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Group Classes & Ensembles

Explore musical styles, strengthen instrumental or vocal technique, and learn to play music in a community. Classes and ensembles offer a supportive environment to learn among peers under the instruction of our expert faculty.

 

Winter Quarter is enrolling through February 9.

Explore a standard jazz repertoire in a dynamic, participatory setting. The advanced ensemble plays the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and others; with emphasis on communicating as an ensemble, improvising, phrasing, groove, and dynamics to make the music come alive. There will be a culminating performance at Community Music Center at the end of each quarter. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Brass, woodwinds, strings and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums) Musical Styles: Jazz standards, be-bop, blues, Latin jazz Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, mastery of scales, and prior experience in improvisation. Admission with instructor’s consent. New students will be asked to audition. Instructor: Charlie Gurke Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount on this class tuition. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
Beginning Vocal Ensemble Join this fun and supportive environment to learn basic vocal and breathing technique, how to support your tone, beginning note reading skills, simple harmonies, and rounds. This beginning singing class is designed for singers with little to no experience. It is focused on group singing, but also incorporates individual singing. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instrument: Voices of all ranges Musical Styles: Folk, popular, jazz Instructor: Ellen RobinsonStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.
Intermediate/Advanced Vocal Ensemble For vocalists who love to harmonize in a wide variety of musical styles such as jazz, Broadway, pop and R&B. Enjoy interacting with other singers in this lively chorus while continuing to develop your vocal technique, music reading skills, blending with other voices and your stage presence. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instrument: Voices of all ranges, especially baritone and tenor Musical Styles: Jazz, Broadway, a cappella, pop Prerequisites: The ability to sing in tune, hold your own while singing in three part harmony, and have some music reading skills. Previous choral experience is a plus. Prior approval of instructor is required. Instructor: Ellen Robinson Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount on this class tuition. Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
The Beginning Jazz Ensemble focuses on building standard repertoire, improvisation concepts, and developing ensemble skills. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Brass, woodwinds, strings and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums) Musical Styles: Jazz standards, be-bop, blues, Latin jazz Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, knowledge of scales, and some experience in improvisation. Instructors: Erick Peralta, Charlie Gurke Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount on this class tuition.Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
Learn beginning vocal technique and interpretive skills in a fun group setting. You’ll gain experience learning to sing in healthy ways by focusing on body alignment, breath management, and vowel formation. This class will support a student’s process in stylistically interpreting a piece of music through additional research and study. Topics and activities for classes include exploring the singing apparatus, vocalizing with exercises using scales and arpeggios, interpreting music and text, developing stage presence, and working with a collaborative pianist. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Musical Styles: All styles are welcome Prerequisites: Students must be prepared to learn and memorize music and text Instructor: Michael Mohammed Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.
