Skip to main content

CMPI is a highly-intensive musical training program with a narrow focus: preparing students from underrepresented backgrounds to successfully audition into top music schools as music performance majors. Because our mission is specific and focused, it is important to us that prospective students and their parents have a clear picture of what being a CMPI fellow entails before they make the commitment to join the program. For that reason, our application process is an intensive, multi-step process, the most unique step of which is the home visit, which takes place between an applicant’s pre-screening and final auditions.

What is the home visit? Why do we do it? Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Home Visit?

In short, the home visit is exactly what it sounds like: an appointment during which CMPI staff visits each prospective student and family at their home. Typically, a home visit lasts about an hour, and is an opportunity for the prospective student and all members of their household to hear – in detail – everything that being a CMPI fellow entails. We do this in an intimate, individualized session in the environment in which the applicant and their family feels most comfortable to encourage the prospective student and their family members to ask any questions that may be on their minds, including questions they might not have felt comfortable raising during the mandatory information session (which all applicants must attend prior to the pre-screening audition).

We want all members of the prospective students’ household to attend the home visit, because we feel as though it is important for everyone involved to understand the journey their child will be embarking upon as an aspiring classical musician. Younger siblings should understand why they may, from time to time, need to accompany their CMPI siblings to performances or lessons. Raising a musician is a team sport, and there are sacrifices that every member of the team must make in order to open up the doors of possibility for their young musician.

We also use the home visit as an opportunity to begin to get to know the student and their family, and to give them an opportunity to begin building relationships with the CMPI staff. CMPI is a highly individualized program, and we like to hit the ground running from the moment a student joins our program. Having some of these relationships already underway and some trust already established allows us to work more quickly and efficiently when the student officially joins the program.

The home visit gives CMPI information about the student and their support system that we wouldn’t know just from reading their application, and this information allows us to use the months in between the final audition and the start of the new CMPI school year to begin formulating a support plan for the student. When our new class of fellows officially joins the program each September, we have the benefit of already knowing about their musical and extra-musical goals. For example, we may learn from the home visit that a student will be in need of a new private teacher because their current private teacher will be leaving the Chicago area. Having that information before the student officially joins the program allows us extra time to reach out to prospective teachers who would be a good match for that student and begin to make arrangements for the student to take trial lessons in the fall.

What do Students and Families Need to Know Before Their Home Visit?

The CMPI home visit is not an interview, but we do ask the student and their caregivers questions that will help us get to know them, their motivations, and their concerns. There is nothing in particular that families need to prepare before their home visit, other than to think about what questions they may have about CMPI or about the journey of a classical musician.

We hope this article gives you a little more insight into this unique aspect of the CMPI application process.


CMPI stock photo

Would you like to make a gift to support CMPI?

Donate today