Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

SDSU Community Music School:
Music Education for All

SDSU Community Music School: <br/>Music Education for All

Since 1989, the SDSU Community Music School has served as a center of music education for both students and teachers alike. The Community Music School was originally run through a collaborative effort of administrators and teachers within the School of Music and Dance, and has offered a multitude of programs over the years “including anything from a Suzuki program, to music classes for babies and mothers, to individual lessons on different instruments, including a strong piano program,” says Carina Voly, Director of the CMS since 2013.

The CMS mission is to provide high-quality, accessible, and diverse music and dance instruction for all ages, abilities, and income levels. According to Voly, “Our vision is to be a training ground to university students while at the same time as providing a service to the community.” Students at SDSU are able to register for independent study through CMS, where they engage in a hands-on learning experience geared towards teaching young students. “University students observe master teachers in action and participate in group class settings, slowly acquiring skills and leading activities for the young students,” Voly explains.

Another unique aspect of the CMS is its diverse offerings for both child and adult students. In addition to independent instruction, the school also offers: Adult Beginning Group Piano Class, SDSU String Academy, Hausmann Chamber Music Program, and San Diego Bass Fest. The roster of instructors at the CMS consists of SDSU Faculty and community master teachers. The SDSU String Academy, taught by Faculty member Travis Maril, is a pre-college program which offers conservatory-level instruction on violin, viola, cello, and double bass, for students ages 6-18. Of the 110 students currently enrolled in the CMS, 70 of them study with Maril in the String Academy program.

Voly and Maril have been teaching a String Training Program for public school teachers, made possible by a grant from the Community Council for Music in the Schools. “School music programs are being taught by one music teacher in charge of all disciplines, with many teachers having less expertise in strings. We visit schools and work with students and teachers on technique, strategies, and applications, and we meet individually with teachers to coach on a one-on-one basis,” Voly explains.

The SDSU Community Music School brings music education to the community on multiple levels through music lessons for students, teaching university students how to be better teachers, and broadening the expertise of active music teachers. The CMS will showcase its various programs at an end-of-year recital on Sunday, December 18. For further information on the Community Music School, its programs, and recital times, visit

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