Student Feature: The Chun Family

At the Community School of Performing Arts, we strive to create a nurturing environment to support students in their pursuit of musical excellence. In this student feature, the Community School highlights the Chun family, a dedicated Suzuki family who began their Colburn journey over 12 years ago in the Early Childhood Program. They are a testament to the strength of Colburn’s programming and faculty, but also of the incredible families that make up our community.

This interview has been edited for style, content, and clarity.

What was your initial experience at Colburn like for your family?
Kasey Chun: Our family’s Colburn journey started about 13 years ago, when our first son Isaac was born. We heard about the Early Childhood Program at Colburn and the rave reviews about the program and its director. As new parents, we were looking into various types of “Mommy-and-Me” classes. We opted to do music classes since music has proven to be so beneficial in child development. We did some research and compared various programs on specifically how the curriculum might affect a positive impact on our child’s musical as well as overall development. We also visited the facilities—and that’s when we knew that Colburn was the best place for us. Colburn’s Early Childhood Program was offering continuous classes from early infancy all the way through early grade school in the vibrant cultural center of downtown LA. The Community School was also offering transitional courses that would branch out to provide exploration into instrumental, vocal, drama/theatre, or dance studies. The convenience and comprehensive nature of the program truly added great value to Colburn.

Reminiscing back to the early years at Colburn, I think it was the sweetest but the hardest years for us. For new parents, the birthing, breastfeeding, potty training, child-rearing years can be really daunting. For our family, it ended up being all of it times four! We ended up with four kids with seven years in age gap amongst the oldest and youngest. Many of us look forward to the weekends where we can sleep in and stay in our pj’s or go out to brunch. Most of the Early Childhood classes start early Saturday or Sunday mornings, and we were commuting out to downtown LA from North Orange County at the time. Despite the challenges of getting up early on a weekend to make it to the 9 am classes, we made it through because we hold a strong belief in the value of quality early childhood education.

We actually made it through nine continuous years of the 9:00 a.m. Early Childhood classes because we knew how much Colburn had and would continue to nurture and impact our four children. For us, it really was the Early Childhood Director, Ms. Martin who made a personal influence on my children. She was instrumental in creating positive impressions about music that will last a lifetime. She is absolutely the best educator—not only in music but also in Early Childhood education. If anyone were to peek into her classroom, they would see kind, warm, and sensitive teaching that truly raises awareness in children about their many senses, inner self, and their surroundings through the teaching and making of music. We can also truly thank her for guidance not only in the musical path, but also in the parenting journey. Along with Ms. Martin, our family was grateful to have met Mrs. Gamboa and Ms. Bori who also have brought so much joy to music learning and cheered us on to grow as a musical family. It really was the teachers who helped us to raise our children to be ready to learn a musical instrument from an early age.

Your children, Isaac, Victoria, Audrey, and Samuel all started in the Early Childhood Program. How did the program help them to prepare to move on to the Suzuki Program?
Kasey Chun: From our first-hand experience (times four), we can say that Colburn’s Early Childhood Program is a comprehensive music curriculum that has well-prepared our children to move onto instrumental studies in the Suzuki Program. As a baby, the Early Childhood Program trains them to listen carefully to identify and recognize a certain sound in relative relation to pitch, dynamics, and mood. The learning experience grows with the child as she or he matures, offering hands-on experiences utilizing various instruments like maracas, drums, gong, triangles, xylophones, recorder, and keyboard. This early exposure allows children in the Early Childhood Program to explore the multifaceted world of music in a truly unique immersive learning environment.

The children also used their voices to sing solfège, identifying and building on the pitch. The curriculum includes the Dalcroze classes which help to bring awareness to their body, rhythm, and movement into one. Ms. Izumi’s very meticulous training in Dalcroze guided them through clapping and moving through steady beats, rhythms, and dances. She plays beautiful live piano accompaniment as children move to find the beat and rhythm through minuets, jumping in and out of hula hoops, and tossing silk scarves.

These music educators have built a strong Early Childhood curriculum that really trained our children as babies, through the toddler years, and then as growing children, in ear training, matching pitch, rhythm studies, and basic music theory. We knew that with such strong music training from a young age and being in a familiar environment would prepare the children to take on instrument studies at the Colburn School in the Suzuki Program.

