Skip to main content
 

World-class instructors in the College of Arts & Sciences’ music department started the UNC Community Music School to serve students of all ages and offer group and individual classes in piano, voice, guitar, composition and early childhood music.

summer jazz workshop

Research shows that studying music can boost memory, increase language skills and even help people perform better on the SAT. But internationally acclaimed pianist Derison Duarte started the UNC Community Music School for a simpler reason.

He wanted to share the beauty of music with people across the Triangle.

“The study of music is so basic and essential in that it gives people something for their soul to latch onto—something they can own and identify and express,” said Duarte, a faculty member in Carolina’s music department. “The primary reason to study music should be that the experience itself is beautiful. So I think it’s really important for people to have that opportunity.”

Inspired by his own experience of learning to play the piano at a community music school in St. Louis, Duarte teamed up with other world-class instructors in the College of Arts & Sciences’ music department to launch the UNC Community Music School in 2013.

Today the program serves students of all ages and offers group and individual classes in piano, voice, guitar, composition and early childhood music.

Because his musical journey began in a community music school when he was 9 years old, Duarte created UNC Community Music School to reach young learners who have a budding interest in music — even students as young as 3 years old.

“We have these really little ones who haven’t even been walking very long, and they’re just beginning to learn about music and notation and the concepts of rhythm,” Duarte said. “Seeing them get excited about making music and doing so in a very free and creative way is very exciting.”

The community music school is also a stepping stone for Carolina students preparing for teaching careers.

Elizabeth Morgan, a senior studying music education, has been a student-teacher of voice at UNC-CMS for five semesters. When she graduates this spring, Morgan plans to pursue a career as a high school choir teacher.

“Teaching [at UNC Community Music School] has given me experience working with all different age ranges and voice types, and it really helped me solidify my decision to be a teacher,” she said. “I really can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Morgan remembers every one of her students, from the boy whose small middle school didn’t have a choir program to the high school student who went on to study dance and musical theater in college.

“Some of my students come in never having sung in front of anyone, and by the end they’re singing in the recital in front of 50 people,” she said. “Just seeing their progression and watching their confidence grow is so rewarding.”

That personal growth and confidence building, Duarte said, can make an impact far outside of music and apply to everyday life.

“Studying music teaches us that with practice comes skill, with skill comes confidence and with confidence comes fluency,” he said.

Comments are closed.