A New Beginning Through Music: A feature on the MSU Community Music School

Spread the love

The gift of music is something to be cherished. Music provides more than just sound to those involved; it is a way to express feelings on a level that exceeds all other forms. With schools making cuts to arts programs, parents and communities are at a loss. Michigan State University College of Music has found a way to give this gift back to their community by creating the Michigan State University Community Music School (CMS). This subdivision of the college brings music education and music therapy to all individuals within the community. 

Since its founding in 1993, the goal of CMS, according to its website, has been “to offer music and its inherent possibilities to everyone in the community regardless of age, ability or income.” Their East Lansing school offers private lessons on over 20 different instruments, more than 15 classes and ensembles, five different summer camps and music therapy. Anyone is welcome at CMS, with students’ ages ranging from infancy to 90 plus, and financial aid is offered to those in need. 

Music services provided by CMS programs have the ability to change lives. Clients involved in music therapy have spoken their first words at CMS, and young music students who were struggling academically have found the confidence and resolve to succeed in school. Others have found their professional calling at CMS and have gone on to study music at the collegiate level. 

Community and a sense of belonging can be found here for those who once felt isolated and lost. Director Jamie DeMott experiences this firsthand. She has many favorite activities within the school, but she particularly enjoys “watching students enjoy themselves in classes, ensemble rehearsals or recitals and concerts.” Not only is CMS beneficial to the students, but it also helps its workers gain real-world teaching experience. David Moul, a senior in the College of Music, loves working at CMS: “It gives me a chance to connect with the community and put into practice what I’m learning in my classes. It’s a huge asset to be able to work with real students in real ensembles and classes.” 

The need for more arts education is not specific to the Lansing area, but is a problem across the state of Michigan. In fall 2009, a second CMS opened in Detroit’s Cultural Corridor to serve Metro Detroit residents. It offers youth and adult classes in jazz, piano and guitar; group music lessons in wind and string instruments; early childhood music education and summer camps. As the needs of the community become apparent, more programs are being added. 

 All events held by CMS are open to the public, so show your support and be sure to check out performances throughout December. For more information, visit cms.msu.edu. 


Calender of Events

December 7

2 and 4 pm
Studio Recital for students of Sue Garber (violin)
CMS Performance Hall 

December 11

5:30 pm
Suzuki Winter Concert
CMS Performance Hall 

December 13

3 pm
All School Recital
CMS Performance Hall 

December 14

3 pm
New Horizons Band
Combined Concert
CMS Concert Performance Hall


Lynnette Roth is a senior studying creative writing. She loves life, sewing, fall and her husband. Her closet has more shoes than clothes, and she believes that coffee is the only way to survive.


Tags: December