After participating in the Early Childhood Music Program, you all have been a part of the Suzuki Strings Program. What is your favorite part of the Suzuki Program? What has it taught you?
Isaac Chun, 13: My favorite part of the Suzuki Program was the contrasting music that is arranged in the Suzuki books and the chance to work with multiple teachers. The Suzuki Program has taught me different playing styles and the performance skills. Ms. Carey, Ms. Nancy, and Ms. Elizabeth each had their own ways to teach, and they were all beneficial to help you achieve the different skills or techniques. Sometimes, the wacky catchphrases and made-up lyrics really helped me remember the music. Most importantly, it’s taught me that repetition is the key!

Victoria Chun, 12: My favorite part of the Suzuki Violin was learning from different instructors as I moved up into different groups and meeting new people. Learning from many teachers really helped me see things in a new way every time. I really have learned so many things growing up as a Suzuki student. Ms. Shimizu has taught me the importance of rehearsals, while Dr. Can, my teacher, has taught me to focus on technique during rehearsals to ensure that I will not need to think twice about technique during a performance.

Audrey Chun, 9: My favorite part of the Suzuki Program are the group classes and moving up from one group to another. I’ve learned that I need to practice with the metronome.

Samuel Chun, 6: Seeing different friends and teachers is my favorite time. I learned how to play Etude, Etude Doubles, C major Scale, Perpetual Motion in D and G, Long Long Ago, O Come, May Song, Lightly Row, French Folk Song, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, and then my Twinkles.

Some of you have been at Colburn for over 12 years! That’s amazing! Do you have a favorite memory or experience at the school?
Isaac: While attending Colburn for 12 years, there were many things that have stayed with me over the years. One thing that I can still remember is the large art next to the elevator on the upper level of the Grand Building. Whenever I entered my classes for many of the early years, the art stuck with me. When I see that art, it still reminds me of the good times I had with my friends in Ms. Martin’s, Mrs. Gamboa’s, and Ms. Izumi’s class. Also, when I pass by the practice rooms, I still remember the time when Mrs. Bori helped me with sight-reading and ear training on the piano.

Victoria: Over the course of the 11 years I’ve attended the Colburn School, my favorite experience at the school was when I participated in the 2017 George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. One of my favorite memories at the Colburn school is walking down the practice room halls and hearing different styles of music orchestrating perfectly together.

Samuel: I liked it when I saw my cousin in Ms. Martin’s class when she was a baby. My favorite time was getting a cake pop from the Colburn Coffee Bar and playing with my friends and cousins. I really like hearing the trumpet sound in the parking garage.

Addressed to Victoria and Audrey: You also take dance as well as music. Do you find it difficult to study both art forms at the same time?
Audrey: No, I don’t find it hard. It’s because I’ve gotten used to practicing violin and dance. I love to dance, and I enjoy playing violin, so it makes it not so hard.

Victoria: I actually find studying both art forms to be beneficial to one another. Although they are different styles of art forms, I find it interesting to see how one is similar to the other and learning both helps me to be more expressive.

What are you most looking forward to at Colburn?
Isaac: I am looking forward to taking new classes and meeting new friends and teachers. In the future, I am looking forward to more intense cello lessons, ensemble playing, and orchestra.

Victoria: I really hope to gain more onstage experience by performing often. I am looking forward to the advanced dance classes and playing in the orchestra with my friends in the future.

Samuel: Cello!

Addressed to Kasey: What is one great thing about Colburn that people don’t see unless they are taking classes or working with a teacher?
Kasey: It’s true that there’re just so many great things about Colburn that people won’t know unless they’re actually taking a class or working with the amazing faculty. We have had the chance to partake in many classes in many departments at Colburn: Choir, Drama, Musical Theatre, Keyboard, Recorder, Ballet, Tap, Violin, Cello, Suzuki group classes, Cello Choir, Violin Ensemble, String Ensemble, and Music Theory. In each of these classes and departments, we saw and felt a sense of a community and a passion for the art form they were vested in. This community made up of faculty, students, and parents sharing enormous dedication to arts education is what distinguishes Colburn and makes it a truly remarkable place of learning. This place has been our second home for the last 12 years—and counting!

