Community Music School - Lehigh Valley & Berks

Community Music School - Lehigh Valley & Berks

Best of 2020
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.  

Our Berks studio is located in the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading where we have several affiliate teachers available:

Julie Gottschall, piano

Contact:  [email protected], 610-468-5356

Kate Uhler, clarinet, guitar, piano, saxophone, viola, violin, voice

Contact: [email protected], 239-201-6500

Juan Palacios, piano (en Español)

Contact:  [email protected], 610-916-2008

All scheduling and payment is arranged directly with the individual teacher.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at the Allentown office.  

To learn more visit or email [email protected]

Follow CMS on Facebook at

We strive to not only nurture budding musicians, but allow all children access to the life-long benefits of music study – increased concentration, persistence of practice, responsibility of caring for their instrument, and performing with others.

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Reading, PA 19601
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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 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.

All scheduling and payment is arranged directly with the individual teacher.  

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 Fall 2018, CMS moved its main downtown Allentown location to a more accessible location with free parking at 1544 Hamilton Street - the former Lehigh Valley Club.

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.  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.  Music therapy is also available by request.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

We believe that performance is an important part of becoming a well-rounded musician and encourage students of all abilities to participate. CMS offers all students numerous opportunities to perform, once they are ready to do so. These opportunities include both in-house recitals as well as performances in the community. To participate in a recital, students should discuss the opportunity with their teacher. All CMS recitals are free & open to the public!  Visit our website for a complete list of recitals and events:

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?

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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? 

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.

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