Interview with CMC’s New Executive Director: Julie Rulyak Steinberg

Julie Rulyak Steinberg’s career is one of nonprofit advancement and strategy coupled with a passion for community music education. Prior to joining Community Music Center, Julie served as the Executive Director of Turtle Bay Music School in New York City. Turtle Bay Music School is a founding member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and one of the oldest and most reputable community music schools in the country. Prior to working with TBMS, Julie was the Managing Director of Cynthia Glacken Associates, a leader in nonprofit communications, strategy, and design.


You started at CMC on September 18. How have your first few weeks been?

Julie: I’m so grateful to be at Community Music Center. It’s an incredible honor and opportunity for me. I am in awe of CMC and its mission and incredible legacy, and by how many people are touched by CMC’s programs each year.

Everyone has been so welcoming and kind in my first few weeks. I’ve loved learning about their hopes and dreams for the Center, and what CMC means to this community. As I’m trying to understand all the ways that CMC touches lives, the perspectives of the people who are closest to the organization have been really helpful. I’ve been trying to take in every facet of CMC like a sponge, and it’s no easy feat. There’s so much going on here and so much to get one’s arms and mind around—but I’m really enjoying the challenge!


What drew you to CMC and a career in community arts education?

Julie: I think what drew me to the field of community arts is the idea that tapping into creativity and making broad connections is essential to thriving communities, and that local organizations like CMC are critical to help make big-picture understanding possible. To me what’s important about community music-making is bringing people together with an instrument (pardon the pun!) to create bonds of acceptance and change. Music connects people, people who might not otherwise meet or share their lives with one another. I believe that making music together helps people find common understanding and common purpose. To me, finding joy in making music is equally as important and valuable as pursuing, say, a rigorous professional career. And at CMC, you can do both!

There is also immeasurable value in the contributions our faculty members make to our mission, and there’s so much that professional musicians can share with students that goes beyond technique and repertoire. Studying music engages people to really listen, and it builds confidence. There is also something essential about challenging yourself, pushing yourself beyond perceived limits to achieve something you might have thought possible. In a community music setting, there’s an incredible amount of teaching and learning that has nothing to do with music.


How does your training as a singer and teacher inform your work?

Julie: As a teacher, you’re always keeping a holistic view in mind as you teach different aspects of your subject, knowing that each element you share with students supports greater overall understanding. As an arts administrator, you have to keep the big picture in mind while tracking how all the day-to-day pieces are working together.

As a singer performing with others, your performance affects everyone, and something unpredictable always happens on stage! Being part of an arts organization, you make room for the unexpected too, and no matter what the show must go on!


What’s on your short list for completing your first month at CMC?

Julie: My most important goal is to speak fluent CMC as quickly as possible. I want to get to know all the people, the different facets and inner workings, the procedures, the finances, and the opportunities that are in front of the organization. I am wide open to learning and feedback. My hope is to also “tend the garden” as I’m learning, building relationships that exist at CMC, and helping to forge new ones. I also hope that, maybe just maybe, I’ll get to make some music with my new colleagues, too.


What do you like to do in your spare time?
Julie: I try to spend lots of time with my family, especially my husband and my two-year-old son. I love choral singing and hope that, in time, I’ll find a new group to sing with – I’m open to suggestions! I also love to run, and I am hoping to get back to triathlon, too. Oh, and I’m in search of the best taco in San Francisco, so I hope CMC friends will point me in the right direction, or better yet, join me for one!

See the press release and Julie’s bio for more information about her career highlights. Also, check out her welcome letter.

Student profile: Greg Kehret bass player for CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble

If you are around CMC’s Mission Branch during lunchtime, chances are you’ve heard someone hammering out scales on double bass. Chances are it’s Greg Kehret. Greg is the bass player for CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble. He often jumps on Bart from his downtown work office at Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, spending his precious lunch breaks practicing. Like many musicians, Greg heard about CMC through word of mouth. A guitar teacher he know mentioned former CMC faculty Chus Alonso and the Latin-Flamenco ensemble he directed.

“Chus put me on a path of diving into Afro-Cuban music…The skills Chus taught me really prepared me for playing in the Cuban Charanga Ensemble,” says Greg.

Greg has been with CMC Cuban Charanga Ensemble since it formed three years ago. One of the things he loves about the ensemble is the music. “The music is great, it compels you to dance!”

