CMC students on the road with outreach concerts in San Francisco

“Doing community outreach…is important to our humanity,” said Kim. “I believe in using the gifts we have to beautify our corners of the world and beyond, whenever possible.”

Strings faculty member Heidi Kim is no stranger to playing music as a way to give back to the community. When she was a young violin student, she played concerts at retirement homes and assisted living centers. Playing in front of people and having a concert to work towards were important elements of her music education. Just as important as the practice of performing is sharing the gift of music with others. “Doing community outreach…is important to our humanity,” said Kim. “I believe in using the gifts we have to beautify our corners of the world and beyond, whenever possible.”

Heidi Kim is giving her students the same opportunities she had with monthly community concerts.

On December 8, a small group of her students played at the San Francisco VA Hospital Community Living Center, dedicating the concert to the veterans for their service to the country. Her young students performed classical and Christmas music for the veterans, and were well-received by the residents and staff alike.

On December 23, a larger group of Heidi’s students performed at the San Francisco Fire Department’s Station 14. According to Heidi, planning a concert at a firehouse was “tricky” since the station could get an emergency call at any time. They were able to arrange a concert at a station in the Richmond District that doesn’t get as many calls as other stations. The strings concert was dedicated to the memory of one of the station’s firefighters who had lost his life in an automobile accident and as a general “Thank You” to the firefighters. The students performed classical music and Christmas songs for an audience made up of firefighters and families in the station garage. After the concert, the students got a tour of the fire station with the fire pole being a major highlight.

Heidi remarked that her students are enjoying the community outreach concerts. One of her fourth grade students said the concerts made him feel like he was “traveling the world.” Heidi mentioned that one of the important parts of the outreach concerts is for students to get out of the familiar spaces of performing only at CMC. She is interested to see how her students react to new spaces and feels that performing is great for not only encouraging practice, but also for getting over performance anxiety.

The next studio recital is on January 26. Both her Mission and Richmond District students will be performing at Cypress at Golden Gate retirement home.

CMC’s Mission District Young Musicians Program – Transforming lives through music

Community Music Center’s Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP) creates a musical community unlike any other in the Bay Area. 25 students each year enjoy a comprehensive music education, with a focus on Latin music, completely free of charge. MDYMP students are also empowered by their teachers to take ownership of their experiences and to contribute to their community.

Alicia Naylor-Guerrero, now a student at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), emphasizes the sense of responsibility MDYMP instilled. She and her fellow students took active roles in all aspects of their music making – listening to and supporting each other in ensemble rehearsals and performances, setting up and breaking down after every rehearsal, and communicating with each other when life got in the way.

For Cecilia Peña-Govea, an alumna who is now an MDYMP instructor, the most important thing about the program is the emphasis on teamwork and mentorship. Students from ages 11 to 18 are expected to work together as an ensemble, supporting each other and mentoring each other throughout the year.

Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, a long-time CMC faculty member and former MDYMP coordinator, remembers recruiting public school students in the Mission District when the program first began in 2006. She met many parents who were grateful to have a way to teach their children about the richness of their culture. Through the universal language of music, and shared cultural traditions, students were able to connect with their families and their community more deeply than ever before.
Learning the varied and complex rhythms and harmonies of Latin American music has set Alicia up for success at SOTA. She approaches every style of music with confidence knowing that, thanks to the skills she learned in MDYMP, she can tackle whatever comes her way. Alicia now advocates for expanding the music instruction offered at SOTA to include more diverse styles and traditions. Cecilia adds that MDYMP’s focus on Latin American music, rather than traditional Euro-centric classical music, creates more well-rounded musicians.

MDYMP engages with and creates a vibrant community in many ways. Each week students rehearse at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and perform with partners in the community throughout the year. Alicia, Cecilia, and Martha all recall the joy and power of performing at Carnaval, Cinco de Mayo, and CMC’s former holiday program La Posarela. Through these performances students develop deeper connections with their community in the Mission District and the wider Bay Area.