To all of the Chun family, thank you for your time! Any other thoughts or things you want to mention about your experience so far at Colburn?
Kasey: It was our pleasure to share our family’s story. We know that our family’s experience at Colburn is just one of the many great experiences felt by the families of Colburn. A dozen years at Colburn has definitely transformed our lives, and it has been and will continue to be an integral and vital part of our children’s journeys in music, dance, and art. The incredible faculty, the community, and the family experiences we have shared on the Colburn campus are the reasons why we are here. Thank you teachers and dear music friends for making Colburn what it means to families like ours. We look forward to seeing everyone back on campus soon and performing live again.

Learn More

Inspired to start private lessons with one of our experienced faculty members? Submit your inquiry today.

Want to join the Suzuki Strings Program? The Fall 2021 deadline is January 15, 2021. Submit an inquiry today!

Learn more about the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

Stay up to date on all the latest Community School news by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

Community School Student and Composer Apsara Kasiraman Premieres New Composition “Requiem for Four Horns”

Community School composer Apsara Kasiraman rose to the challenge of creating art out of the time of the pandemic with her composition “Requiem for Four Horns.” For the project Requiem-20: A Musical Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Musical Mentors Collaborative asked Apsara and 10 other young composers to write a piece of music that expressed how the COVID-19 pandemic made them feel. The Community School sat down (virtually) with Apsara and explored her ideas and thoughts regarding this haunting piece of music. For the project Requiem-20: A Musical Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Musical Mentors Collaborative asked Apsara and 10 other young composers to write a piece of music that expressed how the COVID-19 pandemic made them feel. The Community School sat down (virtually) with Apsara and explored her ideas and thoughts regarding this haunting piece of music.

This interview has been edited for style, content, and clarity.

You wrote this composition, “Requiem for Four Horns,” at the invitation of Musical Mentors Collaborative. They asked young people across our country to express themselves artistically in the face of crisis. How did you first respond when they asked you to write a piece for this project?
I was incredibly excited and grateful. The arts have definitely been impacted by the pandemic, so I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to write music and get it played.

What was your process like for creating this piece? How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote this piece in about two weeks. It initially started out as a solo horn piece, but a few days into the process, I realized my vision would be better captured using four horns rather than one. Once I finished writing the piece, I sent it to the horn player, Eric Huckins, who then recorded it and sent it back to me. Once I received the recording, I put together the visuals and sent the final version to the Musical Mentors Collaborative.

As this has been a very trying time for the world economically, physically, and mentally, a composition about the time of COVID-19 could be very bleak. However, your piece has these bright moments of consonance and sweetness. Tell us about the mood you were trying to capture. And how did you accomplish that musically?
I wanted to capture both the good and the bad elements that have come out of the pandemic. This has been such a tragic time for so many people, but I also think it has made people realize the value and importance of spending time with others, so I wanted to capture both sides. On one hand, so many people have lost grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles… but on the other hand, we have learned to adapt to the situation so we can still carry out our lives in a somewhat normal way.

The French Horn is such a beautiful instrument. Why did you choose that as the medium of your composition?
Because I love writing for horn. Typically, the horn is known for its volume, power, and robustness, like what is in many orchestral works, but it has lyrical qualities as well. The Musical Mentors Collaborative did not have any specific guidelines for instrumentation, so I figured I would write for an instrument that I love and is capable of capturing the right mood.

Is “Requiem for Four Horns” a break from your usual composition style or does it contain any of your signature compositional elements?
I think this piece definitely has elements of my style, but there are several differences. I stuck to relatively traditional harmonic structures, as I normally do, but I also had fewer moving parts, which isn’t typical for me. I used simpler rhythms and less drastic transitions.

The music combined with the black and white photos created a reverent and stirring emotional quality. Tell us about the photos. Did you choose them? How were they selected?
I googled “coronavirus impact photos” and found slideshows from various media outlets. I chose the pictures that were the most representative of the pandemic and best suited for my music. I intentionally chose pictures from all over the world because, although each person’s situation is unique, the pandemic is something that has affected all of us. The pictures were all originally in color, but I chose to make the video black and white because I feel that they are more expressive than color pictures.

Why did you choose to make this composition a requiem?
I made this piece a requiem because I wanted to commemorate the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people we have lost to COVID-19. I didn’t write the piece with the intention of creating a requiem, but after its completion, “Requiem for Four Horns” just seemed to be the perfect title.

