The Arts

Instrumental Music

The Hill School’s major instrumental performing ensembles – Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble – are full-year courses, which meet during the academic day, therefore enabling students to perform consistently five times per week.
Each program is designed to allow students with skill, desire, and commitment to become excellent instrumentalists. Students work to develop their individual skills as well as their ensemble skills. The Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble present three major performances each year.

A variety of literature is explored to challenge and educate Hill musicians. Anyone who is interested in participating in the music program must request the desired course on his or her schedule in the summer, rather than fall, to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Our concerts are streamed live and recorded via LocalLive. View performances here

Additional Instrumental Opportunities:

Music Lessons: Students may sign up for private, weekly music lessons with adjunct music faculty.

School of Rock:  Evening practice sessions for student-led bands who perform on campus.

Afternoon Arts Program: Varsity-level musicians may participate in the Afternoon Arts program, which includes daily practice, afternoon lesson availability, and the opportunity to prepare for auditions. The Afternoon Arts program culminates in a term-end recital.


All State Ensembles:  Hill musicians can audition for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s (PMEA) orchestra and band festival. In recent years, our students have represented The Hill in District, Regional, and State Festivals.

Philadelphia Orchestra: The Hill School is one of the longest-subscribing members to the Philadelphia Orchestra. With a four-ticket, nine Friday concert package, interested students have many opportunities to enjoy performances at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts throughout the year.

Meet our Director of Instrumental Music

Margie Neiswender P'22 '23

Senior Master Teacher of the Arts Margie (Ritchie) Neiswender P’22 ’23 has led The Hill’s instrumental music program since 1986. Throughout her tenure, she has taught a variety of arts courses, including the most recent and very popular, Class Piano, and directs the School’s Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Small Ensemble groups. Margie also supports the Afternoon Arts program and has served three terms as Arts Department chair.

In addition to her work with the arts, Margie served as the head coach of the boys’ varsity tennis team for 11 years, distinguishing her as Hill’s first-ever female head coach. She has also coached the girls’ varsity program and for both teams at the JV level.