The Associated Press reports that Yeh, from Brainerd, won a $2,000 scholarship in the preliminary competition Tuesday night.
Yeh's classic violin performance in the talent competition earned her the top honor in the category.
Yeh said she began playing violin as a child because her brother did -- and she wanted to be better than him. But these days, playing music is about so much more.
She said it's a "huge way for me to give back to other people. I love sharing with other people whenever I can."
Other preliminary winners included Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold, who took home a $1,000 scholarship after topping the swimsuit competition.
Wednesday night's preliminaries began with a solemn tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The pageant has one more round of preliminary competition Thursday.
Fifty-three contestants are vying for Miss America, one from each state plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Miss America will be named in a nationally-television competition Sunday night on ABC. The pageant will air in the Twin Cities area on KSTP-TV.
See a video of Yeh's classical violin performance below.