You utilize straightforward rhythms, open fifths, a powerful crescendo in the middle, and a melancholic melody. Your piece is clearly telling a story. What story is that?
I wanted to show both the stillness and motion associated with the pandemic. The pandemic has been ongoing for many months now, but time hasn’t stood still. There’s also this sense of detachment for many people–and harsh reality for others–hence the straight-forward rhythms and open fifths. The melody is meant to capture grief, pain, and despondency. Finally, the dynamics and overall ABA structure is representative of highs and lows within the pandemic. While there have been a lot of negative things, people have also found new ways to improvise, adapt, and overcome.

Any new composition projects we can look forward to from you?
I just finished a piece for Met Opera singer Zachary James’ album Call Out, which will be available on iTunes, Spotify, etc. in December. The piece is called “To a Star,” and is based on Lucretia Maria Davidson’s poem of the same name.

Apsara, we think you are immensely talented and have a great future ahead of you! What are your plans for after high school? Will you pursue composition?
I am still exploring all my options. Although I love music, I have academic interests as well. But if I do go into music, I want to major in either composition, piano performance, or orchestral conducting.

Thank you for this Q&A! Before we wrap up our interview, anything else you would like to mention?
Thank you for letting me share my piece. I am especially grateful to the Colburn faculty, staff, and community for supporting me in all my endeavors for the past ten years. Colburn has truly been a major part of my life, and it has meant even more to me in this pandemic. I can’t wait to be on campus again!

Black and white photo of a group of women wearing masks posing for a photo

Listen to “Requiem for Four Horns"

Musical Minuettos: New Series of Innovative Mini Classes for 3–5 Year Olds

The Community School of Performing Arts seeks new ways to engage with our current students and to create new opportunities for growth and development. Starting in October, Dean Susan Cook and Early Childhood Faculty member Mary Alonso envisioned a new series of classes for our youngest students, called Musical Minuettos.

This new series of mini classes for Early Childhood families focuses on the FUNdamentals of music: beat, rhythm, dynamics, form, pitch/melody, texture, timbre, tempo. Using engaging, age-appropriate themes, literature, and the world around us, families will build and practice basic music skills while creating a love of the arts, language, science, and math.

Mini Classes for 3 Year Olds

For 3 year olds, the classes are themed and provide a fun way for students to explore the arts. In Bears, Bears, Everywhere!, the December class, animal loving families will navigate the forest as we learn music skills with the help of our favorite furry friends.

Mini Classes for 4–5 Year Olds

The classes designed for 4–5 year olds explore an exciting musical adventure through books, aptly named Joyous Journeys. These innovative classes focus on seasonally-themed stories paired with musical activities. Every month, there will be a new class with a different story. In December, students celebrate the changing seasons through music and stories in Here Comes Winter.

Community Connection

Mary Alonso, the teacher of the new classes, knows how important it is to support our community:

“This has been a very strange year for everyone! What better way to support our community then offering classes that are more affordable, less time intensive, but educational and enjoyable at the same time. We are also hoping to create some ‘together’ time for families to bond over music.”

The new shorter length classes allow for additional musical development for our current Early Childhood students. It also provides an easy entry for new students to experience the wonders and joy of the performing arts.

Dedicated Early Childhood Faculty

Ms. Alonso not only brings her passion and joy for the arts to the classes, she brings years of experience working with children. She taught in Downey Unified School District for over 27 years. It was during this time that Mary saw the strong connection between music and language development and become a Language Development and an Orff Schulwerk (Levels I-III) Specialist. Additionally, Mary served as an Arts Integration and STEAM Specialist and shared her passion for the arts with educators all over the state through presentations at the CA STEAM Symposium, CA Science Teachers Conference, and Project Lead the Way State/National conferences. With her experience and passion for the arts, she excels at facilitating engaging music classes.

Colburn Connection

These new classes fit perfectly into the existing framework of the Early Childhood Program at Colburn. Our classes target specific age groupings to best capitalize on students’ capabilities as they explore music, theory, voice, movement, and drama. Advancement is based on skill development so students gain confidence as they gain abilities. Early Childhood faculty member Mary Alonso emphasizes the connection to the Colburn curriculum: “These classes support the ECM Program by allowing for continued, focused learning of musical skills while making connections to language, math, and social sciences.”