On Wednesday nights, he meets with other ensemble members and Director Tregar Otton to rehearse and fine tune the arrangements that Tregar creates for the group. The ensemble is a regular installment with performances at the Mission Arts and Performance Project every other month in CMC’s concert hall. These free events are vibrant and well-attended, with a dance lesson and two sets of music.

One of the other things that Greg enjoys about the ensemble is the “community spirit.”

“The ensemble practice on Wednesdays is the high point of many people’s weeks. Everyone is friendly and down to participate. There is a spirit there.” He adds, “Everyone bring the best they have to offer. It’s light and fresh and free of pressures of a gigging band.”

Keep your eyes on the CMC event calendar for the next Afro-Cuban Dance Party featuring CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble!

Welcoming Aron and David to CMC staff!

Meet Aron Kidane, CMC Senior Accountant

Aron started at the beginning of October and has been getting up to speed on the many systems that keep CMC running!

What do you think of CMC so far?

I’m still learning. I am enjoying the people I work with. It’s a very cooperative atmosphere. I am impressed by CMC’s mission and like seeing the students and hearing the music. I am still new here, but I think CMC is an amazing organization.

What’s your background?

I was born Asmara, Eritrea but lived in South Africa for college. I did a masters in financial management in Pretoria, South Africa and came to the United States in 2005. I’ve been an accountant for 10 years, seven of those years for nonprofits. I worked for ConnectEd an organization in Berkeley that helps young underprivileged high school student with college and career readiness. I worked with an organization in San Rafael that provides direct services to people with disabilities. I prefer working for nonprofits, because I love the different missions. I like working with people who are passionate and visionary about helping people and I’m impressed at how people work hard to help people in the community and state.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I consider myself a sports junky! I love playing soccer. I’m into all kinds of sports. I love watching Arsenal Football Club from England. I like local teams; the Warriors and Raiders.  I like traveling and have traveled to different countries.

Are you a music lover?

I love music of all types. A couple favorite artists are John Meyer and “The Boss.”
I always wanted to play the guitar. I’ll need a very patient teacher!



Introducing David Dezern, CMC Associate Registrar Mission Branch

David’s first day was October 24. He has been learning all about the registration processes and systems, as Winter Quarter approaches.

How have your first couple of weeks been? What do you think of CMC?

I don’t like to judge a book by its cover, but I have a good feeling so far! People seem nice and upbeat, as you would expect from a place that has music as the focus. It’s hard to be anything but happy when you’ve got a song in your head.

I hear that you come to CMC with a background in administration at other educational institutions. Tell me about some of the other work you’ve done.

I worked for many years at a progressive seminary called Starr King School for the Ministry. First as the Executive Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty and then as Director of Faculty Services. It was similar to CMC in the sense that it was very student-centered, and intentional about wanting to form “whole” people, with the arts as a major component of that.

I worked in a lot of different areas while I was there, which gave me a good overview of how a school works from different angles and perspectives. I built calendars, procedure manuals and course catalogs. I worked with faculty schedules and contracts and everyday office duties. I helped register students and was always looking for new ways to streamline the process to make it easier and more understandable. I taught classes and assisted with faculty hiring and training around pedagogies. I co-chaired the school’s accreditation committee and worked on their comprehensive strategic plan.

There was always a new program or event that they were trying to establish, so I got to see how those got built from scratch, from just an idea through to implementation, and then hopefully folding it into the regular routine and procedures so that it would be institutionalized and administered into the future. I learned that calling something a “special project” was a good way to get an idea started, but if you wanted it to last you had to incorporate it into the regular order — not leave it hanging as separate thing.

What do you like about this kind of work?

I think music and the arts are very important for both personal well-being and for society as a whole. Just imagine how much better we’d be if world leaders spent more time getting in touch with beauty and the arts!

I find that my administrative skills are the best way that I’m able to support that goal. My mind has always been attuned to thinking about systems, structures, holistic processes. I’m still learning my way around, but my hope would be to help the registrar’s office work as efficiently and painlessly as possible, so that our students and faculty could focus on the music.

Any other interests or hobbies you’d care to share? Have you studied music?

I also love watching movies. Blockbusters are ok, but it’s usually the smaller independent and foreign films that I find most interesting. I like things that give me a different perspective and challenge the norms.

