Conservatory - Frequently Asked Questions

How can I apply?

Prospective students wishing to audition for the conservatory are required to submit an online application, letter of recommendation, and a $50 nonrefundable application fee payable through the application portal. We will begin accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year on March 1, 2023. Applications are due May 1st by 11:59 p.m. MDT and live auditions will take place in May. Immediately following the live audition, applicants will be given a Theory Diagnostic Exam (approximately 1-hour) proctored by our Music Theory Area Chair, Dr. Michael Chikinda.
Visit our Admissions page for more information and audition requirements.

What if I am not familiar with the concepts covered on the Theory Diagnostic Exam?

That's okay! The Theory Diagnostic Exam is designed to help our faculty place the student in the correct level of music theory. The exam covers basic music theory concepts outlined in the Music Theory Study Guide. We do NOT expect applicants to know everything covered on the exam. The results of an applicant's exam will NOT impact the final admissions decision. We're just trying to get a better understanding of which class might most benefit you upon admission into the Conservatory.


What is the Conservatory curriculum?

Class offerings for strings include weekly rehearsals with the Conservatory Orchestra, where students are exposed to a breadth of orchestral literature by Professor Eugene Watanabe, Professor Shenae Anderson, and other distinguished faculty and guest conductors. Woodwind and piano students likewise take literature and ensemble classes taught by our acclaimed woodwind and piano faculty, Dr. April Clayton and Dr. Oussetskaia-Watanabe. All Conservatory students progress through a comprehensive sequence of music theory courses directed by Dr. Michael Chikinda, as well as a curriculum of music history. All Conservatory students participate in our esteemed chamber music program under the direction of Dr. LeeAnn Morgan. The school offers other unique opportunities for its Conservatory students, including our community outreach program; the presentation of several major concerts each year, providing the privilege of working with guest conductors and acclaimed performance artists; and the opportunity to attend and perform in Gifted Music School’s Distinguished Masterclass Series featuring world-renowned artists and clinicians.

Young Girl playing piano in Salt Lake City


What can I expect to pay in tuition and is financial aid available?

The Conservatory's admissions process is need-blind, meaning that applicants' financial circumstances will never impact admissions decisions. Since the school's founding in 2009, the Conservatory has been a full-scholarship program of Gifted Music School. All students admitted to the Conservatory receive a merit-based, full-tuition scholarship, regardless of their financial background. For the 2021-22 school year, the annual value of this award is $10,585 per student.


What additional fees and costs should I anticipate?

While all classes, ensembles, and performance opportunities are covered by the merit scholarship awarded to all students annually, Conservatory families are responsible for the cost of private lessons, supplemental piano lessons (brass, string, and woodwind students only), concert uniforms, and a $150 annual registration fee.
Note: Registration fee waivers and need-based scholarships are available to students experiencing financial hardship.

Do I need to study private lessons with GMS faculty?

Yes, all students in the Conservatory must enroll in private lessons with a GMS faculty member. 

Where do students complete their school coursework?

The Conservatory at Gifted Music School is a pre-collegiate after-school program focused on training and preparing exceptional young musicians for post-secondary study and careers in music. Conservatory students typically receive between 8 and 12 hours of weekly music instruction outside of their regular state-mandated academic education requirements (acquired from external schools). Although the Conservatory does not grant high school degrees or offer regular academic instruction, Gifted Music School has partnerships with the Guadalupe School (K-6), Mountain View Elementary (K-5), and City Academy (7-12) which allow students to prioritize their musical studies.


Can I receive high school credit?

Students enrolled at City Academy—a tuition-free charter school in Salt Lake City for grades 7-12—can now receive high school credit for classes taken in the Conservatory. Additionally, Gifted Music School's partnership enables City Academy students to receive private lessons with Gifted Music School faculty at NO COST TO STUDENTS. Students can also schedule lessons during their regular school day.
Visit City Academy's website or call (801) 596-8489 to learn more.


Can I apply to more than one program?

If you wish to be considered for admission for more than one program area (e.g. piano and violin), you must submit the required application and pay the fee for both programs. You will only be considered for admission to the program(s) you submit applications and audition for.


What are Conservatory alumni doing now?

Our program's resounding success can be seen in our graduates' acceptances to many of the top conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, the Colburn School, Rice University, Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory, the New England Conservatory, and more.


Still have questions?

The Conservatory Admissions Staff are happy to answer any other questions you might have! Please email us at