The classes also incorporate activities for the family and not just for the little ones! Dean Cook states that “it’s geared more towards a family experience rather than just focusing on the age appropriate student.”

Join the Classes

The Community School of Performing Arts could not be more thrilled to be providing these new opportunities to our students and to the community at large. Whether you are a veteran Colburn Early Childhood family or just learning about the programs for the first time, we hope to see you in the new Musical Minuettos classes.

Classes begin December 5. Register today!

Learn More

Find out more about the Early Childhood Music Program.

To be the first to find out about new classes and programs, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Teng Li

Teng Li is a diverse and dynamic performer internationally. Recently Ms. Li was appointed as Principal Violist of the LA Philharmonic after more than a decade as Principal with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. An impassioned teacher, she is the Artistic Director of Morningside Music Bridge, teaches at the Music Academy of the Colburn School and continues to give master classes at conservatories worldwide. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Li taught at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music, and Montreal’s Conservatoire de Musique.

Ms. Li is also an active recitalist and chamber musician participating in the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Mostly Mozart, Music from Angel Fire, Rome, Moritzburg (Germany) and the Rising Stars Festival in Caramoor. She has performed with the Guarneri Quartet in New York (04/05), at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) and with the 92nd St. “Y” Chamber Music Society. Teng was also featured with the Guarneri Quartet in their last season (2009), and was also a member of the prestigious Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two Program. She is a member of the Rosamunde Quartet (led by Noah Bendix-Balgley, Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic).

Ms. Li has been featured as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Haddonfield Symphony, Shanghai Opera Orchestra, the Canadian Sinfonietta and Esprit Orchestra. Her performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, National Public Radio, WQXR (New York), WHYY (Pennsylvania), WFMT (Chicago), and Bavarian Radio (Munich).

Music Appreciation

Sheet music

At the Community School of Performing Arts, understanding where music originated is as important as learning the music itself. With history and music appreciation classes, learn from knowledgeable faculty about composers, musical eras, and everything between.

Expression and Innovation: Western Classical Music between the World Wars

Ages 15–Adult

Join the Conservatory of Music’s Chair of Music History and Literature Kristi Brown-Montesano for an exploration of the music of the interwar period (1919—1939), an era which witnessed an astonishing variety of aesthetic and stylistic developments in western Classical music.

These creatively rich decades—bookended by two cataclysmic World Wars—inspired composers to innovate, look more closely at their national identity, and explore “popular” genres and new types of sounds. Students will delve into the historical context, guided listening, and aesthetic ideals of particular works and related arts.

This 6-week course will explore 6 stylistic “worlds”:

  • Neo-classicism and jazz-inspired works in Paris
  • The “new objectivity” and Gebrauchsmusik of the Weimar Republic
  • The lyrical 12-tone works of Viennese composer Alban Berg
  • The Harlem Renaissance and William Grant Still’s American symphonies
  • Early electronic concert music featuring the Theremin and Ondes Martenot
  • The ideas of “Socialist Realism” which both inspired and paralyzed Shostakovich and Prokofiev during the 1930s

This course is intended to deepen appreciation for all levels of musicianship; an ability to read music is not required.

January 30—March 6
Saturdays, 11 am—12:15 pm


Register Now

Student and Alumni Accomplishments

Smiling student on Colburn plaza
The Community School of Performing Arts is proud to recognize our student and alumni accomplishments. Below is a listing of some of these recent achievements.

Jinan Woo, Violin
Selected as one of 44 competitors for the Menuhin Violin Competition, 2020

Nathaniel Yue, Cello; Sarah Yang, Violin; Andres Engleman, Violin
Placed first, second, and third, respectively in the Pacific Academy Foundation Concerto Competition, January 2020

Avery Tracy, Violin
Winner, Santa Clarita Philharmonic’s sixth Annual Concerto Competition, January 2020

Semifinalists in The Music Center’s Spotlight Competition, 2020
Classical Instrumental: Anoush Pogossian, Cole Turkel, Daniel Wang, Lawrence Wu
Classical Voice: Clarisse Cao, Albert Gonzalez, Angie Villela, Emmanuel Yoque
Jazz Instrumental: Raven Adair, Ethan Avery, Kai Burns, Juan Carballo, Benjamin Conn, Charlie Faragher, Declan Houlihan, David Lee, Santiago Lopez, Alex Lui, JJ Lybbert, Leo Major, Gianna Pedregon, Cole Petridis, Makoto Yorihiro