I started playing the tuba in sixth grade, and continued for eleven years until I graduated from college. I was very active in the concert and marching bands. It kept me out of trouble (most of the time!), and marching around with a sousaphone strapped on me was good exercise. It also allowed me to travel since the bands would go on concert tours and performances. My high school marching band won the state marching championship one year. We were in several different bowl game parades, and I got to visit Ireland when my college band visited there.

New CMC ensemble explores rhythm as a universal language

Photo by Julie Sparenberg


On the heels of a six-city concert tour of India, internationally acclaimed instructor Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy is back in San Francisco to teach an Indian Rhythm Ensemble class at Community Music Center. This no experience necessary ensemble is open to all ages and explores a variety of traditional Indian percussion instruments as well as an exciting form of Indian vocal percussion (konnakol) similar to beatboxing. In the ensemble, participants learn universal techniques and approaches to Indian rhythm with a focus on the ancient South Indian Carnatic tradition.

How was the tour?
Rohan: It was a great experience touring all over India most of September in The Park’s New Festival. I toured with a wonderful singer (Roopa Mahadevan), violinist (Anjna Swaminathan), and pianist (Guy Mintus) friends of mine, playing cross-genre repertoire, drawing on the Indian Classical tradition along with jazz, soul, and spoken word. The pieces we played were newly composed or arranged exploring how the quartet could interpret sounds in a cross-genre framework. During the tour, I performed on a hybrid kit that I’ve been developing that explores the boundaries between hand drumming and stick drumming on drum set.

How did you conceive of the Indian Rhythm Ensemble at CMC?
Rohan: I have had this idea since I moved to San Francisco in 2013. I wanted to create an artistic and cultural offering to San Francisco–something accessible to all people in the city. I wanted to bring in people of different ages, backgrounds, and musical levels to explore the universal language of rhythm. I was aware of Community Music Center’s devotion to making music accessible to all people. I love this idea of access and thought that CMC would be a fitting place to create this rhythm class.
I received a San Francisco Arts Commission grant to compose a piece about San Francisco’s rhythmscapes and to start this new class. Thanks to the San Francisco Arts Commission we were able to buy really wonderful traditional Indian instruments for the ensemble, and I premiered the work in progress 7X7 last April 2017.

Tell me about the ensemble?
Rohan: The rhythm ensemble is open to all ages, backgrounds, and levels. You don’t have to be a drummer. You don’t need a musical background. The ensemble explores rhythm as a universal process. It’s not genre specific. We use simple exercises to clap and speak the rhythms. It’s a very accessible and natural way of engaging in learning rhythm. These type of exercises are foundational in Indian rhythm studies. One unique thing about this ensemble is CMC has a full set of traditional Indian drums, thanks to the grant. There are very few places either colleges or music schools that have a collection like this one.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the ensemble?
Rohan: I try my best to not predict the future but, I’d love to see the ensemble become a nexus for all types of people (musicians and non-musicians alike), to connect and explore different concepts of rhythm. Rhythm is a unifying concept. It’s the thing that ties music together as well as many of life’s processes. I see the ensemble as a place for understanding and experientially exploring rhythm. I hope it benefits and brings together many types of people in our community. I’d love to see the students apply the concepts in creative ways that are meaningful to them.

Register now for CMC’s Indian Rhythm Ensemble!

Congratulations 2018 Shenson Series Grant Recipients!

Each year, The Shenson Foundation sponsors four free community concerts for CMC faculty music projects. The faculty members and their ensembles are selected by a committee of musicians from CMC’s Board of Directors. It’s truly a difficult decision for the Board Committee–there are indeed many wonderful proposals.

The following faculty were selected for the 2018 Shenson Faculty Concert Series. Stay tuned for concert announcements for these projects!


Cecilia Pena-Govea: trumpet, guira, vocals

Cecilia Peña-Govea and group

Cecilia Pena-Govea and her musical collaborators have chosen repertoire that encompasses five different continents and countless countries. With an interest in the diasporic nature of music, they will perform songs that have traveled thousands of miles, music of people who have traversed the world through enslavement, or who have sought political and economic refuge. Their musical performance will present music from the traditions of the Romani people of Hindustan, songs Santeria religious practices, and Mexican rancheras valseadas. Their musical themes are transborder existing and thriving across borders and in borderlands. The group’s material is concerned with remembering ancient tribulations of migration, labor, nation building, love, and promoting cultural healing through musical traditions. As a group comprised of young musicians native to District 9 in San Francisco, it is important for them to use traditional music as well as original pieces to maintain their cultural ground in a rapidly changing San Francisco.

