Preparatory Division Curriculum

Students in the Preparatory Division participate in a well-rounded program of music study that includes private lessons of age-appropriate length in Piano, Voice, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Percussion, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, or Composition; matched with Musicianship Class, in which elements of music theory and ear training are taught with an emphasis on Composition.  Students also have multiple recital performance opportunities each semester, which are open to family and friends.

The Preparatory Division provides its students with many advantages, including an expert and nurturing faculty, as well as access to concerts and master classes presented by the Conservatory free of charge.         APPLY NOW


Music and Movement Class

Ages 2-3 years and Ages 4-6 years
Music and Movement classes are based on the pedagogical theories of Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze. Students explore musical elements through movement, folk songs, games, and other hands-on activities.

Some of the skills emphasized in Music and Movement include:
  • Matching pitch with the voice
  • Keeping a steady beat
  • Reading and understanding rhythmic notation
  • Sight-singing from the staff
  • Improvising
  • Composing
We encourage students to take this class before going onto the Musicianship Class.


Chorus is for all children to sing and make music together!  No singing experience is necessary and students will not be required to sing solo.  Students explore the fundamentals of singing including proper posture, breathing techniques, intonation, and phrasing.  Repertoire will include simple choral pieces in unison and with harmony. 

The joy of singing is what this class is all about!

Rhythm Training and Drumming Class

JUNIOR Rhythm Training and Drumming
This class incorporates notated rhythms as well as the musical elements of syncopation, call-and-response, mixture of duple and triplet rhythms, and more. Students will use a combination of body percussion (clapping, stomping, etc.), counting, and playing simple percussion instruments to construct rhythmically driven pieces of music.

SENIOR Rhythm Training and Drumming
This class focuses on expanding students’ proficiency in reading, performing, and listening to music that contains syncopation, odd meter time signatures, polyrhythm, and polymeter. Students will use a combination of clapping, counting, composing, and performing on their own instruments to demonstrate mastery over the concepts covered during the course.

Private Lessons

We offer private lessons to students of all levels and ages. The one-to-one instruction by our expert faculty is one of the most important components of our program. Private lessons are matched with Musicianship Class, and must be taken together.  Lessons are currently offered for Piano, Voice, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Percussion, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, and Composition.

Vocal Ensemble

In this class we will work on vocal performance topics while learning and performing small ensembles (mainly duets and trios) from classical and musical theatre repertoire. This class is specially targeted to voice students, since it will deal with the challenges and creative opportunities that arise while singing in harmony and performing along other singers.

Chamber Music Class

Students are grouped according to age and level and are coached by the faculty. Students learn the skills of ensemble performance and explore the roles of other instruments. This class is for intermediate to advanced students. Students must receive permission from the faculty in order to enroll.

Composition Class

Prerequisites: Ability to read and write musical notation fluently.
Description: This class will provide students with an opportunity to write music for themselves and others to play, to improvise on and think creatively with their instruments, and to apply concepts and skills from their private lessons and Musicianship class.

Private Composition Lessons

Prerequisites: Ability to read and write musical notation fluently. (For more advanced students.)
Description: Students enrolled in private composition lessons may work on whatever kinds of projects are of most interest to them.

Jazz/Improvisation Ensemble

The ensemble will focus on the fundamentals of jazz playing and improvisation. 
All instruments are welcome but enrollment for piano and percussion is very limited.  
Jazz experience is not required but some playing experience is required.

Musicianship Class

In this class, students learn the fundamentals of music theory (clefs, intervals, scales, chords, etc.) and develop aural skills (singing with solfege, ear training, etc.) through composing and performing.

Students write a series of short pieces for both themselves and their classmates to play/sing, creatively applying new concepts, collaborating with their peers, and expressing themselves musically. A semester-end composition recital showcases each student's work.

This class is offered in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  Placement is determined by the musicianship faculty.    

Chinese Language Class

This introductory Chinese class provides an understanding of the basic principles of the Chinese language, including Pinyin (the alphabetic system), the use of the four tones, simple phrases, and grammar structures. Writing of simple characters will also introduced. This course serves to spread the Chinese culture and to help children discover their language learning talents. Complementary Chinese singing lessons are included to integrate this course as a part of the Bard Prep program. Students will have the opportunity to perform Chinese songs in the recitals.

Recital Opportunities

Students have two formal recitals (mid-term and final) per semester at Olin Hall or the Performance Space at the László Z. Bitó '60 Conservatory Building. 

In addition to the formal recitals, students will have several other performance opportunities per semester.  Community outreach performances at various locations will take place throughout the semester.