Amy Jong, Cello
Winner, Diamond Bar High School Concerto Competition, 2020

Sarah Liu, Gabriel Tsai, and Isabella Yuan, Violins
First place win, MTAC San Fernando Valley West branch VOCE Competition, 2020

Mirae Lee, Oboe, Wind Ensemble
First place, the American Protégé International Concerto Competition, 2020

Dylan Iskandar, Piano and Guitar
Grand Prize winner for the 2019–20 Google Code-in global competition

Omeed Almassi, Cello
Selected to be member of the national Honor Orchestra of America, 2020

Honors Chamber Trio: Holly Lacey, Violin; Mira Kardan, Cello; and Caden Lin, Piano
First prize, regional level in the Junior division of VOCE, Music Teacher’s Associate of California, 2020

Ryan Chun, Piano
Second place in the Tenth Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Competition, Div. III (age 18 & under), 2020

Nathaniel Yue, Cello
First place, Bellfower Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, 2020

Joshua Cho, Clarinet
Received a spot in both the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association All State Band and the California Band Directors Association All State Band, 2020

Ryan Yang, Cello
Second prize at fifth annual Enkor International Competition, 2020

Apsara Kasiraman, Composer
Acceptance, Young Artist Conducting Seminar at Boston University Tanglewood Institute, 2020

Will Robles and Eiline Tai, Cellos
Participation, Young Artist Workshop as part of the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival

Online Learning

After thoughtful and careful consideration, the Colburn School has determined that it will begin the 2020–21 school year online.

Though we have all hoped to see a speedy conclusion to the COVID-19 pandemic, local and global infection and transmission rates have unfortunately changed little since we closed the campus. In order to protect our community, the educational activities of the School will remain online until we determine it is safe to fully reopen. We will continue our careful monitoring of the COVID-19 situation and will keep the community updated as we know more.

Important Dates for Spring 2021

December 7: Registration begins for returning students
January 4: Registration begins for new students
January 11: Early Childhood Orientation for new students
January 19: First day of classes
March 29–April 4: Spring Break
April 16: Priority summer registration for continuing students
April 19–25: Jury week-no classes or private lessons
April 26: Open summer registration for all students and Early Childhood Orientation
May 15: Priority 2021–22 annual registration for continuing students
May 24: Last day of spring semester

New for 2020–21

Gap year packages: For students who are planning to defer their undergraduate studies, these packages will provide comprehensive lessons and theory curriculum.

Master class series: Available and open to all registered students and will complement other institutional master class offerings.

Private Music Lessons

Lessons are full-year registrations (32 weeks). Free payment plans are available from August through April, and the $50 Registration Fee began on September 1.

The Community School anticipates offering students the choice of continuing to take lessons remotely once faculty and students are able to return safely to campus. These arrangements will be made directly between the student and faculty member, and it will be at the discretion of each private lesson instructor to determine what platform is in the best interest of the student.

Group Classes

All Group Classes—Early Childhood, instrumental group classes, Jazz Workshops, chamber music, and drama—will begin the semester through remote instruction. The school will continuously monitor public health and government guidelines to determine when it will be safe to return to campus.

Music Theory
The school anticipates theory classes will remain remote for the entirety of the 2020–21 academic year. Students registered in 32-week lesson packages are able to receive a 50% discount for theory classes for Elementary Music Theory II and levels above.

New Jazz Theory class
Students registered in a Jazz Workshop class will be able to receive Jazz Theory at a 50% discount.

Large Ensembles

Choral Ensembles
The Community School will not be offering choral ensembles for the 2020–21 academic year.

The practice of singing is particularly dangerous in the current global pandemic, given the ease and mode of transmission of COVID-19. Knowing this, even when a return to campus is possible, as long as there are social distancing guidelines in place, it will be impossible to resume choral ensembles.

Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble
The Community School will not be offering bands for the 2020–21 academic year.

Due to social distancing guidelines and available space on campus it has been determined that there is not an adequate area to be able to facilitate band instruction on campus for the 2020–21 academic year.

It is unlikely the school will be offering orchestras during 2020–21 academic year.

