Boone — The Community School of Music, which has offered private music lessons to High Country residents for over a decade, has revamped its program for the COVID-19 era and introduced a new pay-what-you-can operations model intended to broaden public access to the program.
When the spread of COVID-19 nixed face-to-face lessons back in March, the Community School of Music adapted by launching their classes into the digital age.
“In March 2020, our CMS team quickly moved all of our programs online and two-thirds of our private lesson students made the transition to online lessons. Our teachers have adapted their teaching methods to Zoom lessons, and it’s been great to see our students developing their artistry and skills without interruption,” said Nicole Sonbert, a professor with the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State.
The school’s switch to digital, however, has not come without its disadvantages.
“As with many educational settings, access to technology can be a challenge for some of our families; not every family has enough devices for the whole family’s work and activities,” said Sonbert.
Nonetheless, the school has continued to push for accessibility to their program with the introduction of a new pay-what-you-can initiative aimed to give students from all walks of life the opportunity to express themselves through music,- a task which the Community Music School feels is important to both students and teachers alike.
“You never know how much these experiences could mean to someone in their personal or musical journey, and we don’t want to turn anyone away for their inability to pay,” Sonbert said. “Our pay-what-you-can program trusts 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 to more and more students.”
The Community Music School is a Boone-based nonprofit currently boasting 24 teachers, but also comprising a large team of both graduate and undergraduate student workers from Appalachian State who, along with the generosity of their donors, are making strides to ensure the musical arts are accessible for all people regardless of age.
The program’s pay-what-you can initiative currently offers various pricing options for group classes, with tuition assistance available for private lessons.