Welcome! We are delighted you are visiting our website to learn more about the Portland Conservatory of Music (PCM). We are a non-profit organization and a privileged member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, which serves to ensure everyone has access to arts learning throughout their lives. This year, we are proudly celebrating our 20th year of providing quality music education to people of all ages, abilities, and financial circumstances. We educate through both musical instruction and concert performances, reaching our students as well as the general public. Tuition alone does not cover the cost of lessons and our concerts are either free or priced well below the cost to produce them. Sharing our love of music has been a truly memorable experience and in the spirit of our mission, I am thrilled to update you on our accomplishments and announce our future plans.
Our talented faculty provide a high level of musical education to a wide range of students. We employ over 50 instructors and teach nearly 30 different instruments, offering everything from the full repertoire of instruments for orchestra to African drums and ukulele. We offer both private and group lessons, including Suzuki classes (for children) in cello, guitar, piano, viola, and violin. In keeping with our mission to provide quality music education for all, we supplement the cost of music lessons for those qualifying for financial aid.
For spring 2016 we are planning various classes for both homeschoolers and senior citizens, further extending the audience we serve and improving the quality of life for a greater segment of Maine’s residents. The homeschool classes will be offered for three different age groups: 5-8 year-olds (Music for Munchkins), 9-12 year-olds (Music Essentials for Young Musicians), and 13-18 year-olds (Music History and Appreciation). For senior citizens we are planning two classes: Opera Appreciation and Musical Theatre Performance. The opera class, for novice to expert opera buffs, will include field trips to view the Metropolitan Opera HD performances, as well as PORTopera’s live production of Bizet’s Carmen. The musical theatre performance class will provide Broadway music lovers an opportunity to rehearse a variety of songs in a fun atmosphere. The homeschool classes will be led by our Community Outreach Director, Don Pride, while the senior classes will be led by Karger College Prep Director and vocal specialist, Scott Wheatley. These classes will be new offerings for us and we would appreciate your efforts in getting the word out to families, friends, and applicable facilities.
To further extend the audience we serve, we will be offering a teacher workshop on Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a program specifically developed to teach toddlers music comprehension through movement of the body in space. The teacher workshop, led by Dalcroze Eurhythmics specialist, Lisa Parker, is scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 2016. Further details about the workshop, as well as registration materials, can be accessed from our homepage. We anticipate offering our own class for toddlers later in spring 2016. Please stay tuned for further developments.
In fall 2014, we formed a Jazz Studies Division, led by saxophonist/composer Titus Abbott. The Jazz Division is committed to nurturing the creative and expressive abilities of students ages 12-adult through high-level jazz training. Classes include: ensembles, Jazz Harmony and Composition, and Jazz History.
Through local community groups, the Community Outreach Division, begun in 2013, delivers free, or low-cost, music lessons to underprivileged youth. Over the last year, enabled by funding provided by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation, we have worked with Mayo Street Arts and the Boys and Girls Club of Portland, offering guitar and music appreciation classes. For spring 2016 we are slated to extend our outreach to The Root Cellar in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood and the Intercultural Community Center in Westbrook. Led by Community Outreach Director, guitarist/composer Don Pride, the classes offer students a non-judgmental learning environment in which to learn music as well as history, with the added benefit of serving to build students’ confidence.
Supplemented by PCM scholarships, our Karger College Prep Division (Karger) provides talented high schoolers a comprehensive music education that prepares students for a future in music. Now in its fifth year, Karger is the only comprehensive college preparatory program north of Boston. It educates gifted youth in solo and chamber repertoire, music theory and ear training, as well as piano for non-pianists. Highlights of the Karger program typically include Master classes with renown musicians and opportunities for public performances. This past year Karger students enjoyed a Master class with Portland Ovations guest artist Ray Chen and performed at Piper Shores Senior Retirement Community. This year they will perform as part of our Noonday Concert series at First Parish Church in Portland. The Karger kids are always looking for performance opportunities, so please let us know of any prospective venues. The Karger Division is directed by professional vocalist Scott Wheatley, with additional coaching provided by gifted guest instructors. Under Scott’s expert leadership, students in the program are energized by the camaraderie found in making music with like-minded, talented classmates. Auditions for the program are held at the beginning of each semester and application materials can be found on our website under the Karger Program. A new possibility for the Division is a specialized group for opera performance. Once again, stay tuned for these exciting developments.
On the performance side, we present over 75 concerts annually—classical, jazz, and everything in-between. This is the 20th year we have offered free Noonday Concerts in downtown Portland at First Parish Unitarian Church. Noonday Concerts frequently showcase our talented faculty and underscore the diversity of styles we embrace. In the spring, we produce the Back Cove Contemporary Music Festival, which serves to highlight avant-garde work produced by Maine composers. This fall, we completed our fourth annual Early Music Festival to rave reviews in the Portland Press Herald, among others. Led by lutenist Tim Burris and vocalist Timothy Neill Johnson, the Early Music Festival brings gifted scholars and performers to PCM to share their passion for repertoire from the Renaissance through the Classical Era. Our newest offering is Paul Lichter’s Dimensions in Jazz series, further extending our range of concert performances and expanding our audience base. The 25 year-old Dimensions in Jazz series is well-known to jazz fans and performers alike throughout the Northeast. Recent jazz luminaries have included David Liebman, Satoko Fujii, Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban. Please see our Concerts page for a complete listing of the line-up.
More information about these and other programs is available here on our website. Feel free to call our office at (207) 775-3356 or email PCM at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. Please introduce your friends to us, and we hope to see you and your family in our classes and at our concerts.
Thank you again for visiting our website!
Jean Murachanian, Ph.D.