Exciting news about the Campus Expansion Project

On Thursday, November 21, CMC’s Campus Expansion Project went before the San Francisco Planning Commission. A robust contingent of students, faculty, and friends of CMC attended the hearing to show their support for the project. After the project was presented to the Commission, 13 people spoke in support of the Campus Expansion Project during the public comment portion. Students, parents, and neighbors of all ages shared personal, heartfelt experiences in support of CMC’s work and of the Campus Expansion Project.

Fittingly enough, two of the comments were musical in nature. Ashley Alvarado (CMC Children’s Chorus) with the help of faculty member Beth Wilmurt (Children’s Chorus and Older Adult Choir conductor) sang a portion of “Chinese Proverb” to the Commission. Members from CMC Older Adult Choirs in the Mission District also sang a spirited a cappella version of “La Paloma.”

Upon the conclusion of the public comments and after a few questions put forth by the Commissioners, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted in unanimously to approve the Campus Expansion Project.

“The outpouring of support from students, faculty, and community members was very meaningful to us. We are grateful that our community members took the time to be at the hearing and speak so eloquently on behalf of CMC and this project,” said Julie Rulyak Steinberg.

More details about the Campus Expansion will come in 2020.

Getting started with improvising: Practice tips from CMC jazz improv and trumpet faculty Max Miller-Loran

Do you want to get started learning how to improvise, but don’t know where to begin? Max Miller-Loran, who teaches trumpet, Jazz Improvisation-Beginning, and Jazz Improvisation Workshop, has great tips to get you going. Winter Quarter is a perfect time to learn a new musical skill. CMC offers an array of opportunities to woodshed your jazz skills. In addition to Max’s classes, try private lessons, Jazz Ensembles, and Djangology. All levels are welcome.

From the series: Practice Tips from Community Music Center Faculty

Improvising can be a daunting undertaking, even for seasoned musicians. Seeing players channel intricate musical ideas from thin air can be so intimidating that many decide it’s not worth it to try. However, I believe improvising can be one of the most rewarding musical disciplines, and it’s much less frightening once you understand how to practice and improve. Here are some tips to get you started!


1. Limitations are key. Often, players become paralyzed by the infinite number of musical possibilities in front of them. Enforcing boundaries can be liberating, because it clearly lays out where you may and may not go. You can limit your playing to specific pitches, rhythms, phrases lengths, articulations, dynamics—anything really. This process allows you to methodically target and practice any element of improvising.

2. Less is more—at first. Effective improvising is about building a direct conduit from your mind’s ear to your instrument. Playing sparse ideas, using longer rhythmic values and slower tempos gives you a chance to consider your choices and play with as much intentionality as possible.

3. You can be critical without being judgmental! Listening to your playing critically is essential for improvement (understanding what seems to be working, and what isn’t), but judgement is entirely counterproductive. Let yourself make mistakes, and be open to learning from them. Oftentimes, mistakes are beautiful!

Announcing 2020 Shenson Faculty Concert Series Grant Recipients

2019-2020 marks the 25th Anniversary season of the Shenson Faculty Concert Series at Community Music Center. This series was established by the Shenson Foundation to support CMC Faculty as performing artists and ensure their work on stage is shared and celebrated in our community. 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 always a pain-staking decision to select four recipients from a pool of talented faculty applicants.

This year’s series celebrates local composers, CMC faculty/staff songwriters and lyricists, excellence in virtuosity, and the power of music to speak amidst difficult political times. The series showcases four faculty concerts that span the genres of classical, Latin, contemporary, Americana, R&B, and experimental musical styles.

Martha Rodríguez-Salazar – Sunday, February 23, 2020 – 4:00 pm
Martha Rodríguez-Salazar (flute faculty, voice faculty, and choir conductor) is presenting ‘It Takes a Village’ with The Bernal Hill Players, which is comprised of Jennifer Peringer, piano; Rachel Condry, clarinet; Annelise Zamula, saxophone; Matylda Rotkiewicz, piano; and Sharon Wayne, guitar. ‘It Takes a Village’ is a concert of duos, trios and quartets by North and South American composers, in diverse styles, including classical, folk, tango, contemporary, and experimental. The emphasis of the program is on multiculturalism, women’s empowerment, and celebrating our vibrant local musical community.



Larry Dunn – Friday, April 10, 2020 – 7:00 pm
Guitar and songwriting faculty member Larry Dunn is putting together a concert celebrating four of CMC’s own singer/songwriters performing their original compositions in folk, country, blues, R&B, and bluegrass styles. They will be performing songs solo (individually) in a round-robin fashion, much like a Nashville singer/songwriter circle. Each artist will play four songs. Expect backstories, anecdotes, and even a bit about the songwriting process as relates to the song an artist performs. In addition to music by Larry Dunn, Erik Pearson, Maestro Curtis, and Anne Carol Mitchell will be performing original music.



Michael Long – Friday, June 19, 2020 – 7:30 pm
Michael Long, violin faculty member, along with guest performers Eiko Mitani, piano and Ben-han Sung, piano will be performing “Music in Times of Resistance.” This classical music concert highlights music written in or about extreme political circumstances and oppression. This program includes composers who not only dealt with dictators and political tumult, but who also used their compositions to confront or address this in some way, such as Poulenc, Shostakovich, and Schulhoff.



Christopher Basso – Sunday, June 21, 2020 – 4:00 pm
Piano faculty member Christopher Basso will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with “Beethoven and His Influence” which will feature music of Beethoven and others who were directly inspired by him. The first part of the program is all-Beethoven and the second part of the program includes Für Elise and two composers’ take (including a world premiere) on Für Elise. The program concludes with Schubert’s Sonata in C minor, D.958 restating Beethoven’s Variations in C minor on an Original Theme, WoO 80.