Music Department

Walnut Hills offers a wide variety of performance classes at all levels of experience and skill, from the beginning instrumental (band or strings) and vocal classes, which require no previous musical training, to the senior high ensembles who perform college level literature. We have private tutors who come in and teach students here at school, and sometimes offer special clinics and workshops. Many students start out in an entry level course as entering seventh graders, and go on to participate in music for the next six years, ending up in one or more of our top performance groups. In addition to our performance classes, we also offer Advanced Placement Music Theory as part of our curriculum.

Building upon the reservoir of talent in our students and faculty, we are continuing to expand and enhance our program offerings. Looking ahead to exciting innovations in music technology, our new music wing incorporates state-of-the-art equipment, which gives our students the opportunity to learn cutting-edge techniques they can use to succeed in the current music world.

Walnut Hills High School provides additional performance opportunities for students in our upper level classes, some of which enable us to give back to our supporting community and other CPS schools, and some of which allow our students the chance to travel further afield, nationally and at times internationally. We also encourage students to participate in local and regional competitions, both individually and as groups. These performance options often require an extra-curricular commitment to after school rehearsals and performances.

Our groups have performed with local professional groups such as the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, the May Festival Chorus, and Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble. They have played at the Cincinnati and Taft Art Museums, downtown Public Library, Golden Galaxy Awards, the Post-Corbett Awards, Taste of Cincinnati, Rotary Club meetings, Mercantile Library, various alumni events, regional festivals, and many corporate and dedication events in the greater Cincinnati area. Periodically, some of our groups travel to places like Chicago, New York City and London, and have performed at St. Martins InThe Field, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and in the London New Year’s Day Parade.

There is a lot going on musically at Walnut Hills. Our groups – including Marching Band, Jazz Bands, Steel Drum Bands, Vocal Ensemble, and Chamber Orchestra - work hard, and have a lot of fun in the process. Many of our students elect to participate in festivals and competitions at local, regional, and national venues. Students who have elected to major in music after graduation have gone on to attend such prestigious institutions as Julliard, Oberlin, Indiana University, Eastman, Westminster Choir College, Carnegie Mellon, Roosevelt University College of the Arts, UC’s College Conservatory of Music, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, to name just a few.

“Every child should have full access to the arts as well as academics – the skills one learns from trying to master an instrument, being on stage or using a paintbrush translates into self-knowledge, confidence and independent thinking. Walnut Hills in the time I was there achieved that balance with spectacular results through its emphasis on a complete education.”

- Fred Hersch, WHHS class of ‘73
US News - America's Best High Schools - Ranked 65th in USA and awarded Gold Medal status.
Newsweek - America's Best High Schools 2010 - Walnut Hills Ranked 66th in USA and #1 in Ohio!