Music Spans Generations And Builds Community

Music can evoke powerful emotions. It might make you dance with joy, shed tears of sorrow, feel comforted in difficult times or sing out loud (and maybe off-key). Above all, music can bring people together and can cultivate a sense of connection and community.

In Tacoma, the Community Music department at the University of Puget Sound fosters connection through music in its robust, year-round private and group sessions set on a musically vibrant college campus. “We have something for everyone,” says Kristen Murphy, director of Community Music. More than 20 instruments are taught, in addition to voice, musical theater, Kindermusik and an infant program. No wonder the students range in age from newborn to octogenarian.

“Some of our students are studying music as a career, either to become a professional performer or an educator,” explains Murphy. “Others are returning to it for personal enrichment or already know an instrument and want to become skilled with another. Many of the youngest students are in their first classroom settings and forge friendships that carry them into their school years.”

The diversity of Community Music’s students parallels that of the faculty. Nearly 50 local performing artists, public and private school music teachers, and UPS students, academic faculty and alumni make up the group. Murphy describes the program’s exceptional instructors as some of the best players and teachers in the area.

“It’s wonderful to walk into our building and hear music all around you,” says Murphy. But even better, she says, is that the talents of these aspiring and established musicians are carried back into the community to strengthen local groups—from orchestras to school bands to church choirs. “It’s a really nice, symbiotic relationship.”

Community Music welcomes students of all ages and all skill levels. Motivation and interest are the only entrance requirements.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For additional information:
Community Music University of Puget Sound
1500 North Warner St, Tacoma
253.879.3575
pugetsound.edu/communitymusic