Miguel Leon-Cajon, bata, tapan, vocals
Aya Davidson-Violin, oud, charango, vocals
Mireya Leon-Bass, percussion, vocals

Paul Dab, piano and Abigail Shiman, violin

Paul Dab

Their concert celebrates the 136th birthday of Igor Stravinsky. The program includes compositions from throughout his life, representing three stylistic periods: early Russian period, Neoclassical period, and Serial period. This concert is part of a series that celebrates composers through performance and discussion. The musicians will present program notes about their pieces during the concert and afterward, engage with the audience while enjoying a reception of wine, cheese, and dessert. Stravinsky’s music was highly controversial in its time and its influence shaped the trajectory of music in the 20th Century. This birthday party concert will share his legacy with our community.

Anne Hepburn Smith, coloratura soprano
James Pytko, clarinet
Joseph Colombo, composer

Omar Ledezma, voice and percussion

Omar Ledezma and Javier Cabanillas

Drawing on a Pan-American array of rhythms, the high-energy ensemble will share the astounding versatility of the humble cajon: a simple wooden box usually played by a percussionist seated atop it. Repertoire will a feature a traditional Afro-Venezuelan chant, original songs that highlight Brazilian, Caribbean, and Colombian rhythms, in addition to other musical selections.

Javier Cabanillas: voice, percussion
Pedro Rosales: voice, percussion
Jose Roberto Hernandez: guitar, voice, percussion
Braulio Barrera: voice, percussion

Jennifer Peringer, piano and Martha Rodriguez-Salazar, flute and voice

Jennifer Peringer and Martha Rodriguez Salazar

The theme of the concert will be “A Listening Quilt: Contemporary Chamber Music by Women Composers from North and South America.” The music will feature diversity on multiple levels: cultural, geographical and stylistic. The program focuses on the work of women composers, historically underrepresented on the global stage.

Rachel Condry, clarinet (CMC faculty member)
Jill Brindel, cello (SFSO member)

All About the Kids: CMC classes for infants to 12-year-olds

CMC and kids music classes for infants to 12-year-olds
Our philosophy of music education holds that musicianship and a love for music start young and can be of great developmental impact for children. According to current scientific research, children who participate in musical activities enjoy cognitive, social, communication, and somatic benefits. Over the past couple of years, CMC has continued to grow its program of kids classes to offer children a fun environment to discover music while supporting these developmental impacts. No experience is necessary!


CMC Chiquitos

For infants to seven-year-olds: Musical bonding, interaction, and exploration
These three classes offer an introduction to singing, rhythmic activities and musical play.
Family Music and CMC Chiquitos are for infants to three-year-olds and provide unique “musical bonding” experiences for the child and caregiver. They play music together – for example, where adults sing and move with the children. CMC Chiquitos also includes a bilingual component where children learn Spanish words and phrases in tandem with learning musical activities and rhythms. Music has been shown to be a great support for kids in learning a new language. Music classes for children under three that include interactive musical activities have been found to help with communication and social development.

Music for Children is for ages four to seven. The class supports the development of musicianship through rhythm games, songs, creative movement, and the use of Orff instruments. Children are introduced to symphonic instruments and experiment with the way sounds are produced. In a casual and playful environment, children are introduced to the foundations of music.

For eight to 12-year-olds: Musical skills, cooperation, and listening
Group classes for this age range focus on developing rhythmic and melodic skills on a specific instruments in a fun group environment.

Children’s Chorus helps kids to explore and develop their voices through choral singing. Young singers learn how to blend with a group while learning ear training, sight singing, and performance skills. This class emphasizes cooperation, teamwork, and fun.


Guitar students at CMC

Group Guitar for Kids introduces children to guitar in a social environment. Kids learn to play in rhythm and internalize melody and song. Young guitar players learn songs from folk, rock, popular, and world music genres.

Percussion for Kids teaches kids about music with songs and rhythms. Children play Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and learn about dynamics, sound quality, rhythm, following a conductor, and listening to one another.

Percussion for Kids faculty Omar Ledezma teaching timbales


Class information
CMC Chiquitos
Ages: Infant to three-years-old
Locations, Days and Times:
Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 11:00–11:45am
Instructor: Susan Peña
Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)
Ask us about our referral discount!

