music school faq's
A: With the instructor's permission, CSMA permits class observation during the last two classes of the term.
Private Lessons & Classes
A: CSMA classes cover the full range of styles from classical, jazz, popular and world music. Classes are offered for all ages and all skill levels.
We provide introductory group instruction for various instruments, ensemble and theory classes, and a range of special interest classes. See a complete list of Music Classes in our online catalog.
A: Although excellent teachers can be found in almost every neighborhood, as a music school CSMA presents your child with many important advantages:
- broader choices and access to teachers, instruments, classes, interaction with other students, concerts and performance opportunities
- alternative schedule options
- a teacher matched to your specific needs, level and style
- an environment where students can be stimulated in their musical discoveries
- financial aid program for students and families who need assistance
Because we believe in providing a complete music education to our students, your choice of a free weekly Core Curriculum Class is included in your private lesson tuition.
A: CSMA teachers provide a nurturing and positive attitude, good use of time, skills and knowledge to the desired level, goal-setting, and responsiveness to student/parent questions.
A: Each student needs to have an instrument available for regular practice. You may purchase, rent, buy or borrow an instrument. CSMA has a limited number of instruments for emergency short-term loan. Many excellent music stores in the area can help you with your needs.
A: CSMA recommends daily practice of 30-60 minutes, depending on age/level. A regular routine is much better than long, infrequent sessions. If good habits develop from the beginning, students will achieve their true reward - the best progress possible.
A: CSMA allows withdrawal within 3 days of the second lesson, but requires commitment to the full semester after taking that. We encourage commitment and patience over a period of time to understand how the rewards of musical accomplishments are secured and enjoyed.
A: Tuition for private lessons depends on the length of the lesson and the number of weeks in the semester. See our Private Lessons page for the current semester's tuition and fees. In keeping with our commitment to Arts for All, our Financial Aid Program offers tuition assistance for lessons.
A: CSMA registers new students three times during the year, prior to the beginning of each semester. A new student orientation (now available online) is required for new adult private lesson students or the parents of new school-age students and must be completed before registering for private lessons. CSMA accepts new students after the semester has begun on a space-available basis only. Click here for more information about registration, or contact CSMA's Student Services Office, 650-917-6800 ext. 0.
For the Beginner
A: Six years old is a good general guide, although some children start earlier with a special curriculum. For a successful and enjoyable start to instrumental lessons, CSMA recommends that your child have:
- a 30-minute concentration span
- the ability to work with adult guidance
- age-appropriate word-reading ability and motor skills
Recommended starting ages:
- 4-7 years -- string instruments (violin, cello, guitar)
- 6-8 years -- piano
- 8-10 years -- clarinet, drums, flute, oboe, saxophone,
- 9-12 years -- bassoon, French horn, trombone, trumpet, voice
A: In making this decision, CSMA recommends consideration of your child's needs and whether your presence will help:
- teacher-student relationship/communication
- your understanding of lesson style, assignments, progress
- use of lesson time
- discovery of special talents/problems, etc.
A: Follow your child's interests. It is counter-productive to force a child to take lessons. CSMA offers a wide range of music activities for children, including introductory group classes in keyboard, guitar, and violin.
A: Suzuki is a music curriculum designed for instruction during the pre-reading years (ages 4-6), inspired by the philosophy of Japanese educator Shinichi Suzuki.
CSMA offers both group classes and private lessons in Suzuki Violin (for students 4 to 5 years of age) and Suzuki Recorder* (for students 3-1/2 to 5 years of age).
*Suzuki Recorder group classes offered during Summer Session only.
For the Continuing & Advanced Student
A: Student recitals at the school; outreach performances in the community; various certificate programs; classical and jazz ensembles; advanced theory by arrangement; masterclasses and private instruction from guest artist teachers.
A: Yes. At registration time, any special needs should be communicated to our staff to ensure the best possible placement for your child.
A: CSMA offers a variety of music classes for preschool children, including some parent-participation classes. Adventures in Music (ages 18 mos-3 yrs) allows parents/caregivers to join their children in singing, creative movement & musical games. In classes such as Musical Stepping Stones and Creative Music Makers (ages 3-5 yrs) children learn basic music skills through singing, playing percussion instruments, and reading music symbols. View our online catalog for a full list of classes for preschoolers.