Rowan Community Music School reveals the next stage of its evolution

Rowan Community Music School reveals the next stage of its evolution

Piano student Christopher Shin in performance as part of the Rowan Community Music School's new season reveal event

With the start of summer approaching, Rowan Community Music School (CMS) recently held a virtual event revealing its new season, showcasing added programming that takes the school to the next level and emphasizes the growth of ensembles, musical theatre offerings, services for educators, and much more…for young learners and adults.

The expanded offerings represent an important step in responding to the interests of current and former students, faculty, and members of the school’s advisory council. It’s part of an on-going examination of the mission to offer high quality music instruction and performance opportunities to a diverse community of students in the region, which promotes their artistic growth as well as a lifelong appreciation of music.

“Music and music education for all students is a fundamental right,” stated Elizabeth Guerriero, Director of the Community Music School & Educational Partnerships, “and we strive to provide that right for every student.”

Among the highlights of the CMS announcement are the introduction of the Theatre & Dance Academy, a series of professional development seminars for teachers, music theory classes led by Department of Music chair Dr. Robert Rawlins, adaptive lessons and music therapy led by university faculty, songwriting, and new ensembles.

View a video introduction to the new Community Music School season here.

The Theatre & Dance Academy at Rowan Community Music School begins this fall - in person - led by Rowan faculty members Kristin Titus DiAmore, Jessica Arnold, and Shane Tapley. To start this new endeavor, there are two courses (each with separate sessions for ages 12-18 and for adults). The “Solo Musical Theater Artist” class targets performers interested in sharpening their skills, while “Duets, Trios & Quartets” is an interactive group class exploring material from multiple eras of musical theater. 

A fall series of virtual Professional Development sessions – for educators and the community - are led by Department of Music faculty and focus on the theme of “Rebuilding Our Musical World” (the Spring 2022 schedule tackles “Expanding Musical Artistry & Vision”). There are also multi-day offerings on topics such as “Live Sound Workshop for Music Educators” and “American Popular Song,” in addition to one-time programs on conducting and teaching songwriting for social-emotional growth, as well as broader concepts like “Rebuilding Our Programs, Our Voices, and Our Purpose” or “Retune, Rejuvenate, and Restore Your Imaginal Orchestra.”

This summer offers adult learners the chance to take Dr. Missy Strong’s Conversational Solfege Certification course in August, exploring John Feierabend’s method for developing notational literacy by helping children understand music through the use of rhythm and solfege syllables. Dr. Strong examines this process again in classes offered in October and March. In the area of Music Therapy, Rowan faculty member Lynn Gumert will teach and lead training sessions, in addition to adapted lessons in piano and voice. Adapted music lessons focus on whole student music learning, are appropriate for children and adults, and support increased attention span, developing speech and language, increasing motor skills, increasing confidence, and developing emotional regulation.

CMS adds music theory and songwriting for both middle/high school students and adults, with Rawlins covering fundamental aspects of theory including note reading, scales, intervals, clefs, rhythm, form, meter, chord spelling, and basic harmony; while Dawn Hiatt, a noted singer/songwriter and Rowan faculty member, introduces the writing art form with two levels of classes for the middle/high school group and “Songwriting for the Community” aimed at helping demystify the process for adults starting out.

When it comes to the CMS ensembles, the news is that the already-established Rowan Youth Orchestra, Rowan Youth String Orchestra, and Atlantic Youth Brass Band are being joined by the Rowan Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Rowan Youth Wind Ensemble as educational/performance opportunities for young musicians.

“Every student should have access to and study music because participation in music not only helps students study a wonderful art form, it helps them find their own method of creativity through a great outlet,” said Dr. Hayden Denesha, Artistic Director of the Rowan Youth Orchestra. “I firmly believe that participating in music not only helps students become musicians, but also better people, better citizens and, through that, better leaders.”

Coming out of a tough period, Guerriero noted that she and her team took the time to be thoughtful about the future and rebuilding. “We’re confident that we have the staffing, the faculty and the programming,” she said of the effort to continue CMS’ growth as a well-rounded program. “I’m super optimistic, excited, and thrilled,” she added as she looked forward to this new year.

The fall semester begins on September 7 and registration for classes has begun. A number of discounts and financial aid options are always available. Visit for information on registering, schedules, and tuition, or email at