Program & Instruction

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The Program

Our program includes a chamber orchestra and a jazz band; both are full-credit, academic courses that meet four times each week. Throughout the year, students learn level-appropriate pieces from every genre of ensemble music. Chamber Orchestra selections range from Corelli and Telemann to Led Zeppelin and salsa, while Jazz Band members perform traditional jazz, brass band music, R & B, funk, bop, and rock and roll.

Both groups perform at Taft and in the greater community approximately 15 times each year. In addition, some students perform in orchestra pits for musicals on campus and in theaters around the state. Each year, during Spring Break in March, the groups participate in a cultural exchange and performance series. This culminating experience has taken Taft musicians to destinations that include Ceske Budejovice, Prague, Memphis, New Orleans, Portugal, Vienna, and Budapest.

“A great advantage of Taft’s location is the proximity of so many regional theaters. Our musicians have the opportunity to play in orchestra pits, not only for Taft’s own expansive theater program, but for large-scale productions around the state, as well.”—TJ Thompson, Instrumental Music Teacher


Our instruction combines elements of movable do solfege. Suzuki, Wolfhard, and Cevcik with strings, and Rubank, Hill, Taffenel and Standards for Excellence for winds.

Leadership and Peer Tutoring

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”―Phil Collins, Musician

The process of teaching helps us all learn. In addition to the opportunity for section leaders to work with some of our less experienced musicians, members from the Jazz Band regularly travel to a local middle school to provide no-cost violin, cello, trumpet, clarinet, and flute lessons.

Private Instruction

Taft’s talented, professional adjunct music instructors offer students private voice and instrument lessons. Most students meet with their instructors once each week during a free block, and may study violin, viola, cello, guitar, bass guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion, harp, bagpipes. Students may also study composition, and complete an original work for Chamber or Jazz Band to perform.

Students and families contract with instructors individually and pay for lessons through their student accounts.

Ciara Connolly '17

Portrait of Ciara Connolly '17

Ciara Connolly '17 found her rhythm at Taft without ever missing a beat.