For almost a century, the Community Music Center has been offering the chance for young and old lovers of music to learn to play an instrument, see concerts, and participate in ensembles. They’re now in two locations, in the Mission and Richmond districts, and Executive Director Christopher Borg says their unchanged mission has been “providing a high quality musical education to anybody.”
There’s more information at the Community Music Center website.
There are about 140 teachers who offer lessons at the Center, on more than 30 different instruments (Borg says an informal study found that a quarter of the faculty attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music) and the students range from the very young to those picking up an instrument for the first time in their nineties. “We also try to build programs that really reflect the interests and cultural backgrounds of the people who we serve,” he says. “And so we have programs that are not just Classical music or Western music, but also Jazz, and Asian music, Latin music…We’ve now moved forward with a very strong older adults program, where we have set up at twelve different low-income senior centers, older adult choirs.” Their Marketing Director, Sonia Caltvedt says that making their services to as many in the community as possible is a top priority. “We make sure that everyone feels welcome to study here and explore music, and that no one’s turned away for the lack of ability to pay. So we offer all of our classes on a sliding scale, and we have a number of completely tuition-free programs, both for youth, and older adults. In our concert hall, we have hundreds of performances every year, and one series that we’re especially proud and excited about is called the ‘Concert with Conversation’ series. And that’s through a partnership with SF Performances. That’s a decades-old partnership, and it offers world-renowned performances, completely free to the community.”