• SCPA Instrumental Music logo


    The Instrumental Music Department at SCPA offers talented students the opportunity to work in a wide variety of styles and ensembles while also focusing on solo work via supplemental one-on-one lessons. Students will study classical and contemporary music under the supervision of highly accomplished faculty as well as world-renowned visiting artists and local professional musicians. 


    Areas of Study:

    • Band
    • Harp
    • Jazz
    • Orchestra
    • Piano


    The SCPA Band program offers high level musical training for both high school and elementary students, working to develop holistic musicians who are successful artists and citizens. Students receive instruction in their specific instrument, but also focus on how the instruments work together to complement one another through a variety of smaller ensembles. 

    Students major in a variety of brass, percussion, and woodwind instruments. Instruction is provided by the faculty of the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and students participate in a number of honor bands, OMEA music competitions, and professional performance engagements. 


    The Harp program at the School for Creative and Performing Arts offers a hands-on experience for students. Included in the goals of the program are:

    • Developing skills related to the harp, such as: technique, repertoire, care for the instrument, history of the instrument, history of important harpists
    • Refining music skills, such as reading music and playing music alone and with others
    • Instilling Citizenship skills, including preparation for all aspects of presenting the craft of music to the public.
    • Building self-confidence, acquiring problem-solving skills, and gaining respect for themselves and the world around them.

    Each year, the students prepare music for school ensembles, a harp concert in collaboration with other departments in the school, and a recital for all the harp students in the Greater Cincinnati area. We also go into the recording studio to capture and save the best of the music we have created each academic year. The community also offers many playing opportunities for the more accomplished students.


    The SCPA Jazz Program is a marquee group of talented student artists committed to excellence through the study and preservation of the jazz genre.  Each student is placed in one of 2 performing jazz groups (repertory jazz group, large ensemble ) according to their individual strengths and needs.  In addition to daily jazz studies, students often work in groups to take on professional jobs in the Greater Cincinnati region.

    The heart of the SCPA Jazz program is its intense focus on jazz harmony, and language/vocabulary through improvisation. All jazz students are assessed daily in the mastery of necessary improvisatory concepts including ear training, transcription work, scales, be-bop language, ii V7 I vocabulary, pentatonic scale studies, 12 bar jazz blues form, 32 bar form, rhythm changes, and even compressed harmonic motion of “ Giant Steps” chord cycles.  SCPA and CCM Aum, Max Acree shares, “The strength of the SCPA Jazz Program lies in its realistic opportunities to work intensely with jazz theory and improvisation. It is not the typical high school program where students mostly learn parts with very limited lessons in improvising.”


    The mission of the Orchestral Program at SCPA is to provide the finest level of musical training available to both high school and elementary students, emphasizing the development of the whole musician. In addition to instruction in their major area, music students benefit from their participation in chamber ensembles, master classes and other orchestral performances. This program prepares its graduates to continue their musical studies in both major conservatories and university departments.

    Students major in violin, viola, cello, or string bass. Instrumental instruction is provided by the faculty of the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), and by members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


    The main goal of the piano program at the School for Creative and Performing Arts is to greatly improve the student’s piano playing ability. The program offers several classes for students of various levels. The most challenging class (Piano Honors) is geared toward students who are planning to compete in various piano competitions and considering applying to the most prestigious conservatories of music in the country.  To create the best possible environment, we strive to involve the student’s parents in the learning process. The piano department often organizes and participates in local charity and community outreach events.


    Students interested in attending SCPA as part of the Instrumental Music Department must pass an instrumental music audition. For more information on the audition process or how to sign up, please visit the Audition Process & Procedures page. 

    Instrumental Music Requirements

    • Prepare an Etude or Solo of your choice that demonstrates your musical ability. 
    • Bring two copies of your music for the music teachers to review
    • Percussionists will need to prepare both a Snare Drum and Xylophone/Marimba solo.  


    Proficiency assessments known as Boards are given each year in a student's artistic discipline. These assessments take various forms depending on the department, but are designed to test skill and knowledge progression in a student’s chosen arts field. Students who fail to pass their boards with a satisfactory rating will be placed on arts probation. Students who fail to pass 2 out of a series of 3 boards may be asked to leave SCPA, change or drop one of the artistic disciplines they are studying, or complete an arts intervention plan. For full policies and procedures, please see the Artistic Handbook on the Handbooks & Forms page.