But MDYMP doesn’t just connect students to their local community, it also creates a musical family of students, alumni and faculty. Alicia always felt supported by her fellow students when they rehearsed and played as an ensemble. Cecilia continues to collaborate with her fellow MDYMP alums. Martha’s former students still help her when she works each year on the San Francisco Symphony’s Día de Los Muertos Community Concert.

Alicia, Cecilia, and Martha – and the hundreds of students and families who have been touched by MDYMP – know that music connects communities and changes lives.

Welcome Molly Krost, CMC Development Assistant

Interview: Molly Krost, Development Assistant

We’re happy to have Molly Krost on board as our Development Assistant. Molly brings experience in the arts through her work with Cal Performances. She is also a playwright, so is versed in the necessities of fundraising to bring artistic works to life. Welcome Molly!


How did you come to CMC?
I was working at Cal Performances in the box office as a ticketing agent. I had been working at Cal Performance for six years and was ready for something new. Development seemed like a good next step for me.


What drew you to the position?
Development is something that’s important for me to learn. I am a playwright, and if you want to have your work staged, you need to self-produce which means fundraising. Learning and working on the arts administration side is an important skill. I like the challenge of being busy and having a lot of responsibility in my role as the Development Assistant. I was drawn to CMC because I grew up playing cello and have always loved music.


What do you like about development and fundraising?
Fundraising and development are an essential part of the arts. The only way the arts are going to survive in today’s world is to raise the funds for them.


When you’re not working at CMC, what do like you do?
I am a playwright. I am working on my MFA in Creative Writing at SF State which takes up 90% of my free time. I have a play being staged this Sunday, December 16 in New York at Clutch Productions Theater. I’m also a member of Playground, an organization that helps develop new plays. Every month Playground sends its members a prompt. You have four days to write a short play based off that prompt. Then they select six plays to be staged at Berkeley Rep. My play was selected and staged in November, which was exciting. I like to write about identity, mixed race subject matter, family dynamics, and stories of the Filipino experience. I’m half Filipino and half Jewish. Mixed race subject matter is underrepresented in the arts.

I like to to bake cakes, especially from the Great British Bake Off Cookbook. Also, I just picked up cross-stitching!

Announcing 2019 Shenson Faculty Concert Series Grant Recipients

The Shenson Faculty Concert Series 2019 will be lighting up the stage with four free concerts featuring CMC’s talented faculty and their collaborators! The concerts will span genres and instrumentation, encompassing classical, jazz, gospel, neo-classical, and avant-garde genres.

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 committee with wonderful proposals from talented CMC faculty.

The following faculty were selected for the 2019 Shenson Faculty Concert Series. The dates for the concerts are also noted, so mark your calendar!
Ben Snellings: Sunday, March 31, 2019 – 4:00 pm
Cello faculty Ben Snellings will be presenting a concert of string solos and duos from the Baroque, Classical, Neo-classical, and Hungarian genres. Selections will include Haydn, Bach, Prokofiev, and Kodaly.



Jon Jang: Saturday, April 27, 2019 – 8:00 pm
Piano faculty Jon Jang presents “Come Sunday: The Music of Duke Ellington in Celebration of his 120th Birthday Anniversary” featuring the works of Duke Ellington. Because the name “Come Sunday” refers to a recording by Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson celebrating black people’s struggle to have their own church, there also will be songs performed in the concert that Mahalia Jackson sang in the context of the black church.



Jono Kornfeld: Saturday, May 4, 2019 – 8:00 pm
Piano, guitar, and theory faculty Jono Kornfeld performs with the band Hop Sauce. The group performs mainly original compositions in a funk/jazz style, with a strong emphasis on improvisation and spontaneous in-the-moment composing.



David Steinberg: May 10, 2019 –  7:00 pm
Woodwinds faculty David Steinberg presents works that feature a combination of live instrumental performances paired with electronic and sampled elements and will feature works that are inspired by jazz, R&B, gospel, musique concrete, and avant garde. The program is an exploration of the concept of “lifestyle” and puts forth the hypothesis that the popularity of lifestyle journalism and content is due to the need to fill the void that traditional and now largely-unattainable sources of meaning such as owning a home, raising a large family, or working in a field that provides both a strong sense of purpose and a living wage, have left behind. By attempting to imbue consumerist habits with the pretense of social activism or spiritual enrichment, lifestyle journalism and content foster a soothing but ultimately artificial sense of purpose.

