The CMA was founded on the idea that everyone—no matter their age, ability, background, or bank account size—could make music, listen to music, and experience music in different ways. We were inspired by the philosophy of the early Settlement School in Philadelphia, founded in 1908 (there were also Settlement Schools and Houses in Chicago and Cleveland) where anyone – especially new immigrants and low-income students and families – was welcome. We wanted our school, the Center for Musical Arts, to be a home like that for music in the region. What we discovered early on was that music naturally created community. People gathered to sing, to play, to attend recitals and concerts. What happened more than a hundred years ago at the Philadelphia Settlement School began to happen here. In that tradition, we do everything we can at the CMA to take people in.

“Music is about taking people in, not keeping them out. It’s about involving them, and putting music in people’s lives.” (Sol Schoenbach, 1915-1999, former principal bassoonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and faculty member at Settlement).

The Philadelphia Settlement School served school-age children through adults, and developed a conservatory division that became the nucleus of the Curtis Institute of Music. Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic taught at Settlement. Albert Einstein played chamber music there, and Kevin Bacon and Kevin Eubanks are alums. Like Settlement, and the 450 other community music schools nationwide, at CMA we believe that the best, most gifted teachers are the ones who spend time with beginners, laying the groundwork for a solid foundation in music. We know that not everyone who studies at the CMA will go on to choose a career in music. But we give them the foundation of discipline and a love for music that will last them for their entire lives. Because we are connected to the world-class Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, the CMA experience can range from lessons to classes to pre-concert lectures and summer evenings at Chautauqua, listening to Brahms or Mahler. We offer the best of music, from education to performance, and everyone is welcome.

There is something for everyone at the Center for Musical Arts, whether you’re a 5th grader learning trumpet or a retiree who always wanted to play the piano. There are so many ways to be musical – for a lifetime! I invite you to come to a faculty concert or a Dalcroze class or a student recital – or sign up for Broadway Boomers or the CMA Concert Band. Music is so important to our lives, and in fact, can change our lives in so many ways for the better. We truly believe in music for all…for life!

Kathy Kucsan, CMA Co-Founder

Watch Settlement Music School’s inspiring video