Lifelong Learning – Ensembles and Lessons for Adults

friendly adults

Lifelong Learning

CMSS’ Lifelong Learning program provides sequential arts instruction for adults, with an emphasis on including older adults (ages 55+). Learning or further developing your musical skills as an adult can improve your cognitive ability, emotional wellbeing, and health. When you join an adult ensemble at CMSS, you become part of a supportive, inclusive, artistic group, with opportunities to perform for your community.

This initiative 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.

In addition to Lifelong Learning opportunities on site at CMSS, we partner with area retirement communities and senior centers to offer Lifelong Learning programs including Sing Out Chorus, Ukulele Ensemble, and Bucket Drumming. To learn more, contact Lifelong Learning Program Manager, Liz Simmons, at lsimmons@communitymusicschool.comcreate new email.

Group of adults in concert hall singing and holding folders with conductor directing them

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 413-732-8428opens phone dialer 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

Classes and Ensembles for Adults

opens in a new windowJoyful Voices

Do you love to sing? Regardless of your level or vocal range, join others in a welcoming choral 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 . If you have any questions, please contact Liz Simmons at lsimmons@communitymusicschool.comcreate new email or call CMSS at 413-732-8428.


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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.


“It is a pleasure to belong to such a wonderful group of people who use their talents to sing together.  Learning great songs, harmonies and tempos is a joyful way to spend about 2 hours on Monday nights with some dear friends and a very talented leader/teacher/conductor and a pianist who can play anything so beautifully.  No wonder we call ourselves Joyful Voices – we really are.”

“Singing with Joyful Voices is uplifting and fun while also healing. I have also made many new friends. The choir helps to lift my spirit, especially during winter months when it is most challenging for me due to health issues. Through the Community Music School, we are fortunate to have an excellent direction from Laurie who is both a wonderful choir director and an amazing music educator. I have learned so much and can see (and hear) the confidence and musicianship of our choir growing since the choir began in 2021.”

“Being someone brand new at singing in a chorus, I was somewhat hesitant and nervous when I came to our very first meeting. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive that evening that I decided that I wanted to join the group and I am so happy that I did. Laurie is an excellent leader and teacher and has helped me a lot, as have the other members of the group. Laurie’s positive energy is wonderful and I almost always leave our rehearsals feeling great and energized. It has also been wonderful to meet new people and get to know everyone better as time has gone by. It is a great group.”

StillCan Band

The StillCan Band is a beginner band ensemble for adults. 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.


Jim Messbauer playing the trombone, with a blurred background

Jim Messbauer, trombone, baritone, euphonium, tuba, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Performance, Trombone. Jim has toured extensively and is the co-founder of several Latin and brass groups, including Groupo Mambique, music and rhythms of the Caribbean, South America and the Lower Antilles done in a vibrant acoustic Chamber Mambo format of horns and drums.

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