Kathy Kucsan, Education Director and Center Co-Founder
When I was in elementary school, I took piano lessons with Miss B. She lived in a small row home, and a beautiful grand piano took up her entire living room. For a long time, I was the only person I knew who took lessons. I took my John Thompson piano method books home, practiced, and went to Miss B’s house every Tuesday after school. That was my musical life for several years until band classes started at school. Other kids! All kinds of instruments! Somehow, music started making sense to me when I got to be part of it with my peers.
This is one of the many things that the Center for Musical Arts offers: a diverse musical environment where trumpets play alongside pianos which are next door to guitars or violins. Students of all ages congregate in the lobby or outside on the porch, comparing instrument cases or humming the new tune they just learned. Recitals! Sharing what they learned in performances at the end of each term, proud parents recording on smartphones or live-streaming to grandma in Illinois. Just being inside a building that is alive with sound gives us a deeper, more meaningful experience.
Music is meant to be shared in community. The very nature of music causes community to rise up around people who come together to learn, create, and express. The community music school philosophy (common to more than 450 sister schools around the country) has, at its core, the values of access and equity. Here at the Center, high schoolers play side-by-side with seniors in the Center for Musical Arts Concert Band, Jazz Band, and sing along in Coro Santuario. Studio recitals are frequent and fun. One of my favorite experiences is simply walking in the door on a busy afternoon and hearing all kinds of instruments playing all kinds of music at once. I’m still as moved and inspired as I was when I was ten years old.
Community music is a thing, and pretty much has been since the dawn of humans. Making music together is a natural inclination. It’s something innate that keeps us alive and vital. Now that we’ve been entirely virtual for over ten months, the value of music in community is all the more evident. The most frequent thing I hear these days from students and teachers (and staff) is: “I miss other musicians. I miss making music with other people.” Online lessons are a miracle, and I feel fortunate that the technology was there when we shut down, when we needed it most. And now I feel the tide turning toward that urge, that need to be musical in the company of others.
It will happen again soon.
Making music in the company of others is perhaps the major benefit of participating at the Center: learning, playing, growing, and expressing in community with other like-minded musicians deepens our experience and simply makes every life all the better. Everyone at the Center for Musical Arts is a musician, and there are so many ways to be musical – for a lifetime!
A few of the benefits of community music at the Center for Musical Arts:
- A welcoming, nurturing environment
- Student-centered learning: our versatile faculty can coach you to be a better shower singer or help you prep an audition for music school (and everything in between)
- Our Heartstrings Program helps low-income students access lessons or instruments, and our Musical Instrument Bank provides a wide variety of instruments, particularly for 5th graders just starting instrumental music classes at school
- Opportunities to participate in ensembles (concert/jazz bands, Coro Santuario, Broadway/jazz singers)
- Opportunities to explore different instruments or the same instrument with different teachers
- Opportunities to hear your teacher perform in the new Faculty & Friends concert series
- Opportunities to attend Colorado Music Festival concerts at a big discount, and Center for Musical Arts students get to attend the Colorado Music Festival’s Family Concert for free!
What are your favorite ways to build community through music?