UM’s Community School of Music enriches

Published 5:27 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2014

By SUZANNE OZMENT / Guest Columnist

Music enriches the human experience. For that reason, the Department of Music at the University of Montevallo is dedicated to extending music education beyond the degree programs it offers to reach citizens in the surrounding region. The University’s Community School of Music (CSM) is “instrumental” in making that happen.

CSM was founded in 1972 to recruit undergraduate music majors but has expanded throughout the years to provide music instruction to students of all ability levels and ages — from elementary school children to senior citizens. A member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, CSM offers voice and instrumental lessons at affordable rates.

The CSM provides a much-needed source of music education to children in central Alabama whose schools do not offer music. The program has strong partnerships with area organizations including the Shelby County Arts Council, the public libraries in Montevallo and Calera, the Boys and Girls Club and regional homeschool groups. Over the years, the pro-gram has been supported by grants from D’Addario Music Foundation, the Guitar Center and the Alabama Arts Council.

The “community” served by CSM is broadly defined. Each semester, students from the surrounding area travel to campus to take lessons from highly qualified instructors, many of whom teach music at the University. Most hold advanced or terminal degrees in music performance or music education.

Recitals and concerts presented by both CSM students and faculty are offered free of charge to the public, with performances often taking place in local libraries. Also free are weekly “musicianship” classes for children ages five to 11. The “Montevallo Music Connection” program provides eligible local children the opportunity to take classes with professional musicians free of charge or at a reduced cost.

CSM students have won a number of music awards. Recently, a guitar student was named first chair in percussion in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Honor Band, and a high-school-age voice student won first place in his district for outstanding choral student and will be advancing to the state-level competition.

To see a CSM photo gallery, find faculty profiles, or register for lessons at the UM Community School of Music, visit UM’s website at


Suzanne Ozment is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Montevallo.