Creative Aging and Lessons for Adults

Try a private lesson!

We suggest adults start with 45 minute or 60 minute lessons. Not sure which instrument is right for you? No problem! We offer trial lessons for students who would like to meet their teacher and try the instrument before beginning weekly lessons.

Please call 413-732-8428 to speak with a member of our registration team about scheduling your lesson and choosing your instructor. Faculty and staff will gladly assist you in making the decision to rent or purchase your musical instrument.

Marty Knieriem conducting with a blurred background

Creative Aging

Creative Aging is an initiative to provide sequential arts instruction to older adults (ages 55+) to combat ageism and isolation – with outcomes such as improved cognitive ability, improved emotional wellbeing, and improved health. The Tim Cotz Creative Aging Initiative at CMSS was established to honor the legacy of our beloved former Board president, Tim Cotz. We are grateful for the wisdom and guidance that Tim so generously shared, inspiring and challenging us to find new avenues to serve our community.

CMSS partners with area retirement communities and senior centers to offer Creative Aging programs including Sing Out Chorus and Bucket Drumming. To learn more, contact Creative Aging Program Manager, Liz Simmons, at [email protected].

Liz Simmons teaching a creative aging chorus, standing in front of chorus members sitting and singing, holding folders

Classes and Ensembles for Adults

Creative Aging Chorus

Do you love to sing? Regardless of your level or vocal range, join others in a welcoming group where you will learn vocal technique, harmony singing, and improve your musicianship skills while gaining confidence in your unique voice! Repertoire selections will include popular classics, jazz, and Broadway tunes. The group will rehearse weekly with the goal of performing at CMSS next Spring! This class registration cost will be prorated depending on when you enroll and is appropriate for individuals 55+ years old. If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Ellington at [email protected] or call CMSS at 413-732-8428.

Instructor:

Laurie Ellington is a vocalist, conductor and music educator with over 15 years’ experience leading choruses of all ages. Her 20+ year singing career encompasses work with bands big and small, pop and jazz a cappella groups, musical theater and classical choirs in the US, Europe and Asia. As a conductor, she believes that ensemble singing is one of life’s great pleasures; she believes group singing should be about joy, connection and creating compelling performances, no matter the repertoire. Laurie holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Master’s in Music Education from Boston Conservatory.

StillCan Band

The StillCan Band is a beginner band ensemble for adults age 55 and up. This ensemble is a great way to explore a new instrument or dig deeper into a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument you already play. The positive, social rehearsals offer opportunities to learn alongside, and practice playing with other beginning musicians with little-to-no formal music training. No prior music experience is necessary. If you need an instrument, or want to try an instrument that you do not have, let us know and we can help get you your instrument of choice.

Instructor:

Rachel Rivard graduated from UMass Amherst with a master’s degree in Music Education Pedagogy and has five years of experience working with older adult bands. Previously the brass instructor for the New Horizons Band at Northampton Community Music Center, Rachel became the director of the StillCan Band at Community Music School of Springfield in 2019. She also taught in the Springfield public school system as a middle school band teacher, and while you will see her most often teaching with a trumpet, tuba is her primary instrument.

Semi-Private Lessons

Find one or a few friends who share your interest in the same (or similar) instruments, and you can split the cost of a private lesson!

Chamber Music Groups

Our Chamber Music Program places students into small ensembles that work together weekly with a faculty coach and perform without a conductor. These ensembles could range from string quartets to piano four-hands to wind trios—the make-up of the program will depend on which students audition. Chamber music presents unique challenges. Students learn how their individual part contributes to the whole, while listening to their fellow ensemble members.

CMSS Perform-A-Thon