A jazz trio performed as part of the grand opening of Levine Music. Photo by Mike Diegel.
Levine Music celebrated the grand opening of its campus in the Silver Spring Library Nov. 14, expanding its presence in Montgomery County.
The organization is interested in responding to the needs of the Silver Spring community that surrounds its fifth campus, the second in Montgomery County (the first is at The Music Center at Strathmore).
“One thing we really didn’t want to do is come in and, while we are offering our core programming, come in and say ‘This is what you need, this is what you should have,’” said Karen Shepherd, head of Maryland campuses for Levine.
The new space also gives Levine an opportunity to offer programs that it hasn’t been able to offer at the Strathmore location.
“For example, one of the things we offer at our D.C. campus is music technology,” Shepherd said.
The library location allows additional opportunities to serve its students.
“If a student that is really interested in music technology can come and take one of the classes here,” she said. “They might not be able to go home and have the opportunity to work on a home computer. The fact [is] that we can connect with the library and really use that as a synergy point to complement the offerings.”
The group is getting traffic coming from the library to their 16 studios, including a performance space, on the second floor. The campus is growing quickly, with about 25 people on the Silver Spring faculty. There are a number of free performances offered as well.
“I think we offer a really diverse curriculum,” said Emily Magenheimer, campus manager for Silver Spring. “It’s not just private teaching. We have students that have come up with their own ideas. Our teachers and our faculty are really flexible.”
Levine’s music education programs begin with children as young as four months. They are serving about 2,500 young people at the five campuses, as well as about 800 adults.
“It’s a community music school, which means we are open and welcoming to anyone who wants to learn about music,” said Sarah Andrew Wilson, director of music education for youth, “whether you’re a total novice all the way to pre-conservatory students.”
They also offer adult courses and have people from over 18 to students in their 70s and 80s, she added, some of whom have never played an instrument.
“In early childhood music classes for that young,” Wilson said, referring to infants and toddlers, “it’s really for the parents to spend time with their children. For babies, [it’s] learning rhythm, helping children incorporating what a steady beat is. There’s a lot of bouncing babies on your knee and playing with instruments.
“It’s really helping to develop the whole child,” she continued. “It’s helping to develop the physical, cognitive, emotional [and] social skills.”
As they get older, Levine offers a wide variety of programs, including individual and group lessons in voice and instruments, music theory courses and ensemble play. There is a tuition assistance program as well to make the programs more affordable for interested students.
Karen Shepherd (left) shows the childhood education room to Councilmember Hans Riemer and another guest. Photo by Mike Diegel.
The new facility will have recording studios as well as rooms for lessons and rehearsals. Photo by Mike Diegel.