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Performer's Certificate

"Each week I am amazed by the student talent and intellect as we explore and practice what makes a great performer."

Katie Bonner Russo, Performer's Certificate Program Director

General Information

Students passionate about music performance have a place to develop their artistry, knowledge and skills in our Performer’s Certificate Program.

This is an intensive, two-year program that brings together a community of talented and motivated high school musicians intent on developing their artistry and performance skills.  With the common goal of preparing for continued advanced study, students explore the art of performance through four lenses: Performance Lab, Music Theory, Music History and Seminar Sessions.  In addition to weekly classes, students supplement their coursework with periodic trips to performances at major cultural institutions in Connecticut and New York.

Performance Lab: Read, Reflect, Discuss, Perform 

Each performance lab session focuses on the challenges faced by musicians in performance, audition and competition settings. Students prepare through readings and discussions, and perform in peer and guest artist masterclass formats. In these "labs," students explore topics such as stage presence, preparation, focus and communication in addition to interpretation and artistry.

Music Theory and Ear Training

Modeled after the college freshman theory and ear training classes at The Hartt School.  Over two years, students will progress through the rigorous first year curriculum of theory and ear training required of students majoring in music.

Music History for Performers

Participants will explore the major developments in the history of western music through the eyes and ears of a performer.  Classes focus on listening to keystone works throughout history, learning the significant aspects of each period, and identifying how to apply those characteristics in performance.

Seminar Sessions

Students work closely with visiting guest artists to look at aspects of the music world today.  This past year students had the opportunity to work with Emma Tattenbaum, improvisation actress, on performing in the moment and performance as a form or expression; explored the process of choosing a college or conservatory and the admission process with Neal Humphreys, Hartt’s Assistant Admissions Director; learned and practiced conducting techniques with Peter Lillipop; and discovered the connection between math and music with Michael Schiano.  


An integral aspect of musical training for the young musician is experiencing and listening to great performances.   Students will attend and reflect on performances in and around Hartford and take an annual trip to the Metropolitan Opera.  Participants are also expected to attend and report on a minimum of six musical performances a year, and produce and perform a solo recital before graduation.

Class Meetings and Coursework

Classes meet Mondays from 4:00 to 6:00 pm for 28 weeks over the course of the academic year. Students are required to complete written assignments, attend live performances, participate in masterclasses, and perform in a final recital. This program has a strict attendance policy and requires a two-year commitment.


The Performer’s Certificate Program is open to students entering their sophomore and junior year of high school who demonstrate high musical achievement and dedication to their musical studies.  We encourage all students who wish to seriously pursue music to apply for this program.

Please make an audition appointment with Music Program Director Margaret Wyporek Spear (860-768-4718, Wyporek@hartford.edu).

2016-2017 Tuition

Eligibility Tuition* Schedule
Students entering grades 10 and 11 who demonstrate high musical achievment and dedication. $175.68/year for HCD private lesson students, $549/year for non-HCD students Mondays 4 - 6pm

*A $25 registration fee may apply.

Please see the registration or billing pages for more information on Community Division policies.

For more information, contact the Hartt Community Division office at (860) 768-4451 or at harttcomm@hartford.edu.

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