The App State Community School of Music continues to make the musical arts accessible to all ages; Registrations for spring group courses are open until February 5


The Appalachian Youth Choir at the Community Music School pictured during a rehearsal in January 2020. Photo courtesy of the Community Music School

By Harley Nefe

The Community Music School at Appalachian State University is a non-profit organization that proudly serves Boone and the surrounding communities by making the musical arts accessible to people of all ages.

The Community Music School has been offering private lessons in and around Boone for over 10 years and offers private music lessons for all ages, which are currently held online. In addition to private music lessons, Community Music School also offers online group music lessons for ages 5-18. Registrations for spring group lessons are open until February 5, with classes starting the week of February 15.

The fall semester was the community music school’s first online semester, and the community music school’s program manager, Lisl Doughton, said it was a big success.

“Our teachers have been creative in adapting their classroom materials to an online format and engaging students,” said Doughton. “We were able to create a virtual music community and help our students express themselves through music.

In the fall, 84 students registered with Community Music School for all online courses and lessons offered. Some students have enrolled in more than one program.

Katie Snodgrass takes a piano lesson on Zoom with CMS teacher Molly Reid. Photo courtesy of the Community Music School

“We were excited to see that we were able to bring music to so many people, especially when normal gatherings were limited, and online events are one of the best ways for people to connect,” he said. said Doughton.

Classes and online courses were a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic; However, the new method of teaching allowed Community Music School to reach students from near and far – some students were as far away as Arizona and Washington. Online education is also a benefit for students who cannot travel to town to attend lessons or classes, and the technology component allows students to be taught differently.

“After teaching online for several months, my students did not lose motivation and continued to develop musically,” said Bryan Culler, flute teacher at Community Music School. “Although the different format brought its challenges, it allowed me to maintain and develop my teaching style with my students by adapting and learning alongside them.”

Maggie Quigley, a flute student from Culler, said: “I have been taking lessons at Community Music School for four years, and the reason that has led me to enroll over and over again is quality education from people who care about seeing you improve. , whatever your level of play. Even if the situation was out of the ordinary, the program maintained its integrity. For example, even though my instructor and I couldn’t perform together like we normally would, he sent me recordings of himself that I could practice with.

The community school also offers a “Pay What You Can” model which offers various pricing options for group classes.

“It is extremely important to our mission to invite all interested students to join our courses,” said Doughton. “A student’s musical ability and creative passion is not about what he or his family can pay. Our “Pay What You Can” program allows the community to come together to make courses accessible to everyone. “

In addition, tuition assistance is available for students to cover the costs of private lessons and group lessons. Help with tuition fees is made possible through donations. Interested sponsors can donate to the Give Now Community Music School! page to or they can contact the director of the community music school Dr. Nicole Sonbert by email at [email protected] for more information.

Online group lessons for ages 5-18 to be offered this spring include piano, guitar, ukulele and drums in addition to the Hit Maker! (writing and production), Appalachian Youth Chorale, Appalachian Vocal Academy and the Appalachian Youth Orchestra classes.

Student Hannah Barton said: “My experience with Hit Maker! was really fun and different. I learned to do something new and write my own music for the first time. I thought it was awesome! “

New this spring, the Appalachian Vocal Academy now offers three levels of courses and topics for high school students interested in developing their acting and hearing skills.

Students who register for group lessons will also receive two 20-minute private lessons with teachers or class assistants.

Also new this semester, Community Music School’s online private lessons now include drums, clarinet, trombone and yoga as well as piano, voice, guitar, violin, viola, cello, flute and trumpet lessons. New students in private lessons can start at any time of the year; however, tuition assistance is available for private lessons in full semester packages. These students must register before the February 5 deadline.

Dr Shawn Roberts demonstrates the drums to use in his online course “Let’s Play Drums!” Photo by Leslie Roberts

The community music school is also proud to announce its new program “Let’s Play Drums! »Online course for 12-18 year olds, which is supported by a grant from the CN Arts Council, a division of the Ministry of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Community Music School would like to thank the Watauga Arts Council and Watauga Arts Council Executive Director Amber Bateman, who helped make the course possible for the Community Music School through the Grassroots grant.

“We are very excited and grateful for the grant from the Watauga Arts Council! Amber Bateman, Executive Director of WAC, has worked very hard to help us deliver this music program, ”said Dr Nicole Sonbert, Director of the Community Music School. “We hope to continue to develop and expand accessibility to music programming and work with our community partners to collaborate in these efforts. We hope that by working together, our community will continue to feel empowered to connect, discover and create through the arts.

This spring, those enrolled in any program will have access to live workshops on music theory and creative music making hosted on ZOOM and a series of pre-recorded workshops on mind-body connections for the artist from the show.

Overall, Doughton said teachers at Community Music School are looking forward to another great semester this spring.

“We have a lot of fun making music together and I love seeing young people getting inspired by music for the very first time,” said Dr Meg Stohlmann, director of the Appalachian Youth Chorale. “That’s why I love my job so much – plus I’ve learned so much from all of my students! “

Many of the students who were registered in the fall have already registered to return for the spring semester.

Hayes School of Music Dean, Dr James Douthit said, “The Community Music School is just one way the Mariam Cannon Hayes Music School brings music to our community. In a traditional year, we offer nearly 200 free concerts open to the public. We open our doors and share our space with bands and orchestras in the district, and of course, we offer the Cannon Music Camp in the summer. The Community Music School not only creates an opportunity for our community, but it serves as a laboratory for the students who teach and work with this program. We look forward to the continued growth of the community music school.

For more information about Community Music School’s online private lessons and group lessons, individuals can visit the website Registration for group courses is open until Friday, February 5. Interested musicians can also email the community music school at [email protected] or call them at 828-262-3029.

Lisl Doughton gives a cello lesson on Zoom. Photo courtesy of the Community Music School
David Harris, teacher of the online program “Hit Maker!” »Songwriting and song production course. Photo courtesy of the Community Music School
Jenna Kyber, “Let’s Play Ukulele! “,” Let’s Play Guitar! “And” Let’s Play Piano! »Photo courtesy of the Community Music School
Katie Snodgrass writes a song using online software. Photo courtesy of the Community Music School

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