Music Preparatory Program offers a composition of outreach opportunities

A division of the NKU music department is working to shape the minds of young musical performers through practical skill at a low cost.

NKU Music Preparatory Program “provides community and continuing education programs of the highest quality to students of all ages and abilities,” as stated on its homepage. The preparatory courses also strive to “enrich the culture of the Greater-Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions through engaging artistic experiences and outreach initiatives.”

The NKU Music Preparatory Program offers a variety of programs. There is the Prep Choir, the Xylo-Zoo program, the Mainstage Musical Theatre Company, the Youth Symphony Orchestra and the NKU String Project. It not only offers youth classes, but adult classes as well.

The Prep Choir is one of the main courses offered by the preparatory program.

“The young children’s choir gives them just sort of the basic elements of singing and good vocal technique,” said Holly Attar, director of the Music Preparatory Program.

For young children ages three to five, there is the Xylo-Zoo program, which Attar calls “an exploratory foundational experience in music where they get a taste of everything: dance, rhythm, singing, playing instruments; things that are suited to children.”

Another event that will arise later this year is a production of The Music Man, Jr., put on by the Mainstage Musical Theatre Company, which is comprised of seven to 18-year-olds. It has become a very popular program because of the high energy and broadway component, which are both popular right now in society, Attar explained.

Other very popular programs that Attar mentioned are the Youth Symphony Orchestra and the NKU String Project. The Youth Symphony Orchestra is the only one of its kind in Northern Kentucky, Attar said, and the NKU String Project is funded by a grant that allows these courses to cost as little as $2 a class.

Graduate student, Brian Theis, who is a piano instructor for the music prep program, feels the program is “a good way to get started” in music. He has learned that as an instructor, it is like “running your own business.”

Through Theis’ work with the preparatory program, he has discovered there are multiple “techniques for teaching” when it comes to kids. “You learn boundless patience,” he said.

“Our main mission is always to provide them with the best possible musical experience that will help them want to continue that learning all their lives,” Attar said. “And then, on the flip side of that, to develop a sense of wanting to share it with others. So again, the mission is to share what we love with as many people as we can.”

One of the main events they’re excited about this fall is the NKU Music Prep Halloween Extravaganza. Attar said “everyone will be in costume” on Oct. 27 in Greaves Hall at the free event. The extravaganza will feature the NKU Youth Symphony Orchestra, Prep Choir, Mainstage Musical Theatre Company and various others.

For more information, visit the NKU music prep program’s website at