High School FAQs
SPECIAL MUSIC SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL
Phone: 212 501 3395
What is the mission of Special Music School High School?
The school, with a music curriculum that emphasizes the development of the student as a musician for the 21st century, is dedicated to providing talented young musicians the opportunity to pursue serious, pre-professional music studies along with a rigorous academic curriculum. View the curriculum: academics, music and graduation requirements.
Why haven’t I heard of this high school before?
Special Music School High School is a new high school and will open in time for current New York City 8th grade students (2012-13) to enter as its first class of 9th graders in fall 2013.
Will you have any Information Sessions?
Yes, we have three Information Sessions scheduled: October 15, November 5 and November 8. They will all be held on the second floor of Kaufman Center, 129 West 67th Street, at 6:30 pm.
Where is the school?
The school will be located in the Martin Luther King Educational Complex at 122 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan—in the Lincoln Center neighborhood.
How large will the high school be?
The high school will admit 50 students per grade, beginning with ninth grade, in the 2013-14 school year; it will reach its full capacity of 200 students in the 2016-2017 school year.
Who is eligible to apply?
Special Music School High School accepts applications from any current 8th grade student who is, or will be, living in one of the five boroughs of New York City in September 2013.
Do I need to know how to read music?
Yes, you must be able to read basic rhythmic and pitch notation.
How do I apply?
You must submit a Special Music School High School application directly to our admissions office by November 15, 2012 in addition to listing SMSHS, code number A85A, on the DOE high school form. The DOE form, which lists all your high school choices, is submitted to your middle school’s guidance counselor.
Where can I get an application?
You can download an application from here, from Kaufman Center’s front desk (129 West 67th St in Manhattan), or request that one be mailed to you by calling 212 501 3395.
Does an applicant need to have studied music for many years?
No, the school is designed to educate and nurture both highly accomplished high-school aged musicians and those who have only recently discovered their passion for music.
Do I need to have a classical music background?
No, anyone with a strong love of music, in any style, is encouraged to apply.
What are the admissions criteria?
Acceptance to Special Music School High School is based on your application, audition(s) and a review of your academic record.
How would you describe the ideal Special Music School High School student?
Any instrumentalist, vocalist and/or composer, with some musical background, who is passionate about music, who wants to be musically and academically challenged and who wants to make/study music on a daily basis.
How many audition rounds will there be?
There will be two rounds of auditions. Anyone interested in the school is encouraged to apply and schedule their round 1 audition according to the instructions in the application support packet. The round 2 audition is based on the results of round 1 and is by invitation only.
How do I schedule a round 1 audition?
Download an application or pick up an application at Kaufman Center, 129 West 67th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.. Instructions for scheduling your audition are included in the application support packet.
Do I have to audition in person for round 1?
Round 1 auditions may be done in person or via a YouTube video. Instructions for auditioning via YouTube in round 1 can be found in each application support packet.
What do composers do in round 1?
Round 1 for composers consists of submitting an application and all the supporting musical material as specified in the application support packet. There are no live auditions for composers in round 1.
What are you looking for in round 1 auditions?
We are looking to determine your basic instrumental, vocal, and/or composing abilities.
Do I have to audition in person for round 2?
Yes, everyone, including composers, must audition in person for round 2.
What will round 2 consist of?
All applicants, regardless of their concentration, will take a music theory test and will participate in a mini improvisation workshop. In addition: Vocalists will perform different repertoire from round 1, sight sing and may be asked to sing melodic patterns throughout their range. Instrumentalists will perform different repertoire from round 1, will play a scale, and sight read. Composers will meet with members of the audition panel and discuss their music, ideas and concepts about composing and their compositional process.
What are you looking for in round 2 auditions?
In addition to hearing different music than what is presented in round 1, we are looking for collaborative skills and openness to new musical ideas.
What instruments are acceptable for an audition?
You may audition on any standard classical or jazz instrument.
Will you provide an instrument for the audition?
We will provide a piano, electric amp and drums—and a vibraphone (on request). All other instrumentalists, including harpists, must bring their own instrument.
Will there be an accompanist?
Yes, we will provide an accompanist. You must bring the music for the accompanist.
May I audition for more than one concentration or for more than one instrument?
Yes, you may audition for one, two or three concentrations and/or on more than one instrument. If you are auditioning for more than one concentration (i.e. guitar and composition or voice, composition and bassoon), you must fill out separate applications for each concentration. If you are auditioning on two instruments (i.e. oboe and piano), fill out one instrumental application; please make note of your second instrument in the appropriate place on the application.
What is Kaufman Music Center?
A national leader in the field of music education and one of New York City's most vibrant cultural organizations, Kaufman Music Center combines the finest in music education for all ages with world-class performance in the acoustically superior Merkin Concert Hall. Founded in 1952 as a community school for pre-conservatory music training, today's Kaufman Center is home to Merkin Concert Hall; Lucy Moses School, New York's largest community arts school; and Special Music School, New York's only K-12 public school for musically gifted children.