As the school continues to monitor social distancing guidelines, if it’s feasible, smaller string and orchestral ensembles will resume.

For string players interested developing their skills and technique in a supportive environment, check out the Violin Sight Reading class and String Workshops. Auditions are required.

A Message from the Dean

Dean Susan Cook

Colburn’s Community School of Performing Arts (Community School) is dedicated to providing the highest quality performing arts education possible to students of all ages and levels of abilities who have a passion, curiosity, and commitment to study. I encourage you to take the time to explore the myriad of ensembles, group classes, and individual lessons offered throughout the year in both music and drama.

The Community School is committed to providing the highest quality performing arts education possible to a diverse student body in an inclusive environment where all students, regardless of background, level of ability, and age, who have a passion, curiosity, and dedication to study can participate.

Through the generosity of our donors, the Community School provides over $700,000 of scholarship support annually. It is not uncommon for our students to pursue graduate studies at conservatories or other degree-granting music institutions throughout the country and abroad.

Colburn’s distinguished faculty are skilled at working with students at various stages in their development and are extremely devoted to nurturing and honing instruction to meet the needs of each unique individual.

Most importantly, all of our students learn the value of high-quality, in-depth study of a creative art form–an experience they will carry with them for their entire lives. As stated so eloquently by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”

I look forward to seeing returning and new students and families on our vibrant campus each year, and I encourage you to explore our school, to begin or hone an exciting art form, or come to a concert to join this amazing community of individuals who have a passion for the performing arts.

With best regards,
Susan Cook
Dean, Community School of Performing Arts

Why Colburn?

Young violinists on stage
Founded in 1950, Colburn’s Community School of Performing Arts is committed to making the highest quality music education accessible to students of all ages and levels of abilities who have a passion, curiosity, and commitment for music study.


The Community School offers classes, lessons, and ensembles for over 1,700 students, with programs encompassing early childhood, beginning instrument, drama, ensembles, choir, conducting, and theoretical and musicianship studies. In addition, the generosity of our donors allows the Community School to provide over $650,000 of scholarship support each year; approximately 40 students receive completely free comprehensive instruction annually.

The Faculty and Training

Acclaimed, world-class faculty share their expertise with students as young as seven months and also provide instruction for adults. Read the faculty bios and find the perfect teacher!

Many of our Community School students go on to conservatory or other degree-granting music programs, and numerous Community School students have been winners of regional and national awards and competitions, including DownBeat Student Music Awards, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Music Center Spotlight Competition, and YoungArts Competition.

The Campus

The Colburn School is located on Grand Avenue, amongst some of the most prestigious arts organizations in the country. With three recital halls, countless practice rooms, and plenty of stunning views of downtown Los Angeles, Colburn’s facilities are the perfect place for aspiring artists to work on their craft.

Performance Opportunities

Community School students participate in a variety of community outreach programs and perform in multiple concerts and recitals annually, many of which are free and open to the public. The Colburn School welcomes over 100,000 audience members to the Colburn campus over the course of the semester.

Due to the Colburn School’s reputation and level of education, internationally acclaimed musicians regularly visit the Colburn School, perform on our stages, and give master classes to our students. In 2019, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the Calidore String Quartet, and longstanding Colburn friend, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, all taught master classes for Community School students.

Colburn Community

Discover like-minded students and families while pursuing musical and artistic excellence. With classes and events throughout the week on campus, meeting new friends and colleagues is as easy as grabbing a cup a coffee at the Colburn Café. The Community School also participates in public engagement events such as Grand Avenue Arts: All Access, Open House, and the monthly alumni and parent department’s Office Hours.


Choir students in rehearsal

Individual Lessons

Colburn provides many opportunities for singers of all ages to flourish here on campus. Private voice lessons start at age 13. Colburn teaches voice in a healthy and natural way and recommends individual lessons for older students due to developmental considerations. To begin the process for individual lessons, please submit an inquiry form.

For children under age 13, a vocal assessment will help determine next steps for your child’s continued vocal development.

Group Classes

At age 10, students can take Intro to Solo Singing, a class designed for students who eventually want to move to voice lessons. To register for group classes, please visit the registration site.


For singers ages five–adult, the Community School offers choral ensembles designed to teach musicianship, build musicality, and develop expression and performance skills.

Learn More