Bringing the Arts to All

Through Programs for Children, Teenagers and Adults

Photography provided by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music


For 150 years, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) has launched the careers of countless performing and media artists. The world-class training isn’t only available to the next generation of virtuosos, though. CCM provides an array of programs for arts enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

After-school programs, private lessons, classes and summer programs are offered through CCM’s Preparatory and Community Engagement Department. On-campus programs take advantage of CCM’s state-of-the-art facilities, while off-campus programs at local schools, churches and other community centers make arts experiences more accessible.

“We are a comprehensive performing arts program for any age, any level and any discipline,” says John Martin, assistant dean of CCM Prep. “We have programs for advanced high school students who are training for careers in theatre, dance and music. We also offer beginning through advanced lessons and programs for anyone who wishes to participate in the performing arts.”

CCM Prep attracts advanced students from around the world, but many of its programs are filled with local students who simply want to learn how to play an instrument, dance or act. For example, the New Horizons Orchestra, which is open to people over age 50, includes many with no musical experience.

“Our programs aren’t only for the stars of tomorrow,” Martin says. “They also are open to kids who are just looking for experiential arts participation, something fun and creative to do over the summer, or to adults who want to learn something new or pick up an instrument they once played in high school.”

A number of notable performers began their arts training in the halls of CCM Prep, including Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Sarah Jessica Parker, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and ballet dancer Suzanne Farrell, Grammy Award-nominated composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner of the National and violinist Tessa Lark, winner of the Naumburg Competition.

Some people use the opportunities to step outside their field of expertise. Paul Alexander, the Cincinnati Bengals assistant head coach, takes piano lessons and often hosts recitals for the adult students at his home. He recently hosted a fundraiser to raise scholarship money for young CCM Prep musicians.

Supporting and expanding the arts community is one of CCM Prep’s main goals. After all, the college could not continue to churn out the stars of tomorrow if there are no capable pre-college students today. To further this mission, CCM Prep is embedded throughout the community, offering arts education in collaboration with local organizations.

“We actively pursue developing opportunities with partners in the community,” Martin says. “We’ve partnered with the Cincinnati Public Schools to provide private and group lessons to students at the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). CCM Prep also works with the City Gospel Mission to offer after-school programs as part of their Whiz Kids tutoring initiative.” 

CCM is seeing the benefits of such partnerships, as it now counts 15 graduates of SCPA among its collegiate student population.

The programs run throughout the academic school year, with open student registration in July and August. But CCM Prep accepts registration anytime as long as students can be placed appropriately. 

Additionally, CCM Prep offers about 30 summer programs for children, teenagers and adults in music, dance and theatre. The main registration period for the summer offerings is in April.

“Visit CCM Prep if you want your student to learn a new creative skill in music, theatre arts or dance, or if you’re interested in taking lessons,” Martin says. “You can attend our performances or take the stage yourself. Our doors are open to all arts enthusiasts.” 


For more information about CCM Prep, visit