Come Sing and Play with a band. This performance oriented class is for singers who want to sing with a band and instrumentalists who want ensemble experience in a wide range of American music. This class covers American Music derived from the blues, starting with a deep understanding of the blues and its many variations. Students learn how to play together in a cohesive way that builds instinct, diplomacy, and a sense of community-sharing–the true foundation of ensemble music. Students will learn the various roles of each instrument in the styles covered and approaches to music arrangement. Repertoire covers music by region, including the sounds of New Orleans (The Meters), Memphis (Stax Records artists), Chicago (Chess Records artists), Detroit (Motown), as well as others, focusing on the unique regional qualities that makes America the “Music Mecca” of the world. Ages: Adults, Older teens (high school students) Instruments: Voice, Piano, Bass, trumpet, guitar, winds and brass Prerequisites: An open mind and teachable spirit. Music readers are welcome, but it is not a requirement. Knowledge of major and minor scales and chords and basic blues scales and being able to read and follow chord charts is a must. Class size: 8 - 15 people Instructors: Co-Directed and accompanied by Maestro Curtis and Nola CurtisStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling. Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
Explore “Old Time” traditional American music, focusing on tunes from Appalachia: songs that crossed the pond from Ireland and Scotland that mixed with African American influences to become the American traditional music known as Old Time. We will also dive into how to play bluegrass interpretations, solos and backup. Singers, mandolin and bass are also welcome! We’ll be working on tunes from Appalachia, Irish and Scottish folk tunes, and African American traditional music. We will be focusing on Old Time tunes that are also part of the Bluegrass repertory, from standards to rarely played tunes, versions, and regional interpretations. Printed music will be provided. Ages: Adults and older teens (high school students) Instruments: fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, ukulele, voice, bass (upright preferred) Musical Styles: Old Time and Bluegrass Prerequisites: an intermediate level of playing (especially on the fiddle). Basic reading of chord charts and fiddle notation Instructors: Erik Pearson and Tregar Otton. Instructors will alternate weeks and sometimes teach together.Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling. Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
Whether you are an advanced beginner or an accomplished amateur musician, CMC’s chamber music program offers an opportunity to develop your musicianship and technique as well as the chance to play with others. Groups are composed of two to five students of compatible levels. Advanced beginners and intermediate students will focus on developing basic ensemble skills, intonation, tone quality, and rhythmic accuracy. Advanced students will study important aspects of ensemble playing, including interpretation and performance techniques. Each quarter, performers are invited to participate in a group recital. We welcome pianists and often have ensembles of Four-Hand Piano Duos. Intermediate and advanced piano students may connect through the chamber music program to play and receive coaching on classical duets. Four-hand piano is a fun way to apply what you’ve learned and pick up new skills that can introduce you to chamber music with strings and winds. This is a great opportunity to create lasting friendships as well as great performing groups! Pre-formed groups are highly encouraged! Ensembles who would like to perform will be encouraged to sign up for a regular CMC recital. Ages: All ages Instruments: All and voice Musical Styles: All Prerequisites: Students should have at least two years of experience playing their instrument. Placement auditions for new students take place at the beginning of each quarter in order to create groups who play at similar levels. Beginning students should be familiar with key signature with up to three sharps and flats, and basic rhythms including eighth notes. Class size: 2–5 students Locations: Mission District Branch OR Richmond District Branch.Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read Community Music Center's registration policies before enrolling.For more information, please contact: Katrina Wreede, Chamber Music Coordinator: kwreede@sfcmc.org Online signup for this class is unavailable. Please fill out the Chamber Music Inquiry Form to get started.
Jazz Today, a contemporary Jazz ensemble, invites students to explore the music of today’s hottest jazz artists from around the globe. We will draw from the repertoire of some of the most talented and creative musicians on the scene such as Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, and Kamasi Washington who are honoring the tradition of this artform while also pushing the boundaries into new and unexpected territory. In addition to improvising within the framework of these compositions, we will also work extensively on creating unique and dynamic arrangements meant to solidify and expand each musician's role within the ensemble. Vocalists are also welcome and highly encouraged to join regardless of improvisation experience. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Brass, woodwinds, strings and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums) Musical Styles: Jazz, R&B, and Hip Hop Prerequisites: must be able to read standard music notation and chord charts and have a basic understanding of jazz improvisation concepts Instructor: David Steinberg Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling. Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
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 (high school students) 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. Instructor: Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, Director; Michaela Overall, AccompanistStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
