Community Music School Launches Pay What You Can Initiative | Community


BOONE – The Community School of Music, which has offered private music lessons to High Country residents for more than a decade, has revamped its curriculum for the COVID-19 era and introduced a new model of payment transactions to will intended to expand public access to the program.

When the spread of COVID-19 canceled face-to-face classes in March, the Community School of Music adapted by launching its classes into the digital age.

“In March 2020, our CMS team quickly brought all of our programs online and two-thirds of our one-to-one students switched to online courses. Our teachers have adapted their teaching methods to Zoom courses, and it’s great to see our students develop their artistry and skills without interruption, ”said Nicole Sonbert, professor at the Hayes School of Music, Appalachian State .

However, the transition from school to digital has not been without its drawbacks.

“As with many educational institutions, accessing technology can be a challenge for some of our families; not all families have enough devices for the whole family’s work and activities, ”said Sonbert.

Nonetheless, the school continued to push for accessibility of its curriculum with the introduction of a new “pay what you can” initiative aimed at giving students from all walks of life the opportunity to express themselves through music, a task that the Community Music school considers important for both students and teachers.

“You never know how much these experiences can mean to someone on their personal or musical journey, and we don’t want to turn anyone away for their inability to pay,” Sonbert said. “Our program pays what you can trust each participating family to contribute what they can, and it’s inspiring to see the community come together to fund a group class. Tuition assistance is available for private lessons thanks to our donors. We welcome donations to help make this program possible for more and more students.

The Community Music School is a Boone-based non-profit organization that currently has 24 teachers, but also includes a large team of graduate and undergraduate students from Appalachian State who, with the generosity of their donors, are making progress in ensuring that the musical arts are accessible to all, regardless of age. The Pay What You Can program initiative currently offers various pricing options for group lessons, with tuition assistance available for private lessons.

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