Ready to try something new?

Have you been thinking about exploring a new musical style, developing a new skill, or playing in a group setting?

CMC offers new music classes this year to help you take your music to the next level!

Beginning Voice with Michael Mohammed
Learn beginning vocal technique and interpretive skills in a fun group setting. 
Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch; Mondays, 8:15–9:45 pm


Beginning Jazz Ensemble with Erick Peralta
Work on improvisation and develop ensemble skills in this is beginning/intermediate ensemble. 
Ages: Adults and older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays 8:15 – 9:45pm


Beginning Ukulele (adults) with Sandy Brassard
Grab your instrument and join us for a beginner’s course on how to play ukulele in a relaxed group setting. 
Ages: Adults
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 8:15 – 9:15pm


Beginning Ukulele (all ages) with Sandy Brassard
This class covers the basics of how to play ukulele in a fun group class environment. 
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Saturdays, 3:30 – 5:00pm


Cuban Dance Music Ensemble – Learning the Fundamentals with Tregar Otton 
Learn the fundamental rhythms that are key to Afro-Cuban music.
Ages: Adults and older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 5:30 – 7:00pm


Group Cello Practice with Erik Andersen
This group cello class focuses on the fundamentals of cello technique including long tones, string crossings, scales and arpeggios, position practice, and shifting. 
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Sundays 10:00 – 11:00am


Introduction to Viola da Gamba with Erik Andersen
This is an introductory course to playing the viola da gamba, a fretted, bowed instrument from the Renaissance and Baroque.
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Sundays 11:00am – 12:30pm


Musical Storytime with Emily Shumway
A drop-in magical musical class for babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.
6 months-5 years (siblings under 6 months attend free!)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays (two sections): 10:00-10:45am and 11:00-11:45am


Music Theory IV with Jono Kornfeld
If you have a basic knowledge of music notation, this class will further your understanding of musical components and structures. Other Music Theory classes.
Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 6:15-7:05pm


Old-Time Music Ensemble with Tregar Otton
Come on all you fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin players. Learn some traditional fiddle tunes in an informal setting.
Ages: Adults
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Mondays 11:30am – 12:30pm


Teen Beatles Ensemble with Scott Feichter
Recreate the immortal music of the Beatles while developing essential skills for ensemble playing! 
Ages: 12-18
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 5:00–6:30pm

CMC choirs spread the joy of song this December

As the year comes to a close, CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program is celebrating with festive concerts all over San Francisco during the month of December. The concerts take place around the city in the various neighborhood centers where each choir holds weekly rehearsals, and are free and open to the public. These year-end performances feature songs in many styles and languages: from gospel and jazz, traditional folk songs from Latin America, to showtunes and oldies, these songs are sure to bring holiday cheer.  Be sure to catch a performance in the coming weeks, and be uplifted by the joy of song.

Older Adult Choir December Concerts:

Monday, December 3 from 10:00am-11:00am – CMC 30th Street Older Adult Choir at Canon Kip Senior Center, 705 Natoma Street

Saturday, December 8 from 3:00-4:00pm – CMC Children’s Chorus with CMC OMI Senior Center Choir and CMC Richmond District Center Choir  at Community Music Center Concert Hall, 544 Capp Street

Tuesday, December 11 from 10:15-11:45am –CMC Richmond District Center Choir at Richmond Neighborhood Center, 741 30th Avenue

Wednesday, December 12 from 2:00-2:30pm –CMC Bernal Heights Older Adult Choir at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Avenue

Thursday, December 13 from 1:00-2:30pm – CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir at Aquatic Park Center, 890 S Beach Boulevard

Thursday, December 13 from 2:00-2:30pm – CMC Castro Older Adult Choir at Castro Senior Center, 110 Diamond Street