Learn, perform, and hone your skills playing all styles of popular Cuban and Cuban-inspired dance music, including cha-cha-chá, danzón, guaracha, songo, timba, bolero, son-montuno, salsa, and other Afro-Cuban popular dance music. Charanga, or Tipica ensembles, ensembles incorporate violin and flute (usually instead of brass instruments, although trumpets and trombones are often used in modern charanga), along with bass, piano, vocals, and Afro-Cuban percussion. In this advanced class, students will learn and perform modern and traditional charanga music, learn about Cuban music history in a performance-focused environment, much like professional band rehearsals. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Voice, woodwinds, brass, violin, cello, bass, piano, and percussion (bongo, congas, guiro, claves, and timbales) Musical Styles: Cuban salsa, charanga, and other Afro-Cuban music Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, reading skills, and interest in Latin music. Pianists should be able to play basic montunos and bassists should be able to play tumbao. Admission with instructor’s consent. Instructor: Tregar OttonStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This class is designed for musicians that would like to learn about the basics of Cuban music and Salsa music. We will discuss rhythms that are key to Afro-Cuban music, including how clave and percussion parts relate to each instrument’s role, and improvisation within the style. We will also focus on learning the form of Cuban dance music, the historical context, and how different dances influence and fit into the musical form. Students will learn the key rhythms of Cuban danzón, cha-cha-chá, and son montuno as well as how to approach improvisation in Cuban music. Instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Voice, woodwinds, brass, violin, cello, bass, piano, and percussion (bongo, congas, guiro, claves, and timbales) Musical Styles: Cha-cha-chá, danzón, guaracha, bolero, son, songo, timba, salsa, and other Afro-Cuban music Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, reading skills, and interest in Latin music. Admission with instructor’s consent. Instructor: Tregar OttonStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This group workshop will introduce students to the wide variety of blues grooves that one might encounter at a blues jam. We'll listen and learn from the recordings performed by the original artists that define a particular groove e.g., a Magic Sam boogie, an Albert King blues rhumba/mambo, a Jimmy Reed shuffle, a B.B. King jump blues, a Muddy Waters 'mojo' groove, a Lowell Fulson 'tramp' groove, and much more. Ensemble playing and individual improvisation will be encouraged with a focus on group interaction and the supporting role each individual instrument plays in establishing the groove. Ages: adult, older teens (high school) Instruments: guitar (electric), bass (electric), piano, drums, brass/woodwinds Prerequisites: Intermediate playing proficiency on your instrument, ability to play 7th and 9th chords (barred for guitars), have some major scale and blues scale knowledge, read a simple chord chart Instructor: Larry Dunn Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This class will serve as an introduction to core elements of jazz music. We’ll learn about the essential roles of each member in a jazz ensemble, such as walking bass lines, drum grooves, the role of comping, and interpretation of a melody. We’ll examine integral building blocks of jazz harmony, how to approach learning your first tunes, understanding a lead sheet, as well as how to go about preparing for improvisation.The goal of this class is to provide you with skills that will enhance your understanding of the language, assist in making music with others, and enable you to be free to improvise. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: All instruments Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, knowledge of major scales Instructor: Erick PeraltaStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling. Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This ensemble is the next step in the strings journey after the beginning fundamentals program (or by audition). In this ensemble, children will learn to sight-read music, understand melody and harmony, develop ensemble skills including listening to multiple parts at once, follow a conductor and blend with other musicians by preparing and performing music from diverse cultures and styles. Students perform at CMC recitals twice a year. It is recommended that students who play in the Sinfonietta take private lessons to supplement the ensemble work. It is highly encouraged that students enroll for a full year in this ensemble (Winter/Spring 2024). Ages: 7-11 Instruments: Violin, viola, cello, bass Musical Styles: Music from diverse cultures Prerequisites: Completion of year one of the beginning fundamentals class or by audition. This class requires the completion of a form and submission of a video. Instructor: Katie Wreede Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This ensemble covers gospel music performance and relatable genres (fusing gospel with other styles of music such as R&B and contemporary Contemporary Christian music). Students will learn common chord progressions and chord substitutes and turnarounds typical in gospel music. Improvisation will be taught and demonstrated We will explore building blocks of improvisation including using pentatonics, modes, and blues runs. In this class, students will learn skills that will help them to lead their own band or chorus. We’ll learn songs like "Oh Happy Day" by Edwin Hawkins, and "Going up Yonder" by Walter Hawkins. Songs will be learned by ear and by use of charts. Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school) Instruments: Drums, Bass, guitar, keyboard, vocalists Prerequisites: This is an intermediate to advanced class dealing in the styles of traditional and contemporary gospel music. Instrumentalists must be able to read music and chord charts and have some experience playing in a band setting. Singers must have some experience in singing in a choral environment. i.e choir, lead singing, trio or group. Instructor: Ken LittleStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!
