Music Lessons Are For Everyone At Eastman Community Music School

Living in Rochester, we have access to one of the most prestigious schools of music in the country. The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by George Eastman and today is one of the professional schools of The University of Rochester where faculty and students are devoted to the pursuit of the highest level of musical artistry.

But did you know that you don’t have to be an undergraduate student to study music there? The Eastman Community Music School offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles to members of the Rochester community for all ages!

Private Lessons

Private Lessons are available on all instruments and in voice, composition, and jazz improvisation with ECMS instructors and interns. For most instrumentalists, the recommended age for beginning private study is age 7. Pianists and violinists may start at a younger age; for vocalists, the recommended age is about 10.

Group Classes

Group Classes include a variety of topics from early childhood music classes to music theory, aural skills, technology and history to group voice and instrument instruction.

Early Childhood Program
Ages 4 Months – 6 Years
Saturday mornings
September – May

MusicTIME4 months to 2 yearsFor infants, toddlers and their caregivers. Musical activities that include songs, rhymes, bounces, listening and moving to music.
Music Times Two2 to 3.5 yearsFor children and their caregivers. Musical activities include singing, movement and playing instruments.
Music Makers 3.5 and 4 yearsMusical activities include developing skills in singing, listening and musical vocabulary with opportunities to play classroom percussion instruments.
Clef Club 5 and 6 yearsMusical activities include singing, rhythmic activities, moving to music, musical concepts, musical games and playing percussion instruments. Children will begin foundational activities in reading and writing music.

Kindergarten – Grade 1
9 week class on Saturday mornings
Offered September through May

Bridges introduces children to instruments including Piano, Strings, Guitar/Ukulele, Harp, Percussion and Singing. Instruments are provided. The session concludes with a performance for friends and families. Students may sign up to repeat the course or transition to private lessons.

Elementary Musicianship: Theory In Motion
Grade 2 through Middle School
Two 17-Week Semesters
Elementary Musicianship: Theory in Motion is a five-level program focusing on aural and kinesthetic musical understanding, music literacy, and musicianship. Students will enjoy active, fun-filled lessons that develop and expand their musical skills and understanding.

Introductory Piano
Grade 2 through Middle School
Two 17-Week Semesters
Introductory Piano Classes are a great way to begin to play an instrument with an eye toward possible future private study.  No previous musical knowledge is necessary! 

Fundamental Musicianship
Grade 6 and up
Fundamental Musicianship is an introductory theory and aural skills class covering fundamental rhythm and pitch reading and writing. Students will understand duple and triple rhythm as well as major and minor reading, dictation, and composition. Students will focus on scales, keys, pitch labeling (treble and bass clef), and foundational aural and kinesthetic understanding with all concepts.

Diploma Program
Grade 7 and up and adult
The Eastman Community Music School’s Diploma Program represents a comprehensive musical training, encompassing a well-balanced blend of individual and ensemble instruction, performance, and academic coursework. The program allows for individualized flexibility while maintaining a rigorous standard of excellence. Students are required to fulfill requirements in the following areas: individual lessons, exams and performances, academic coursework and ensembles.

There are many other history and theory classes available such as History of Western Music, Jazz History, Music Recording, Film Scoring, Conducting and more!


Ensembles provide students with the opportunity to rehearse, create, and perform music together in a supportive, nurturing, and inspiring environment.  While most ensembles can be taken with or without concurrent private instruction, they offer a venue for students to apply the skills learned in individual lessons to collaborative music making.

Young Eastman Strings (YES!)
Grades 2-6
Young Eastman Strings (YES) is a comprehensive, educational program for all students, who are in 6th grade or younger, studying a bowed string instrument. The YES program offers a learning path for any level of proficiency, which includes group string classes, individual lessons, ensembles and progressive classes in fundamental musical skills. 

Eastman Young Children’s Chorus
Singers Grades 2-4
Instruments Grade 2 through Middle School
Two 17-Week Semesters
This program offers singers in grades 2-4 a wide array of music from diverse cultures. The chorus performs twice per school year at Eastman. Each chorus member will participate in a weekly rehearsal and a weekly theory and musicianship class: Elementary Musicianship: Theory in Motion.

Eastman Children’s Chorus
Voice and Instruments Grades 5 – 8
This program offers singers in grades 5-8 a wide array of music from diverse cultures. The chorus performs twice at Eastman during the school year. Each chorus member will participate in a weekly rehearsal and a weekly theory musicianship class; generally, for grades 5-6 this means Elementary Musicianship: Theory in Motion, and for grades 7-8 Fundamental Musicianship or Music Theory & Aural Skills 1.

With so many ensemble groups, there is something for everyone at Eastman Community Music School! Here are just some of the ensemble groups that musicians can be a part of.

Junior High Jazz EnsembleXXWoodwind, Brass, Keyboard & Voice
Eastman Youth Chamber SingersXWoodwind, Brass, Keyboard & Voice
Eastman Youth Jazz OrchestraXWoodwind, Brass, Keyboard & Voice
Virtuosi Bowed-Strings EnsembleXXStrings
Chamber Music For StringsXXXStrings
Baroque Chamber MusicXStrings
Guitar EnsemblesXXXGuitar
Harp EnsemblesXXHarp
Saxophone QuartetXXSaxophone
Trumpet EnsembleXTrumpet
Trombone EnsembleXTrombone
Krusenstjerna Scholarship Flute ChoirXFlute
Rhythm AdventureXXPercussion
Drum JoyXPercussion
Brazilian Percussion EnsembleXXPercussion
Music Educators’ EnsemblesXStrings, Woodwind & Brass
New Horizons Ensembles & OrchestrasXStrings, Woodwind & Brass
*Not A Complete List

This Summer

There is a lot you can do this summer at the Eastman Community Music School including a shortened session for the Early Childhood Program, Day Camps and the Summer Studio Orchestra – a great opportunity for children and parents to play together!

For more information about lessons, classes and ensembles, contact Eastman Community Music School at [email protected] or 585-274-1400.

This article is sponsored by Eastman Community Music School.
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Jackie R.
Jackie is the Founder of Rochester Mom Collective. She grew up in Ohio and moved to California to work in film where she had lots of adventures on movie sets. She met her husband in Hollywood and they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after getting married. In San Francisco, Jackie found work at a medical clinic where she gathered parenting resources for new moms in need. After being on the West Coast for fifteen years, they moved with their three children to the Rochester area to be near family. Jackie has operated her own photography business, Jackie Rutan Photography, for ten years. Jackie enjoys her quality time with friends and family, fellowshipping at her church and drinking iced coffee.