The experiences available to our students are unmatched in their motivational and nurturing effects. Instrumentalists as young as five-years-old have been selected to perform at prestigious events, including Opening Night for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall. Frequent performances are a key element of the curriculum, and develop polished and poised musicians. Furthermore, the positive feedback received from their audience keeps our students inspired and motivated to further refine their craft.
While we are indeed proud of our experienced musicians, we equally embrace the student who desires a less rigorous musical education, who studies for enjoyment and/or appreciation. Our outstanding faculty and supportive peer groups offer enormous intellectual, social and cultural benefits to these students as well.
All styles of music are studied at CYM with a classical foundation emphasized for most students. Jazz and popular music are introduced and developed further for those students with an interest.
An Early Start
Children as young as two years old are welcomed to the Center for Young Musicians in the Early Childhood Music (ECM) Program. ECM classes are spirited and engaging for parents and child alike. While every lesson provides meaningful musical instruction, lessons are presented in a social and playful manner. The early exposure enables a smooth transition into more complex musical and instrumental study.
Students of all ages, including adults, are welcome to start at CYM at anytime.
A Long Term Curriculum
CYM curriculum coordinators are especially aware of age-appropriate means to facilitate each student’s comprehension and success. We recognize that our students may not always sing or perform on the violin, viola, cello, piano or guitar, or as vocalists, but we ensure that they will always have the skills to do whatever they want with music as they grow. Students who attend CYM long-term will graduate with thoroughly developed skills that will lead them in positive directions in all areas of their life.
CYM provides exceptional instruction to develop musicians who are life-long supporters of music. CYM’s community of students, parents, and teachers provide an environment that lead children down their own path of musical discovery. As adults, some students become performers, band directors, instructors, scientists, or writers. Regardless of where their love of music takes them, each student has experience using the power of music to move audiences.
Students develop competence and confidence in demonstrating music literacy and performance skills which have been carefully nurtured in a sequential, skills-oriented curriculum.
Our curriculum is inspired by leading music educators such as Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Dr. Edwin Gordon, John Feierabend and Lorna Heyge. Each of our expert faculty members contribute their own foundations to the students’ experience.
CYM’s instrumental curriculum features developmentally-appropriate and fun classroom activities designed to teach students to “hear, read, sing and write” music. Along with performance training, a thorough program of aural, vocal, reading, writing and analytical development fosters a high degree of understanding and competence.
We encourage parents to be involved as much as they can. Most successful music students have a parent helping them in some way whether it is practicing with a young child every day or helping the older student carve time out of a busy schedule to spend time with their instrument.
An Expert Faculty
The highly experienced faculty embraces methods and philosophies that encourage family involvement, using positive reinforcement to help students achieve. Over the course of many years, we have developed a comprehensive musicianship and performance program with input from each of our faculty members. Goals and evaluative methods are consistent from instructor to instructor.
CYM’s instructors have achieved high levels of education and accomplishment. Each has a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in music or music education, and a Master’s degree is the norm. Our instructors have demonstrated a unique understanding of the music-learning sequence appropriate for young musicians. Continued education and certification are top priorities.
CYM students perform regularly throughout the school year in various interesting environments. Young beginners perform their early-stage pieces from the very beginning in order to instill a comfort with playing for an audience. More advanced students enjoy frequent performances both within CYM and in the community at large. There are several forms of performances that occur regularly through the year, such as:
All-School Recitals: Participation in CYM’s two all-school recitals is encouraged for all instrumental students. Early Childhood Music students are invited to attend. All-school recitals are a great way to hear and see all the instruments you can study at CYM, as well as to appreciate your fellow students’ progress.
Community Concerts: Each faculty members leads one Community Concert per year in which he/she performs as well as his/her students, and any other student from the school may also perform, if space is available. These concerts are perfect for playing in front of a smaller audience. Students are able to listen to our faculty perform in an intimate setting and witness first-hand the level of artistry their teacher brings to music study.
Outreach Concerts: We aspire to share our students’ gifts with many community organizations to raise the awareness of childrens’ capabilities and to share the joy of music. We organize dozens of events every year, ranging from performances in nursing homes, at benefits, at cultural organizations, and at civic events. All instrumentalists are encouraged to participate in these concerts, which continue to develop their stage presence and confidence, as well as inform them of the power of music to create a harmonious environment.
We actively establish connections between our students and Pittsburgh’s great music institutions. Gerald E. McGinnis, board member of the Center for Young Musicians, and his wife, Audrey, endowed the Pittsburgh Symphony Fiddlesticks Program, the family concert series, in honor of the school. A special provision that culturally under-served students receive tickets to the Fiddlesticks events makes this endowment valuable to the larger community. CYM students also have worked with world-renowned chamber music ensembles, with the support of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society.
In the words of famed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, “music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel.” At CYM, children and their families make these connections within a musical community. Here, they share all aspects of music; their musical skill grows in concert with their values, and in turn, their love of music grows ever deeper.
The full-time administrative staff assists with scheduling classes, purchasing required and supplemental materials, and providing you with up-to-date information on all current CYM events and activities. Our staff will also keep you informed on general information regarding school policies and procedures, curriculum objectives, and educational plans for your child.
Day, evening and weekend classes are available at all levels of study in order to provide ample options for families. Our flexible make-up policy is unique in its customer service ethic. Since the administrative staff is readily available, your needs can be met quickly.
CYM classes operate out of four locations throughout the Pittsburgh area. Our original site in Wexford at 120 Lake Drive is a renovated single-family home in the business district near the Whole Foods Plaza. The Sewickley site is a landmark storefront at 437 Beaver Street. Our city site is housed within Winchester Thurston’s Lower School at 555 Morewood Avenue and the First Unitarian Church just across Ellsworth Avenue. The Fox Chapel site is located within the Laurie Ann West Community Center at 1220 Powers Run Road in Fox Chapel, and at Winchester Thurston’s North Campus at 4225 Middle Road in Allison Park.