This is a workshop-style class in which students learn classic Soul/R&B songs as both soloists and background singers. Repertoire will include music from the 1959–1990s. Students will learn proper vocal technique, stage presence, performance, and interpretation. Clif will also help students find the appropriate keys for their songs. Students are welcome to bring their favorite Soul/R&B songs to sing using accompaniment recordings. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Musical Styles: Classic Soul and R&B Prerequisites: The ability to read music or play an instrument is not necessary (Your voice is an instrument!), but students should have the ability to sing a melody and hear harmony. Instructor: Clif Payne COURSE OBJECTIVES: Singing the classic soul and R&B songs spanning from 1957-1990. To recognize the universality, “singability” and freedom of spirit in singing these songs. To sing these songs in your key. To overcome any fear or vocal challenge in singing. To interpret the songs using the students’ own vocal ability and personality. To perform these songs in a recital at the end of the semester.GREAT SONGS OF SOUL AND R&B (examples): 1959 Motown Sound – Pop-flavored Soul (Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas, Temptations, Four Tops, DeBarge)1959 Stax – Southern Soul Music/Blues (Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett)Late 1960s-1970s – Philadelphia “Philly” Soul – Lavish orchestral arrangements (Three Degrees, Jones Girls, Pointer Sisters, Donna Summer, O’Jays, The Spinners)1980s The Minneapolis Sound w/Prince & His Related BandsMichael Jackson, Lionel Richie1990s LAface - Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and othersStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.
Kids learn to play guitar in a fun and supportive group setting with some of their favorite songs. This hands-on class helps kids play music right away. Students learn rhythm, melody, creating a good tone, and listening so they can play music with others. Kids explore folk, rock, pop, and world music together in a social environment, building confidence along with music basics. It is highly encouraged to continue with two more quarters of sequential instruction for continuing students in Winter and Spring Quarters. Musical Styles: Folk, rock, pop and world music Class Size: Maximum 5 students Instructor: Vivian Sharp Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive a 50% discount. Please read Community Music Center's registration policies before enrolling.
You Bring a Song, I Bring a Song This ensemble is for anyone who plays guitar-related instruments including guitar, uke, bass, mandolin, etc. Everyone in class will bring a song to present that we can play together as a group. In the class we will explore some fundamentals of playing music with others including: groove, listening skills, choosing an approach on your instrument to create unique parts, being both an effective leader and a reliable accompanist. Other topics may include: soloing, basic transposition and practical music theory, harmony singing, and sculpting an arrangement. This class will have musical opportunities for people at different skill levels. Bring some songs, a creative mind and a willingness to try. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: guitar, uke, bass, mandolin Musical Styles: diverse, based on participant interests Prerequisites: basic knowledge of chords and notes Instructors: Erik PearsonStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.
Explore a standard jazz repertoire in a dynamic, participatory setting. The intermediate ensemble plays the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and others; with emphasis on communicating as an ensemble, improvising, phrasing, groove, and dynamics to make the music come alive. There will be a culminating performance at Community Music Center at the end of each quarter. Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students) Instruments: Brass, woodwinds, strings and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums) Musical Styles: Jazz standards, be-bop, blues, Latin jazz Prerequisites: Proficiency on an instrument, mastery of scales, and prior experience in improvisation. Admission with instructor’s consent. New students will be asked to audition. Instructor: Charlie GurkeStudents enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount. Please read CMC's registration policies before enrolling.Online signup for this class is unavailable. Submit a Prerequisite Form to get started!

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