The Music Program at Rutgers Prep aims to develop and nurture the musical soul that resides in every student. The Music Department offers musical training and instruction in music literacy, listening, performance and appreciation of varied eras, styles and cultures. Our music programs promote confidence, self-esteem, sensitivity and inner discipline within each student as it encourages cooperation and teamwork within the school and the community.


Each year the Music Department presents two annual concerts for Band, Choir and Orchestra. These take place at RPS Pegeen O'Connell Dining Commons (Band), Voorhees Chapel in New Brunswick (Choir), and the Christ Episcopal Church in New Brunswick (Orchestra).

Region and All-State Opportunities

Each year talented RPS musicians are selected to audition for and perform in New Jersey Regional and All State Choir and Orchestra. Choir students annually are chosen to be members of the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division and National High School Honor Choirs. Madrigal Singers and Women’s Vocal Chamber Ensemble annually participate in the New Jersey ACDA High School Choral Festival and regularly receive ratings of excellent and superior.

Orchestra Programs

UPPER SCHOOL ORCHESTRA (full year) The Orchestra is open to string players who have developed necessary technical and sight-reading skills. The students perform repertoire that is selected from a variety of periods and styles. The orchestra meets four times a week, and performs in two orchestra concerts during the school year.

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (full year) Chamber Orchestra is open to students who play a string instrument at an advanced level. A variety of Chamber and Orchestral music will be studied and performed, ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque period to the Twenty-First century. The orchestra meets three times per week.

Band Programs

CONCERT BAND (full year) Concert Band is open to any student who plays a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Guitar and bass are not suitable for this ensemble. The ensemble meets four times per week. The repertoire will consist of traditional concert band literature.

BRASS ENSEMBLE (full year) Brass Ensemble consists of French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. This ensemble will explore the unique sounds of the brass family. There will be a variety of music studied and performed, ranging from classical to modern. Students will learn how to work within a smaller ensemble. This ensemble meets three times a week. Prerequisite: Approval of the instructor; student must demonstrate a high interest and basic proficiency on their instrument.

SAXOPHONE ENSEMBLE (full year) Saxophone Ensemble is open to students who presently play soprano, alto, tenor, or baritone saxophone. This course is performance based. Repertoire includes classical, jazz, and contemporary styles. Basic music theory and the history of wind instruments is included in this curriculum. This ensemble meets three times a week.

Choral Programs

MENS AND WOMENS MIXED CHOIR (full year) This ensemble is for students who enjoy singing and can match pitch. The students learn and perform vocal music of many styles and periods. They learn and apply vocal technique to performance in order to develop tone quality and tonal memory. This ensemble meets four days a week during 9th period and performs in two concerts throughout the school year.

MADRIGALS ENSEMBLE (full year) Madrigals is open through audition ONLY to students who sing at an advanced level. This group performs in two concerts during the school year as well as multiple events outside the school. The students perform repertoire that is selected from a variety of periods and styles. This ensemble meets three days a week during the 8-period rotation. Prerequisite: Approval of the instructor through audition ONLY and enrollment in an additional musical ensemble.

MUSIC THEORY (full year) Expanding upon elements of music-reading and writing first encountered in performance ensembles (Band, Choir and Orchestra), Music Theory will focus on strengthening the student’s grasp of music notation. During the course, students will systematically work through writing basic intervals, scales, chords and harmony will also working to develop an understanding of ear-training, melodic dictation and composition.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is comprised of upper school students who have been playing for a minimum of three years. The ensemble meets once a week before school. Students are expected to learn their music via home practice.

Music Lessons

The Rutgers Preparatory School Music Department is dedicated to giving each student a complete musical experience. To achieve this goal, students are encouraged to take part in the Independent Music Instructor Program, a private music instruction program that matches students with dedicated professionals from the Tri-State area.

Private individual music instruction is currently available on the following instruments: piano, violin, viola, cello, and beginning bass.

Tuition for private lessons is $40.00 for 30 minutes, $55.00 for 45 minutes and $70.00 for 60 minutes. If interested, please contact:

Lyssandra Stephenson, IMI Coordinator

- IMI Instructors-

David Agia (cello) began his first lessons at the age of 9. He received his BM from Rutgers University where upon graduation he was presented with the "Excellence in String Performance" award. Following his studies at Rutgers he completed his MM at the Academy of Music and Dance in Cologne, Germany. His principle teachers were George Atanasiu, Jonathan Spitz, and Hans-Christian
Schweiker. He has participated in numerous masterclasses and festivals
including Le Conservatoire Américain (Fontainebleau, France), Quartet Program
(Fredonia, NY), Savonlinna Summer Music Academy (Savonlinna, Finland) and
Orvieto Festival of Strings (Orvieto, Italy) and is a prizewinner of multiple
competitions, such as the ANEMOS International Competition (Rome, Italy),
Rutgers Sinfonia Concerto Competition, and Mason Gross Chamber Music

His experience in a variety of different musical genres has brought him to
concert halls throughout Europe, Mexico, and the USA, as well as national
television broadcasts in Italy and Spain. David currently calls central NJ his
home, where he enjoys teaching cello as well as playing all types of concerts.
With a special affinity towards chamber music, he has been a member of various
piano trios and string quartets. David is happy to play a cello made in Paris by Gustave Bernardel.

Grace Lim (Violin and Viola) received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Performance from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Isaac Malkin and Daniel Avshalomov. Ms. Lim has been on the faculty of Monmouth Conservatory of Music. She incorporates both the traditional and Suzuki methods to ensure that the students develop good rhythm, intonation, and beautiful tone by ear. Ms. Lim is also an active performing artist. She has given many concerts as a member of orchestra and chamber music ensembles and performed around the world with professional ensembles and orchestras. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in performance at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Claire Saunders Wilson (violin) graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Performing Arts. She is holds a Master of Music in Violin Performance from SUNY Purchase. Her teachers have included Calvin Weirsma, Todd Phillips, Peter Winograd, Matthew Reichert, and Chris Nam. Ms. Wilson performs throughout the area with the Bravura Philharmonic, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, and Montclair Chamber Ensemble. She has served as concertmaster of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra and conducted the NJIO's Nouveau Ensemble. She began teaching at RPS in 2004, and has also taught at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton. Claire received a scholarship to the Fontainbleau Chamber Music Festival in France.

Natassia Xsavier Ling (piano) has taught privately since 1981 and at Rutgers Preparatory School since 1990. As a chamber musician, she has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, the Princeton Chamber Symphony and the Spring Lake Theatre Company. Ms. Xsavier Ling distinguished herself as a finalist and recipient of two honorable mention awards at the 1992 and the 1995 International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges, Belgium as well as the top prize at the 1991 Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society International Competition. She was a finalist for the 1993 Fulbright Scholarship, also. Ms. Xsavier Ling’s musical studies include the Louisville Academy of Music, the Preparatory Division of the Manhattan School, the Monserrat School and Rutgers University. She studied with Charlotte Mattex and Samuel Dilworth-Leslie at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where she was awarded a B.M. and M.M. in Music Performance.