditions to select the orchestra principals for the Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello sections. Orchestra principal auditions are open to all students who major in those instruments and who have studied at Curtis for at least one year.
The principals in all other sections are selected based on a combination of seniority and assignment by the major teachers coordinated by the orchestra manager. There are occasional special auditions for prominent solo parts at the discretion of the major teacher.
The Office of Student Services coordinates activities and events for students, and provides oversight and guidance to Student Council-sponsored activities.
Some of these include:
Outings and field trips
Health and wellness workshops
Blog “The desperate musician”—events and resources in the Philadelphia region
There are many opportunities for parents to visit Curtis! Parents are encouraged to attend student recitals, orchestra concerts, operas, and special concerts, and both complimentary and discounted tickets are available.
The Parents Committee also coordinates occasional social gatherings around student performances. Each fall parents are invited to Family Weekend.
See Visiting Curtis for basic travel information.