Thursday, December 13 from 1:00-2:30pm – Coro CMC del Centro Latino de San Francisco at Centro Latino de San Francisco Community Center, 1656 15th Street

Friday, December 14 from 12:30-2:00pm – CMC OMI Senior Center Choir at OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly Street

Friday, December 14 from 1:00-3:00pm – CMC Solera Singers of Mission Neighborhood Center at Mission Neighborhood Center, 362 Capp Street

Monday, December 17 from 10:00am-11:45am – CMC 30th Street Older Adult Choir at 30th Street Senior Center, 225 30th Street







Meet Andy Huber: CMC Senior Staff Accountant

Interview: Andy Huber, CMC Senior Staff Accountant

Over the summer, we welcomed a new member to the CMC community. Andy Huber started as Senior Staff Accountant in July. Like so many staff, in addition to being a nonprofit professional, he’s also a wonderful musician. If you see Andy around the building say “Hi!”

What’s your background?
I went to school for Music Education and Acting focusing on voice, choir teaching, and conducting. While I was an undergrad, I interned at Michigan State University Community Music Center. That’s where I became familiar with the administrative side of community music schools. In the last semester of my undergrad, I student taught a middle school choir. I learned to value educators, but decided not to pursue music education as a career. I moved to New York, and after a quick stint as an intern at a classical music artist PR firm, started out as a registrar at Turtle Bay Music School in New York, which is a community music school similar to CMC. From there, I got an “on the job” education in community music organizational life. I learned business management from a colleague who mentored me, becoming the Business Manager of Turtle Bay, managing all financial, accounting and human resources functions.

How did you first come to CMC?
After being at Turtle Bay Music School for five years, I was looking forward to something new and to expand my horizons. It was an exciting step to move from New York to the Bay Area.

What are you passionate about in your work?
I’ve been a both a musician and a music student. I value paying musicians, and I like that my job is paying musicians on a regular basis. The fact that CMC is a place that provides a livelihood for musicians and is a place for people to learn music is something I take pride in.

One of the other things I feel passionately about is working at a vibrant center for people to receive a music education, when the arts often don’t exist in the classroom. Cities need a resource like CMC to provide an arts education, where it otherwise might not be accessible.

How is going so far?
After being in Michigan and then New York, the Bay Area weather is consistent, which I like. The amount of programming and assistance CMC provides says a lot about what’s at the heart of this organization. The fact that CMC works very hard to provide both quality programming and tuition assistance is great.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to jog. I love eating interesting cuisine. I live in Berkeley, which is optimal for eating out. I like to play video games. I listen to a lot of podcasts and NPR. My favorite podcasts are the Vergecast, The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, and Spilled Milk where comedians talk about food. Very funny!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Practice tips from CMC faculty Erik Pearson

Erik Pearson teaches CMC students how to play guitar, banjo, and ukulele at CMC. Erik works with students of all levels and has tried and true methods of helping students to progress.

From the series: Practice Tips from Community Music Center Faculty

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Maximize your focus by developing an aware mind while practicing/playing.
  • Identify your stumbling blocks (passages, licks, transitions) and focus on those in concentrated bites.
  • Always play in a groove, in rhythm, even if it has to be very slow.
  • Work on these things and walk away for a while.
  • Don’t overwrite the progress you’ve made by trying to cram a bunch of other issues into one session.
  • Don’t be afraid of repetitions!

Bonus Tip!
Erik teaching Sugar Babe on banjo.

CMC launches neighborhood jam series at Bissap Baobab

On Tuesday October 16, CMC launched a new jams series at Bissap Baobab just around the corner from the CMC Mission Branch. Led by Eduardo Corzo with Miguel Govea, CMC students from the Charanga Ensemble, Teen Jazz Orchestra, Latin Vocal Workshop, and Jazz Ensembles participated along with other CMC faculty and staff.

The Tuesday night jam focused on Latin music with pieces that included Sabor a Mi, Philly Mambo, Blue Bossa, El Cuarto de Tula, Girl from Ipanema, Autumn Leaves, Footprints, Wave, Obsesion and more.

