Instrumental Music

Instrumental Music Department Mission:

Advanced study of the musical craft is essential to the development of a competent artist. We are dedicated to providing our students with a vibrant performance experience, supporting their instrumental technique and musical literacy.

winter concert

Message from Matthew Wells, Artistic Director of Instrumental Music:

It is with great pleasure and pride that I welcome you to the Instrumental Music Department at Charter Arts!

Our educators are dedicated to providing the best possible music education through unique and exciting opportunities.  These dedicated professionals have performed on some of the most prestigious stages in the world and with some of the most important figures, ensembles, bands and orchestras, nationally and internationally. It is through these illustrious experiences that our staff has developed professional contacts that give our students the benefit of their experience and artistry through our Visiting Masters Series.

Instrumental music students are constantly performing. Students are provided large ensemble experience through Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Charter Arts Big Band and Percussion Ensemble. Small ensembles such as Advanced Jazz Combo, Pop/Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble and String Ensemble also boast a full concert schedule. Through community partnerships, students also perform at various venues across the Lehigh Valley.

Beyond Ensembles, our curriculum is vast and challenging. Our students have four years of music theory, five semesters of music history, technique classes on their major instrument and a plethora of electives. Students may learn a new instrument in beginning strings/brass/woodwinds/piano, sing with the choir, swing in Jazz Improvisation, etc. All of these classes along with collaboration and cross-curricular activities prepare our students for careers as professional musicians as well as for success as music majors in college or university.

It is my hope that you will find this site useful and informative in answering any questions you may have about our program.   If you are ready to make a serious commitment to the study of music in a safe and stimulating environment, then Charter Arts may be the place for you. Please feel free to contact me or come to meet us at an Open House day!

Jazz and Contemporary Music

second guitarist cafe 2013

As part of the Instrumental Music Department, the Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies Program at Charter Arts is a new and exciting opportunity for students to enhance the traditional study of music with the heritage of America’s art form, Jazz, and its evolution into contemporary modern music. The curriculum in Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies will allow students to develop their musical skills as well shape their evolution as artists and people.

Students who choose to concentrate in Jazz Studies will develop the wide range of skills and processes needed to launch a career in professional music and to prepare for success in higher education as music majors.

Our faculty in Jazz Studies are all working professional musicians as well as educators who are nationally and internationally acclaimed for their virtuosity. These artists bring not only their musical expertise to our students, but also practical experience from real world situations. This gives our students a real and tangible edge for their future.

I believe that the experience of working side by side with our teachers in professional situations is a unique methodology where our students can apply the concepts learned in the classroom. I know of no other high school program that can match this approach to learning.

Festivus Slide

Instrumental Music Department- Community Partnerships

2008-2014:  List of Community partnerships including concert engagements and collaborative projects

  • Hotel Bethlehem
  • Moravian Village retirement community
  • City of Bethlehem
  • Historic Bethlehem Partnership
  • Northampton Community College
  • Pennsylvania Music Educators Association – District 10, Region V, and All-State events
  • ArtsQuest – Steel Stacks, Musikfest, Christkindlmarkt
  • Mayfair – Allentown, PA
  • City of Allentown
  • The Allentown Symphony
  • Downtown Bethlehem Association – Christmas City Village
  • Bethlehem Area School District – Broughal Middle School
  • Air Products Corporation
  • Lehigh County Children & Youth
  • Moravian College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lafayette College
  • Temple University – Tri-State Wind Ensemble Festival
  • Susquehanna University – Honors Band Festival
  • Marywood University – Honors Band Festival
  • Kutztown University – Brass and Woodwind Day
  • Touchstone Theater
  • The Allentown Band
  • Penn State University
  • Anne’s Choice retirement community
  • Godfrey Daniels Listening Room
  • Martin Guitar
  • SteelStacks HS Jazz Band Showcase – finalists in 2012, 2013
  • Consistent participation and soloist awards in area HS Jazz Festivals at: Southern Lehigh HS, Pocono Mountain East HS, and Freedom HS

Master Classes

The Charter Arts music program has attracted master classes from the following Visiting Artists:

  • Albert “Tootie” Heath, legendary jazz drummer
  • Ethan Iverson, jazz pianist
  • Ben Street, jazz bassist
  • Mindy Rosenfield, Renaissance flute/harp
  • Ronn McFarlane, Grammy nominated Renaissance lutanist
  • Dr. Neil Wetzel, associate professor of music/director of jazz studies – Moravian College
  • Glenn Caluda, professor emeritus of guitar/lute – Shenandoah Conservatory
  • Dr. Jeremy Justeson, professor of saxophone – Kutztown University
  • Dr. Daniel Newenschwander, professor of trombone – Kutztown University
  • Dr. Kevin Kjos, professor of trumpet and jazz studies – Kutztown University
  • Mark O’Connor, violinist
  • John “Bucky” Pizzarelli, jazz guitarist
  • Howard Alden, jazz guitarist
  • Jack Wilkins, jazz guitarist
  • Craig Thatcher, blues guitarist
  • Turtle Island String Quartet, Grammy Award-winning String Quartet
  • Billy Bauer, singer/song-writer
  • Jeffrey Wohlbach, professional trumpeter/teacher
  • Greg Seifert, professional trumpeter/teacher
  • Hill to Hill Brass Quintet
  • Shenandoah Conservatory Faculty Brass Quintet
  • Leonard “Doc” Gibbs, legendary drummer/world percussionist
  • John Stowell, jazz guitarist
  • Tumbling Bones, bluegrass/early American trio
  • Petrit Ceku, International classical guitarist
  • Amadi Azikiwe, viola professor – James Madison University
  • Sam Hollander, music producer from NYC/LA
  • Cara Owens, principal bassoon of Ft. Worth Symphony
  • XVSK – Exter vs. Kimock
  • Martha Marchena, pianist