High School Performing Arts Honors Certificate

Any student over the age of 16 and in their final year of High School who has demonstrated a significant level of understanding, progress, and achievement in the performing arts may be eligible for the High School Performing Arts Honors Certificate.

Note: younger students or students seeking a one year challenge, should visit the page for our Annual Performing Arts Recognition Award.

The High School Performing Arts Honors Certificate is not achieved easily and requires long-term study in the major area of performance (Voice, Instrumental, Dance, or Theatre), a great deal of experience in solo and ensemble experience in a variety of formal, informal, workshop, and production settings, study in a secondary area (Voice, Instrumental, Dance, Theatre, or a related area), and the completion of a Final Project consisting of a Solo Recital or preapproved, serious project in another area of the arts (history, composition, conducting, play writing, directing, etc).

This certificate was designed after watching and helping numerous High School students move on into competitive programs, college programs, and attain high levels of success at the High School level. I asked: What experiences defined their success? What knowledge did they gain? How did early experiences help sharpen their motivation, ability, and attitude in later years? This certificate is the result of that reflection and represents around 300-500 hours of work on the part of the student.

Honors Certificate Requirements:

  • Lessons (primary area – Voice, Instrumental, Acting, or Dance): a minimum of 30 months of weekly private instruction at the 1 hour/week (High School) level in the student’s main area of study (or equivalent). At least 6 months must be completed in the final year.
  • Lessons (secondary area – Voice, Acting, Instrumental, Dance, or a related field, such as Technical Theatre, Playwriting, Stage Directing, Composition): a minimum of 15 months of weekly private instruction (or equivalent) in a secondary area. Any experience completed after entering 9th Grade counts.
  • Solo Performance Experience: a minimum of 4 solo performances in the final year & 15 solo performances overall (or equivalent) since entering High School. Performances should include a mix of experiences, such as recitals, concerts, workshops, masterclasses, and solos as a part of an ensemble.
  • Solo Repertoire: an appropriate body of solo repertoire befitting an advanced level of study at the High School level should have been mastered, learned, and/or significantly studied over the course of 4 years. Appropriate industry standard indicators for the student’s primary and/or secondary area of study may be consulted (for example, the Royal College of Music Vocal Syllabus for vocalists; another example – consider freshmen/sophomore college requirements, has the student prepared at a level that will prepare them to be competitive compared to their peers?).
  • Competition Experience: students must have competed in 2-3 competitions/auditions per year (or equivalent) in their primary and/or secondary area during their time in High School, with at least two competitive experiences being against other performers outside of their normal studio/school experience.
  • Ensemble/Theatrical Experience: a minimum of 2 ensemble/theatrical performances in the final year & 10 overall (or equivalent). Separate events count, but separate performances in a single event count as one performance. A separate event, but same performance may be used once (for instance, a fall theatrical performance that competes at One Act Play the spring, or a group dance performance that is performed at separate competitions, but is the same dance). The spirit of this element is that there is both a quantity of performances AND a quantity of artistic experiences.
  • Demonstrated College or Professional Readiness Study: the student’s major area teacher or mentor must show that the student has demonstrated the ability to enter the first year of college study successfully or is prepared to begin auditioning in their field outside of academia – either way, the student should be a competitive contender in their field upon receiving this certificate. An assessment should occur by the beginning of the final year of study to determine key, core competencies that would benefit from additional study and clear goals be set by the teacher for the student to achieve competency in these areas over a 3 month period.
  • Comprehensive Audition Portfolio: students must present an audition and interview with a panel of professionals consisting of the private lessons instructor and at least one other arts professional (this may be completed online or in person). It is recommended that this interview occur at the beginning of the senior year, prior to college and the fall audition season. Recommendations focusing on the audition process, itself, and on the portfolio will be made at this session.
  • Minor Project: a pre-approved study/project in an area complimenting the primary area of study (this may be completed in the Junior year)
  • Major Capstone Project: solo performance recital or pre-approved, serious project in another area of the arts (history, composition, conducting, playwriting, directing, etc). Completed in the Senior Year and following the Demonstrated College or Professional Readiness Study.
  • Time Requirement: all requirements must be completed within six months of graduation from High School or of turning 18, if no longer attending High School.
  • Final Submission: the student will submit a mentor’s statement that all requirements for the certificate have been met, a document detailing the completion of all requirements, a copy of their performance/audition resume, a repertoire list (including performed, learned, and studied pieces and roles), a copy of the Major Capstone Project, a representative recording of their major area of study (if not included in the Capstone Project), and a 2-3 page essay discussing their journey through the process.
  • Final Review Board: a final review board of 2-3 industry experts that do not include the student’s teachers/mentors will assess the student’s submitted materials, may call the student’s primary teacher/mentor to discuss character, artistry, materials, etc. or ask the student for additional materials or examples of performances, if applicable. Upon successful review by the board, the student will be presented with their certificate.

Note: the studio will work with online/rural/international students and students with learning challenges or who came to this later in their academic career to determine equivalencies as needed and that fit your unique circumstances.