Music program open to all students

Ashanka Kumari

The Community Music School offers an alternative to students interested in taking instrumental or vocal lessons without pursuing a music degree.

A branch of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Community Music School is the outreach program for The University of Alabama School of Music, Jane Weigel, coordinator of the Community Music School, said.

“We offer private lessons in just about any Western orchestra instrument, band instrument, piano, organ and the natural voice,” Weigel said. “We offer classes that are for adult strings and anyone can enjoy including faculty, UA students and people in the community.”

Created in the early 1980s, the Community Music School is an accredited member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and offers classes to students of all ages and levels of ability.

Cynthia Simpson, a senior majoring in horn performance, works as a desk assistant for the Community Music School and teaches private horn lessons and a music enrichment class for fourth and fifth grade students at the Tuscaloosa Magnet School.

“Music training is so valuable for people of all ages,” Simpson said. “I’m especially proud to work with this organization.”

Parents are given the opportunity to expose their children to music through the Community Music School’s Kindermusik program from birth to age seven, Weigel said.

“We have newborns enrolled in our Kindermusik program, middle and high school kids in our Chamber Strings and Tuscaloosa Youth Orchestra ensembles, and adults through their 70s taking lessons and participating in the Adult Strings program,” Simpson said. “Music lessons do so much for the learning and development of young children, and the Adult Strings program is such a treat for many older adults.”

The Adult Strings program, founded and taught by music education instructor Anne C. Witt, offers classes for adults interested in learning violin, viola, cello or string bass at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. At the end of each semester, students in the Adult Strings program give a short, informal concert.

“I love the mixture of people we have in the classes – from undergraduates to 80 and older,” Witt said. “Working with adults has greatly enriched my life and added significantly to my enjoyment of teaching.”

Students cannot receive academic credit for classes taken through the Community Music School and no UA students are required to take the classes, Witt said.

The majority of classes are offered in the Moody Music Building or other locations on the UA campus with few off-campus classes, Weigel said. Everyone is required to own their own instruments except in the Kindermusik area.

On Sunday, Oct. 28 the Community Music School will host “Halloween in Oz,” a carnival fundraiser to assist in raising money to provide scholarship funding for the community, Weigel said. The event will be at the Moody Music Building from 2 to 4 p.m.

“There will be people dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz, and there is a costume parade,” Weigel said. “It’s a pretty fun couple of hours for the community.”