Community Music School - Lehigh Valley & Berks

Community Music School - Lehigh Valley & Berks

5.0 (3)
Best of 2020
3 hires on Lessons.com
30 employees
38 years in business

About this pro

Community Music School (CMS) Lehigh Valley & Berks is a non-profit charitable organization which provides the inspiration and opportunity for anyone in our diverse community to achieve excellence in music education and appreciate the transformative power of music.

For students outside the Lehigh Valley, CMS offers online-only private music lessons via TeacherZone and Google Meet. 

CMS employs over 25 professional musicians who provide high-quality private and group instruction to students of all ages and in nearly every instrument and voice, as well as extensive, tuition-free outreach programs that bring music to students in under-served, high-poverty schools. Our faculty is sensitive to each student's individual musical abilities, needs, and pace of learning. We strive to not only nurture budding musicians, but allow all children and adults access to the life-long benefits of music study - increased concentration, persistence of practice, responsibility of caring for their instrument, and performing with others.

Private music lessons are available in-person or online-only, or a combination of both.  Financial aid and scholarships available for students 18 years of age and younger.

We offer private music lessons for ages 5+ in Bass Guitar, Cello, Clarinet, Composition, Conducting, Euphonium, Double Bass, Drums, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Oboe, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Ukulele, Viola, Violin, Voice (ages 12+)

In-person group classes & ensembles include: Kindermusik (ages 0-4), Kids Choir (ages 6-11), Modern Band (middle & high school), CMS Big Band (audition only, all ages)

CMS is located in the West Park neighborhood of Allentown, PA at historic 1544 Hamilton Street, the former Lehigh Valley Club. The renovated space offers 12 lesson rooms of varying sizes, a unique parent lounge, early childhood room, music library, administrative offices, and a 150-seat recital hall.

To learn more visit www.cmslv.org or email [email protected]

CMS employs over 25 professional musicians who provide high-quality private and group instruction to students of all ages and in nearly every instrument and voice, as well as extensive, tuition-free outreach programs that bring music to students in under-served, high-poverty schools. Our faculty is sensitive to each student's individual musical abilities, needs, and pace of learning. We strive to not only nurture budding musicians, but allow all children and adults access to the life-long benefits of music study - increased concentration, persistence of practice, responsibility of caring for their instrument, and performing with others.

Read more about this pro


Credentials

Allentown, PA 18102
Phone verified

3 Reviews

5.0

  • Beangi H., piano

    I would like to give thanks to Mrs. Carole for always being a great teacher, never giving up on me when I said "I can't play this song, it's too hard." She always had faith in me and told me to never give up even it took me months to remember or learn how to play… thank you so much for this experience and I hope others will be a part of it too.

  • Nicole M., flute & flute choir

    CMS has given me an immense amount of performance opportunities, making my passion and love for music more powerful than I could have ever imagined. CMS made such a big impact on my life and career decisions; without a school like this, I may have never continued with music as my career path or performed as much as I have in the past couple years that I've been here. Without CMS, I wouldn't have met so many amazing people that I now call my family. This family has helped me exceed my goals and made going to my dream college (for flute performance & music business) a real possibility.

  • Quinn C. flute, bass, jazz ensemble

    I like CMS because the teachers are extremely relatable and helpful with many aspects of lessons. Everyone is very nice and I love being involved with the organization! CMS also gives me the chance to play in groups, which I love, and there are also many opportunities for performances. CMS has made all these things affordable for my family.



Photos & Videos


FAQs


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Private weekly music lessons are offered year-round in-person and online.  New students are welcome to enroll anytime and financial aid is available.  All students begin with a 30-minute interview lesson ($33) before enrolling in on-going lessons.  There is a $45 family annual registration fee, then tuition is paid monthly on an automatic payment plan with any major credit or debit card.


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

All of our teachers have at least a Bachelor's Degree in music education or performance, or equivalent experience. Many also have Master's Degrees and Doctoral Degrees. They are all passionate about teaching and performing. All teachers and staff have state and federal clearances. Visit our website http://cmslv.org/faculty.aspx for a complete list of faculty, photos, and bios.


Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Interview lesson… $33 (30-minute)

Annual Family Registration Fee...  $45

30-minute lessons... $132/month

45-minute lessons... $196/month

60-minute lessons... $260/month

Coaching Sessions… $75 per private 60-minute session

Group Classes… see details on website at cmslv.org


How did you get started teaching?

CMS was founded in Allentown, PA in 1981 by Martha Maletz, Jean Fox, Beatrice Allen, Marilyn Pinschmidt, and Judith Moyer, who were leading music teachers in the community. Their goal was to provide access to high-quality music education, especially for disadvantaged urban youth; they committed to teach "the talented, the hobbyist, the musically curious, the disabled and the disadvantaged." The mission of Community Music School, the founders determined, was "to provide the finest music education to all children, regardless of sex, race, religion, eth-nic origin, or the ability to pay."

Initially located in the basement education wing of St. John's Lutheran Church on S. Fifth St., CMS launched instruction in piano and voice in 1982. In 2004, CMS moved operations from the Church to our current headquarters in the Fowler Education Wing on the second floor of Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown.

In August 2015, CMS acquired the assets of the former Community School of Music and the Arts (CSMA) in Reading. CSMA was founded in 1956 by Werner Von Trapp and Peter LaManna. The mission of CSMA was very closely aligned with that of CMS - - to operate as a nonprofit educational institution for teaching, making music and other fine arts known throughout the community. Mr. Von Trapp was part of the Trapp Family Singers, made famous by the renowned movie, The Sound of Music. For nearly 40 years, Mr. Cedric Elmer served as CSMA's Managing Director until his retirement in 2013. In 2015, the CSMA Board completed a strategic review of the organization and determined that the best path forward would be for CSMA to merge with a larger music school. The CMS and CSMA Boards approved the merger in June 2015, and CMS Reading launched in August 2015.

In the fall of 2018, CMS moved its Allentown operations to historic 1544 Hamilton Street, the former Lehigh Valley Club. The renovated space offers 12 lesson rooms of varying sizes, a unique parent lounge, early childhood room, music library, administrative offices, a 150-seat recital hall, and free parking.


What types of students have you worked with?

The mission of CMS is to provide everyone with access to a quality music education. While the majority of CMS students are ages 5-18, a growing number of adults and retirees are rediscovering the joy of music.

 

Our teachers work with students of all ages and abilities, including those with physical and cognitive challenges.  Music therapy is also available by request.

 

Students benefit most from on-going weekly lessons, but we also offer coaching sessions for those students whose goals are more specific, such as preparing a piece for audition in a school musical.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

 When the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of several major student recitals, CMS students produced a virtual recital with a "live" watch party on YouTube.  The replay is available here https://youtu.be/EYxxO6lcINc.

Performing in front of a live audience is an important part of the Community Music School experience and is key to developing well-rounded musicians.  CMS encourages students of all levels and ages to perform when they are ready, with permission from their teacher.  Numerous free performance opportunities are available, including both in-house recitals and community events.  Thanks to our generous donors, all CMS recitals are free for students to participate and free for the public to attend.


What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

All teachers have slightly different teaching styles. It's best to be upfront with the teacher about you or your child's goals so you can work together to reach them. Are you just playing for fun or studying to audition for a college music program? CMS offers interview lessons ($33 each 30-minute lesson) and you may interview with as many different teachers as you like to find one that fits best for you.  Visit our website http://cmslv.org/faculty.aspx for a complete list of faculty, photos, and bios.


What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What are your goals? Do you love to sing and want to learn how to get the full potential out of your voice? Do you just want to learn what all those funny dots and lines mean? Learning to play an instrument is a commitment. Do you have time to devote to practicing regularly?

 

Do you or your child have any physical or cognitive challenges that might necessitate a customized teaching approach?  

 

For parents looking to get their young children started, while the maturity level varies from child to child, most children age 5 or older have an adequate attention span for a 30-minute lesson. CMS recommends piano or violin for beginners, because these instruments give access to the full range of the musical scale, allowing the student to develop a solid foundation for future musical development. This allows students to learn to read notes on both the treble and bass clefs and to develop hand/eye coordination.

 

Please visit: http://cmslv.org/frequently_asked_questions.aspx