Curriculum & Class Overview

Through placement auditions, each student is provided a customized schedule resulting in 3 – 7 hours of weekly commitment:


  • Music Theory
  • Instrumental or Vocal Technique Classes
  • Large Ensembles
  • Live from Gottlieb—Weekly performances by world-class professional artists and Merit’s renowned faculty
  • Electives


  • Junior Band
  • Symphonic Band
  • Wind Symphony
  • String Orchestra
  • Merit Philharmonic
  • Concert Choir
  • Conservatory Choir
  • Merit Opera & Musical Theatre Ensemble
  • Merit Vocal Jazz Ensemble
  • Merit Jazz Ensemble
  • Concert Jazz Ensemble
  • Junior Jazz Ensemble


  • Suzuki-Alegre Strings
  • Chamber Music
  • Composers Forum
  • Guitar Ensemble
  • Horn Ensemble
  • Jazz History and Listening
  • Junior Choir
  • Jazz Ensembles
  • Merit Brass Ensemble
  • Merit Clarinet Ensemble
  • Merit Trombone Choir
  • Music History
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Piano as a Second Instrument
  • Trumpet Ensemble


Non-Jazz Studies Majors at the Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony levels who would like to participate in a jazz ensemble as an elective will have the opportunity to complete a seating audition in the fall and will be placed based on instrumentation requirements and availability for Concert Jazz Ensemble and Merit Jazz Ensemble. Participation is contingent upon meeting all other core scheduling requirements, including theory classes, instrument technique classes and Live from Gottlieb, as well as the ensemble requirements for each student’s major division.

Non-Jazz Studies Majors at the Junior Band level that would like to participate in a jazz ensemble as an elective are encouraged to register for the Junior Jazz Ensemble with no audition required.


Entrance to the competitive chamber music program is by audition. Learn teamwork and share musical ideas with your peers as you participate in weekly rehearsals and perform throughout the year at Merit concerts, schools and community centers, in chamber music competitions, and on television and radio programs.


In the Composers Forum elective, students study with renowned composition faculty and guest composers, and twice annually hear their compositions performed by professional musicians.