Family Music
Ages: Infant to three-years-old
Location, Days and Times:
Mission District Branch, Tuesdays, 9:30–10:15am Mission District Branch class not being offered in Fall Quarter
Richmond District Branch, Mondays, 10:30–11:15am
Instructor: Diane Aurelius
Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)
Ask us about our referral discount!

Music for Children
Locations, Days and Times:
Mission District Branch, Wednesdays
3:45-4:30pm for ages four and five
4:30-5:15pm for ages four and five
5:30-6:15pm for ages six and seven
6:30-7:15pm for ages six and seven

Richmond District Branch, Saturdays
9:30am–10:15am for ages four to seven

Children’s Chorus
Ages: Eight to 12-year-olds
Location, Days and Times: Mission District Branch, Mondays and Wednesdays, 4-5:30pm
Instructors: Beth Wilmurt, Director; John Kyrk, Accompanist.
Tuition: None. $45 annual registration fee.

Group Guitar for Kids
Ages: Eight to 12-year-olds
Locations, Days and Times:
Mission District Branch. Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30pm
Instructor: Erik Pearson
Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)

Percussion for Kids
Ages: Eight to 12-year-olds
Location, Days and Times:
Mission District Branch
Mondays 5:15 – 6:15pm
Instructors: Omar Ledezma Jr. with guest artists
Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)

Nuts and Bolts: Theory and Musicianship at CMC

New CMC Ear Training faculty Erick Peralta

New Ear Training faculty
This Fall Quarter Community Music Center welcomes a new addition to CMC’s Theory and Musicianship faculty. Erick Peralta, who started teaching piano last year at CMC will be teaching Ear Training this Fall Quarter on Thursday evenings.

Though Erick is new faculty at CMC, he is not a new face. He began his musical career as a student in CMC’s Music for Children and piano over two decades ago. Erick has since gone to the Berklee School of Music in Boston and returned to San Francisco. As a pianist, Erick is a versatile musician with training in classical music with a special appreciation for all types of music, including Latin pop, Afro-Cuban, as well as his native Afro-Peruvian music. Proficient in traditional and popular styles, Erick is a composer and an arranger of music. Erick loves teaching and looks forward to sharing his passion for music to ear training this fall.


Theory and Musicianship at CMC

Which theory and musicianship class is right for me?
We asked CMC’s longtime music theory teacher Jono Kornfeld to help compare the theory and musicianship classes at CMC. If you’re wondering which one of these classes is right for you, take it from Jono.


  • Introduction to Music Notation and Reading
    Introduction to Music Notation and Reading gets you up to speed by covering the nuts and bolts of notation and reading. It’s great for students new to music reading or for students who are coming back to studying music after a hiatus. This class is a helpful complement to private lesson study or group classes, especially when you’re just starting out.
  • Music Theory I, II, III
    Music theory gives a name to everything that goes on in music, and helps explain how and why these components work. The music theory courses at CMC are good for students who are interested in understanding the theory behind what they’re playing. This class is a helpful companion to private lesson and group class study, in that it gives a student more understanding of the methods behind the music.
  • Ear Training
    Ear training helps someone develop their listening skills in order to recognize (with their ears) all the components of music. Ear training is an important ingredient of musicianship: helping a student develop the ability to execute (play or sing) these components more accurately and confidently. Ear training assists instrumentalists and vocalists in mastering technique and musical style and supporting sight-reading and sight-singing. Ear training is essential for composers and arrangers. It benefits anyone who simply wants to be a better listener.
  • Summer Quarter Theory Classes
    During the Summer Quarter, Jono Kornfeld offers a range of other music theory classes, including Advanced Theory, Beginning Jazz Theory, Summer Composition Workshop, Modern Music, and Rock of the 60’s and 70’s. The classes are available on a rotating basis. Contact a registrar or Jono in the Spring Quarter for more information.


Songwriting and Composition at CMC, photo by Linda Nakasone

Songwriting and composition classes at CMC
At CMC, aspiring songwriters and composers of all levels can study with professionals to bring their musical ideas to life. Seasoned songwriter and performer Larry Dunn teaches Songwriting Workshop covering songwriting techniques, including lyric development, song structure, and harmonic structure. Local composer Davide Verotta teaches Composition Workshop providing a solid foundation for understanding compositional forms coupled with music writing exercises. Both of these classes provide students with listening, analysis, and exercises in a small group environment.

Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount in group classes.