CMC Jams continue monthly the first and third Tuesday of the month alternating with jazz music jams led by Charlie Gurke on the first Tuesday and Latin music jams led by Eduardo Corzo on the third Tuesday.

CMC Program Director Sylvia Sherman who attended the jam had great things to say about the session, “Bissap Baobab is a fun place to gather—with great food and drink. We were happy to see folks from the neighborhood. We welcome musicians to sit in and audience members to come listen. Bring your instrument!”

The next jam is Tuesday, November 6, led by CMC Jazz Ensemble Director Charlie Gurke.

Community Music Center Music Jams at Bissap Baobab
3372 19th Street, San Francisco (between Capp and Mission Streets)
1st Tuesday – Jazz Jam with Charlie Gurke
3rd Tuesday – Latin Music Jam with Eduardo Corzo


Starting a Mindful Practice Routine: Practice tips from CMC faculty Rachel Condry

Rachel Condry is clarinet faculty and the Chamber Music Coordinator and one of the chamber music coaches. Through her many years of teaching, she has developed a mindful practice routine that is useful for all music students, no matter the instrument.

From the series: Practice Tips from Community Music Center Faculty

Starting a Mindful Practice Routine

Usually the first question a student or their parent asks me about practice is “How long should I practice?” My answer is that you should practice for as long as you can hold your attention on the process of practicing. Most of us lead hectic lives moving from activity to activity (or device to device) and it can be a struggle to focus our attention on anything, especially the rather complex activity of practicing our instruments. A well-thought-out and mindful practice routine can improve your focus and attention during each practice session, improve your listening, help you make steady progress and discover deeper connections to your self, to music and the world around you.

A good practice routine is a set of simple and progressive exercises that move through all the elements of playing technique before music is played. My mindful practice routine includes performing a simple yoga pose at the start of your practice session and using your breath to help quiet your mind and connect to your body. It is the body that you will use to play your instrument so this is a critical and often overlooked step! Special attention should be made to “flow” from one exercise to the next, bringing the focus of the first activity into the second and both of those into the third etc. Over days and weeks and months this process will become routine and bring new perspective on your playing. You will become more efficient at moving through the routine and spend more time playing music while still improving your technique.

The first step of my practice process is performing Mountain Pose. It can be done by any body of any ability and can be performed seated or standing. The pose focuses on alignment (for standing version: knees over ankles, hips over knees, shoulders over hips etc) as well as grounding, feeling energy moving down from hips to feet and connecting the body to the earth. From this grounding, one can feel the strength of the lower body and from that strength, the upper body can rise and discover new freedom to breath and move. From this position take three big breaths, in through the nose as you raise your arms above your head and out through the mouth as you lower your arms back to your sides. If you need any energy because you are tired and scattered, imagine that you are gathering what you need from the air around you and bring it into your body through the breath. Imagine that this energy is installed on the exhale so you can take it with you. How do you feel? Ready to work? Noticing the length and strength of your body, move in to your first warm-up exercise and then on through the remaining steps of your practice routine. For example, my routine goes 1. Mountain Pose 2. Longtones 3. Articulation exercises at various speeds and in varying meters and rhythms. 4. Scales (including scales in all keys, scales in 3rd, running scales and arpeggios- played with a metronome at the same speed with attention to being in control.) 5. Etudes and musical studies. After I complete these steps, I am fully warmed up, very focused, and ready to play whatever music I need. All in all this practice routine takes up very little of my overall practice time but it is the foundation of everything that follows and so the most valuable part of my practice. Should I not have time for a full practice session, this is the minimum I do each day.

This practice routine is a type of listening that moves beyond our ears. It connects our mind and body to our practice and we NEED this kind of connection to maintain our focus. Listening internally and externally with body and mind grounds us and makes us feel heard. When we feel heard, we are refreshed and ready to work. Our practicing can take on new significance and become quite enjoyable. Over time it extends our listening out in time and helps us to acknowledge our progress, focusing our attention on how far we have come and giving us confidence about what more we can achieve. This mindful practice process has been a game changer and a true inspiration for me and my students. I hope that you might give it a try!