Private Lessons

Private Lessons

For performers at all levels, individual lessons provide guidance and structure to musical discovery. Students who study at the UNCSA Community School benefit from individually tailored instruction from the highest quality teachers. Most of our faculty members hold advanced degrees, and all are expert practitioners in their field.

Individual lessons are available in all band and orchestra instruments, voice, piano, music theory, music technology and composition/songwriting. There are also openings for advanced vocal and piano students. Pianists can apply for auditioned lessons in UNCSA Professor Dr. Dmitri Shteinberg’s advanced piano studio. 

Private Lesson Tuition Rates

Class Length

Fall 2017 tuition (16 lessons plus group classes)

Fall 2017 trial lesson period tuition (4 lessons and 4 group classes)

Equivalent per lesson

30 minutes




45 minutes




60 minutes




Students may register at any point for a trial period, then continue through the remainder of the semester with the same teacher/schedule for a pro-rated charge. Families with multiple children enrolled receive two free classes or lessons per additional student for full semester registrations. Discount applies to classes of lesser value.

Group Components of Private Lessons

Private instrumental and vocal lesson students in grades 7 and above attend weekly group courses in music theory and ear training as an additional component of their study. Students in grades 2 through 6 attend weekly group classes in ensemble singing that serve as a precursor to music theory class work. All students can attend extra CMS workshops, free of charge, as part of their studies and are expected to participate in at least one recital hour per semester.

A professional accompanist is provided for all CMS recital performances (with teacher approval) at no additional charge. Music theory and special workshops are designed to introduce students to varied musical concepts, develop a stronger grasp of musical principles and musicianship and prepare them for confident and engaged ensemble playing.

Music Theory and Ear Training for Grades 7 to Adult

Instructor: Bruce Tippette
Theory and Ear Training I - 
10:45–11:25 a.m. in the 4th Floor Recital Hall
Theory and Ear Training II - 11:30 a.m.–12:10 p.m. in the 4th Floor Recital Hall

Theory and Ear Training I and II classes occur on alternating Saturdays, beginning Sept. 9, 2017.

Listening to music is one of the most inclusive activities, whether listening to recordings, attending live concerts, or creating the music individually with your voice or musical instrument. However, being able to understand the construction of music will only enhance that experience, both as a listener and a performer.

This course will progressively teach musical topics including elements of pitch and rhythm, triadic harmony, diatonic chords in major and minor keys, voice leading, part-writing, harmonic progression, cadences, pitch and interval recognition, transposition, and many other fundamentals of music.

Ear Training/Aural Skills
Any effective music theory course must be supplemented by a comprehensive ear training/aural skills class. Ear Training at the Community Music School will be aligned with the subjects taught during the Music Theory courses, providing the necessary tools for any well-rounded musician. This course will help musicians to correctly identify and recognize musical concepts including, but not limited to:

  • Simple/compound time signatures (and rhythms within)
  • Major/minor scales and their scale degrees
  • Triads/Seventh Chords
  • Sight-Singing and rhythmic and harmonic/melodic dictation

These skills will also be used to help students process aural concepts within existing pieces of music, whether for their private lessons, or while hearing something for the first time.

Author: Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass 
Contemporary Musicianship
“Analysis and the Artist”

“Contemporary Musicianship presents traditional music theory and analysis in an innovative way for popular music, jazz, and music business/industry students. The text introduces students to the basic principles of music theory using the great works of classical performers and popular artists. Through creative projects and composition opportunities, Contemporary Musicianship shows the two-semester Musicianship or Introduction to Music Theory student that music theory is more than just notes and math; it is a musical experience that evolves throughout the life of an artist.”

Students should self-select for either the Theory and Ear Training I or II class based on their own knowledge level, but are encouraged to attend classes in either level that align with their own learning objectives.

Choral Ensemble for Young Musicians

Instructor: Bruce Tippette
Class Time: 10–10:40 a.m. every Saturday in the 4th Floor Recital Hall

Classes begin Sept. 9, 2017.

This class serves as a predecessor to the Music Theory and Ear Training classes offered to older students. Class focus is on Ear Training, with an emphasis on ensemble singing. Regardless of what instrumental (or voice!) lessons you currently take at the Community Music School, it is highly recommended you partake in this supplemental course as a means to better your musicianship.

A musician with a strong ear and an ability to sing one's part will strongly benefit in private lessons. Concepts will include, but not be limited to:

  • Repeating and dictating simple rhythms and melodies
    Recognition of simple intervals
  • Singing in a group—either in unison (one part) or in harmony (2 or more parts)
  • Proper vowel shapes used in singing (which can benefit all musicians, especially wind/brass players)

Students may be asked to perform as an ensemble at recital hours or other CMS performances.

Special Workshops for CMS Students

The Community Music School is committed to providing a comprehensive, enriching experience for all of our students. Workshops for the Fall 2017 semester will be announced soon.