Sights and sounds of summer camps at CMC

Camp CMC 2017

Camp CMC performance Photo: Stuart Zussman

Campers put on an incredible show at the end of their week of playing in ensembles together! Thanks to Camp Director Katie Wreede and faculty members Arwen Lawrence, Tregar Otton, and Jesse Wolff, as well as interns Aaron Bierman and Hannah Hanif from CMC’s Young Musicians Program for making beautiful music and big fun happen!
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Camp CMC

Musical Discovery Camp 2017

Musical Discovery Campers Photo: Liz Harvey

Roots music of the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America brought CMC’s Mission Branch to life at the end of June. Thanks to Camp Director Hector Lugo and faculty members Jorge Liceaga and Cecilia Peña-Govea for an amazing week of camp. We can’t wait for more Musical Discovery next year!
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Musical Discovery Camp


Chamber Music Camp 2017

Chamber Camp rehearsal Photo: Liz Harvey

Our chamber campers performed beautiful works from their classical repertoire with the guidance of our stellar coaches! Thanks to Camp Director Poppy Dorsam and faculty members Lauren Coney and Josepha Fath for bringing these budding performers together.
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Chamber Music Camp


Concert Band Camp 2017

Concert Band Camp rehearsal Photo: CMC

This is CMC’s first-ever band camp, and we think it was a brilliant addition to our camp family! Thanks to Camp Director Bill McClanahan for bringing the sounds of concert band to CMC’s Richmond District Branch this summer. They bring back great memories to many of us!

View photo album • Stay tuned for concert footage
Learn more about Concert Band Camp

Preview new classes coming to CMC Fall Quarter!

Come singers, drummers, and little ones!

CMC is rolling out three new unique offerings for the Fall Quarter.

Sign up to sing and play along with your little ones in CMC Chiquitos: a one-of-a-kind Spanish bilingual family music class for ages 0-3. The class is taught by Susan Peña of the Latin music group La Familia Peña-Govea.

Percussionists of all ages and skill levels: gain hands-on experience with Indian rhythmic techniques in the new Indian Rhythms Ensemble taught by acclaimed performer Rohan Krishnamurthy. CMC will provide the instruments and no previous experience is required.

Join renowned CMC faculty Martha Rodríguez-Salazar and Jennifer Peringer in Coro de Cámara, a new chamber choir that will sing in the Baroque, Classical, and folk choral traditions of Spain and Latin America.


CMC Chiquitos

A Spanish Bilingual Family Music Class

This mixed-age music class for infants to three-year-olds and parents/caregivers provides a musical bonding experience and an introduction to singing, rhythmic activities, and musical play. Classes focus on the music of Latin America with an emphasis on Mexican music. More than one adult can attend with a registered child. Class is held in Spanish and English.

Ages: 0–3

Instruments: Voice and percussion instruments provided by CMC

Musical Styles: Music of Latin America

Class Size: 4–8 families

Location, Days and Times:  Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 11:00–11:45am

Instructor: Susan Peña

Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)
$192 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Ask us about our referral discount!
Sign up starting August 7!


Indian Rhythms Ensemble

This ensemble will explore universal techniques and approaches of Indian rhythm with a focus on the ancient South Indian Carnatic tradition. Gain hands-on experience playing several traditional instruments, including the pitched mridangam, khanjira frame drum, ghatam clay jug drum, and konakkol, a unique system of vocal percussion. Classes will culminate in a public performance with guest artists.

Ages: All

Instruments: Mridangam (double-sided pitched drum), khanjira (frame drum), ghatam (clay jug drum), konnakol vocal percussion (beat boxing). Open to singers and instrumentalists. Bring your instrument if you have one!

Musical Styles: Hand drumming; Indian rhythmic improvisation and composition; adapting traditional techniques to other instruments and across genres

Prerequisites: None

Location, Day and Time: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 6:00–7:00pm

Instructor:  Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy

Tuition: $414 per quarter (12 weeks)
$276 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Sign up starting August 7!


Coro de Cámara

A chamber choir that sings the music of Spain and Latin America

Sing beautiful baroque, classical and folk music from Latin America and Spain in a small choir setting. Learn how to sing in Spanish, Latin and several dialects from the Americas in different styles ranging from the 13th century to modern folk styles.

Ages: Adults, older teens

Instrument: Voices of all ranges

Musical Styles: Baroque, classical, and folk music from Mexico, Spain and South America

Prerequisites: Ability to sing in tune and read music. Spanish fluency not required. Entrance by audition.

