Fine Arts in DPS

The Office of Fine Arts Education provides robust instrumental music, choral music, general music and visual arts instruction throughout Detroit Public Schools to help every student reach their full academic and creative potential.

We also have a renowned fine arts school, the Detroit School of Arts, located on the grounds of Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Detroit Public Television operates collaborative instructional activities on site.

At DSA, students can participate in Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Dance, Forensics, and Visual Arts, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Concert Choir, Female Vocal, Male Vocal, Mixed Choral Ensembles, Show Choir, School Musical Pit singers and/or Pit band and much more.

Feeder schools to Detroit School of Arts include Langston Hughes Academy, J.R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy and Duke Ellington School of Arts .

Music and Visual Arts curriculums are sequential with instruction for beginning, intermediate and advanced students in elementary, middle and/or high school.

What we offer


Beginning, intermediate and advanced level of instruction is available for instrumental music students on brass, woodwind, percussion and string instruments. Piano, music theory and (harp instruction at Cass Technical High School only) are also available to students within the district.


Small and large ensemble (SSAA, SATB, TTBB) instruction at the beginning, intermediate and advance levels are also available to vocal music students.


Visual Arts classes are taught in a sequential format in the areas of drawing, painting, ceramics, graphic arts, fashion design, jewelry, fibers, art composition, crafts, lettering, drafting and architecture, pewabic pottery, pen and ink, sculpture, print making, automotive design, digital photography, and video photography.

Honors courses

AP and Honors courses in visual arts, vocal and instrumental music, music theory courses, jazz combos and vocal jazz ensembles are available at the high school level.

All-City Marching Band

DPS also offers an All-City Marching Band for highly talented and skilled musicians, majorettes and flag twirlers.

The Detroit Public Schools All City High School Marching Band  serves as a vehicle for all qualifying DPS high school musicians to participate and express themselves in a well equipped large ensemble with full instrumentation, highly qualified staff and very talented musicians.  Entrance into this group is through audition only.



Resources and Tips for Parents

Student involvement in instrumental music programs is based upon the number of programs and/or instruments available through the school. Parents have the option of renting instruments from local instrument dealers.

Fine arts students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer music and visual arts camps to enhance their skill set and the instruction received during the school year.

Detroit Public Schools Fine Arts Students have been involved in and received recognition and scholarship awards through participation in:

  • Blue Lake Fine Arts Camps
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts
  • GM You Make a Difference (Automotive Design Program)
  • Wayne County Community College Art Program
  • James Tatum Foundation
  • Omega Psi Phi Talent Showcase
  • National Scholastic Art and Reading Competition

Detroit Public Schools Fine Arts students benefit from partnerships and additional educational support with state universities and colleges as well as:

  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Center for Creative Services
  • DPS Foundation
  • Detroit International Jazz Festival Educational Division
  • Detroit Federation of Musicians, Local 5

Each year Detroit Public Schools Fine Arts students are involved in several major events that highlight their many outstanding talents in visual arts, dance, drama, instrumental and vocal music. Such events include the following:

  • Detroit Public Schools Evening of Fine Arts
  • Student Exhibit  at the Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Michigan Student Film and Video Festival
  • Michigan Youth Arts Festival
  • Festival of Arts
  • Noel Night
  • Detroit International Jazz Festival
  • Thanksgiving Day Parade – Float Design
  • Detroit Fire Department Arson Awareness Program
  • Sphinx program
  • Wayne State University Weekend School of Music
  • Michigan State University New Horizons Program
  • DSO Power Dream Program
  • DSO Civic Ensembles
  • University of Michigan High School Honors Ensembles
  • Michigan State University High School Honors Band
  • Eastern Michigan University String Camp
  • Central Michigan University String Master Classes

Detroit Public Schools music programs have been recognized and recipients of awards from the:

  • Grammy Foundation Grammy Signature Schools Series, Tournament of Roses Parade “Coming Up Roses”
  • Rose Bowl Field Show Competition Award Winner
  • America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Detroit Public Schools Visual Arts programs have been recognized and recipients of the National Gold Key and Silver Awards from the National Scholastic Art and Reading Committee in the categories of:

  • Photography
  • Digital Photography
  • Painting
  • Drawing



Enrichment Opportunities

Middle School and High School students are encouraged to participate each school year in Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association Solo and Ensemble Festival and the Band and Orchestra Festival.

Vocal students are encouraged to participate in the Michigan School Vocal Music Association Solo and Ensemble Choral Music Festival, Middle Schools Honors Band, Orchestra and Vocal program. Participation provides additional instruction and exposure to a variety of genres for the students. Students are tested and critiqued according to State of Michigan Standards for the arts.

Visual arts students are encouraged to participate in the DIA/DPS Art Exhibit, WCCC/DPS Student Art Exhibit, and the National Scholastic Art and Reading Competition.

We are affiliated with Michigan School Band and Orchestra (MSBOA), Michigan School Vocal Music Association  (MSVMA) the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and Crayola.

Why should my child be involved in music and visual arts?

  • Music and Visual arts are a science
  • Music and Visual arts are mathematical
  • Music is a foreign language
  • Music and Visual Arts are history
  • Music is Physical education
  • The arts develop insight and demand research
  • The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, includes the arts among all of the other ‘core academic subjects’
  • 2nd Grade Piano Students scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests
  • Middle and High School students with high levels of involvement in instrumental music show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.
  • Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT; on the verbal and the math, than did students with no arts participation
  • The disruptive percentages of music students is much lower than the disruptive percentages for non-music students.
  • Music students receive more academic honors and awards than non-music students
  • DPS music students receive millions of dollars in scholarships each year.
  • 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group.
  • A study of 811 minority high school students, 36% of these students identified music teachers as their role models, as opposed to 28% English teachers, 11% elementary teachers, 7% PE/sports teachers, and 1% principals.
  • Students in selected arts programs in NYC showed significant increases in self-esteem and thinking skills.
  • Fine Arts programs serve as an inroad for students to receive scholarships and internships are available through professional and philanthropic organizations



Fine Arts News

Fine Arts Recordings

The Detroit Public Schools Office of Fine Arts has received many requests for recordings of student performances.

We are pleased to announce that we have several videos of some of the most memorable student productions available for you to purchase.

DPS and major arts organizations announce groundbreaking partnerships to transform the Detroit School of Arts into top arts school

Posted: May 22, 2012

Detroit Public Schools and representatives of some of the area’s leading arts organizations on Monday announced a...

Evening of Fine Arts - May 20, 2010

Posted: Sep 23, 2011

Detroit Public Schools Presents An Evening of Fine Arts Recored May 20, 2010

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Evening of Fine Arts (5-24-2007)

Posted: Nov 7, 2007

Detroit Public Schools proudly presents the Evening of Fine Arts for May 24, 2007.

View Video »