CCM: Prep

CCM: Prep

Honors Programs in Music

Starling Preparatory String Project

Chairperson: Kurt Sassmannshaus

Founded in 1987 by CCM Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus, the Starling Preparatory String Project is a specialized honors program training young string students. The program is generously funded through a grant by the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation. The superbly talented musicians perform as the Starling Chamber Orchestra and are selected by audition. Students receive one hourly lesson per week, and take music theory, chamber and orchestra each Saturday. Instructors include CCM faculty and graduate students specially trained and chosen by Professor Sassmannshaus. Most of the students are from the greater Cincinnati area, and many others commute on Saturdays from other states.  SCO has a concert subscription series at Robert J. Werner Recital Hall at CCM and tours regularly.

For more information on the Starling Preparatory String Project visit


Preparatory Music Honors Program

The Preparatory Honors Program is designed for high-achieving, talented students who are preparing to study music in college. Students must apply and subsequently audition to gain acceptance into the program. Upon acceptance, the applied teacher recommends and oversees the appropriate course of study. Upon graduation, the student will receive a transcript and a certificate of completion.

The goals of the Honors Program are as follows:

  • To achieve a high level of proficiency in the student’s applied area;
  • To gain significant performing experience in solo, chamber, and large group settings (where appropriate);
  • To attain a thorough knowledge of basic music theory and its applications to musicianship;
  • To develop functional piano proficiency;
  • To broaden understanding of careers and opportunities in music through concert attendance and reporting, summer apprenticeships, community service, and other arts experiences.

The amount of time needed to complete the program and receive a certificate will depend on the student’s age, music background and previous experiences. The flexible curriculum allows students to create a program that will challenge and enhance prior studies, and prepare them for music studies in higher education. In order to complete the program and gain the most advantage from it, students should begin when they are entering ninth or tenth grade. Older students are welcome to apply, but they may have difficulty completing the entire curriculum.

Annual tuition will vary depending on the specific curriculum being studied. Students must complete a minimum of three full years of 60-minute lessons with CCM Preparatory faculty. (The Honors curriculum allows some requirements to be fulfilled outside our program offerings.)

An administrative fee applies to this program. Discounts may be offered. Honors Program students are strongly encouraged to apply for scholarships offered by CCM Preparatory.

In order to begin the process of acceptance, please submit a music resume and letter of interest to Amy Dennison, Director of Education, (

Royal Conservatory Music Development Program

CCM Preparatory encourages its students to participate in the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, the nationwide standard program for music students of all ages studying all instruments and voice. Through the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, students pursue level advancement and testing in private study, music theory or both. The applied teacher will assist in preparation for testing and there is a class designed to prepare students for the music theory test. There is an additional fee associated with this program. For more information, please visit the Royal Conservatory program’s website.