Class Size: 10–50 students

Location, Day and Time: Mission District Branch; Thursdays, 8:15–9:45pm

Instructor: Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, Director; Jennifer Peringer, Accompanist

Tuition: $366 per quarter (12 weeks)
$244 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Sign up starting August 7!

Mission District Young Musicians Program Celebrates Ten Years

In 2006-2007, CMC began a tuition-free program that offers a comprehensive music education through the study of Latin music. It is available for youth that live or go to school in the Mission District. Ten years later, the Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP) is flourishing.

To celebrate this anniversary year, alumni were invited to speak to the musicians and audience members at the MDYMP’s end-of-year concert at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Martha Rodriguez-Salazar, the MDYMP Program Coordinator since its beginning, shared some of the highlights of her guests’ messages to students that day:

Chus Alonso, founder and director of the MDYMP from 2006 – 2012, was our guest of honor. He shared some reflexions about his tenure with the program and the goals it’s accomplished, thanking students, parents, teachers, CMC staff, and the Mission Cultural Center. He also played a fabulous flute solo in Almendra, a classic danzón, during the concert.

Pianist Carlos Ballesteros (2009 – 2014) talked about how formative the program was for him and remembers the teachers fondly.

Violinist Yojani Ulloa (2008 – 2014) shared how important it was for her to have a community of people with common interests. She is encouraging her young brother to apply for the program this coming year.

Guitarist Kai Lyons  (2009 – 2011) said that he went a Jazz Conservatory in the East Coast (William Paterson University) to realize that he learned more about important and complex rhythmic patterns in his neighborhood program (MDYMP).

Trumpeter Ceci Peña-Govea (2006 – 2010) said that the MDYMP gave her the tools to build a musical career. She is now teaching guitar through a CMC program at the Mission Neighborhood Center. This fall, she will also teach in CMC’s Mariachi program in partnership with the SFUSD and in the MDYMP, along with her dad, Miguel Govea.

Trumpeter Kyana Orellana (2010 – 2015) shared how much the program taught her to be disciplined and provided her with the opportunity to learn Latin music. To the current students in the program, she said: “Even when it is hard to wake up early on Saturdays, appreciate the excellent opportunity that you are being given.” After Kyana graduated, she came back to write a paper about the MDYMP. She also volunteered as an assistant for a quarter.

Violist Joshua Urrutia (2012 – 2016) said that MDYMP supported him during the difficult teenage years and said how important it was to have Chris Borg, CMC’s Executive Director, as a viola teacher and mentor. He expressed gratitude for all of the MDYMP teachers.

Nena Aldaz wasn’t able to attend but sent a message that Chris Borg read. Here are a few highlights:

“I remember auditioning for the group and being intensely nervous. I was much more shy back then. I didn’t know if I could make any friends, or if people would like my singing. But, you all provided a safe space for me to learn and grow. You all supported me and helped me to find my voice.

MDYMP was more than just a program to me. It was the stepping stone I needed to become a more skilled and open artist. It taught me about the music from Latin American countries (which, sadly, is not the case in most universities’ music programs), and it taught me about feeling the music as much as understanding it.

What I learned with MDYMP has always been immensely useful to my musical education at UC Irvine. For example, I am currently taking Latin American Music (a class that was added this year and is only for the duration of the quarter) and my professor asked if anyone knew what a clave rhythm was. My hand shot straight up. I clapped it out for him… and he was impressed!

MDYMP helped me realize that what I truly want to do is to sing and perform. Now I am a vocal arts major at UCI, and I am being trained classically. I have also been accepted to the Bel Canto Institute of San Miguel Allende, in Mexico. I am going to train there for a little over a month. Only 20 students get in each year.

None of this would have been possible without all of you.”

Our thanks to Martha Rodriguez-Salazar for her account of this inspiring moment for our MDYMP community and her invaluable leadership and commitment. Each Saturday, Martha is joined by dedicated faculty members who also perform professionally: Javier Cabanillas, Miguel Govea, Lisa Larribeau, Tregar Otton, and Jesse Wolf.

Over the years, the MDYMP has performed in high profile events in the Mission District and beyond, such as Mission Carnaval, the Mission District Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the SF International Arts Festival, La Posarela performances at the Brava and Victoria Theaters, CMC gala performances at SFJAZZ and the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, and El Son de la Mision at the Brava Theater last year.

Look out for our MDYMP alumni and faculty performing out in the community!