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Community Music School

The Community Music School is a fee-for-service outreach program for children and youth aged 3 to 18. The program offers Saturday music classes from September to June through Humber College’s Music Department, School of Creative and Performing Arts, Lakeshore Campus, Toronto.  

Formed in 1980, this unique program was originally established to offer children and youth an alternative form of music education to traditional classical lessons. The School has since established itself as an innovator and leader in youth jazz education.

The School constantly strives to create new opportunities for youth to experience, explore and expand their knowledge and skill in music. In particular, the program has been actively working to develop new projects that provide talented youth within the GTA with progressive stepping-stones that help prepare students to compete for challenging international performance opportunities.

At the same time, the program remains firmly grounded in its commitment to provide a solid musical education that fosters the joy of making music in all of its students and helps to develop the discipline and commitment required for success.

Over the past 30 years, the School has established an international reputation as a leader in jazz education; built relationships and networks with local, regional, national and international organizations involved in music and music education; has helped thousands of students from across the GTA explore, develop and pursue their individual talent and aspirations with music; and has helped prepare some of Canada’s finest up and coming young artists for careers in the commercial / jazz performance field.

Designed to provide young students with an alternative to traditional classical studies in music.

Whether the goal is to study music at a recreational or professional level, the Community Music School strives to foster the joy of music making in all students and to encourage the development of the discipline and commitment required for success.

Commitment to Aural Training

Music is an aural art form and Community Music students are trained through an aural approach to the music. From the singing games and pitch matching in the Early Childhood classes to the 'by ear' role modeling in the Jazz Level, students learn to use and develop their ears at each stage of their studies.

Unique and Sequential Curriculum

A unique curriculum has been developed that allows students to progress naturally and easily from Early Childhood Music classes to advanced level small group jazz performance studies. The curriculum provides all students with a rich and comprehensive musical education while fully supporting those who have the talent and passion to pursue a performance career in the field of commercial/jazz music.

Professional Faculty

At all levels of the program, the faculty are highly trained educators and/or accomplished professional musicians with a commitment to youth, education and music. The program provides opportunity for young aspiring students to study directly with world-class artists.

Strong Industry and Community Relationships

The program is well established in the local and national scene with strong networks built throughout the professional performance and education industries. Click the here to see a listing of our community partnerships.

A few fast facts about the Community Music School

  • The Community Music School is offered through the Humber College Music Department, School of Creative and Performing Arts, Lakeshore Campus
  • The Community School was founded in 1980 and celebrates its 35th anniversary in January 2015
  • Students are drawn from the Greater Toronto Area
  • Student ages range from three to eighteen years
  • There are three distinct levels: Early Childhood Music (3-6 yrs), Children's Music (6-12 yrs), and Youth  Jazz (12-18 yrs)
  • Most students study both Classical and Jazz idioms
  • Classes include private lessons and ensemble classes
  • Instructors are all qualified music educators and/or professional musicians including a number of Canada’s top jazz artists
  • The level of family commitment to the Community Music School is extremely high, with many families involved for over 15 years
  • Students participate in numerous local events and initiatives
  • The program has strong ties with local music industry and music education groups
  • The program partners with external professional and community groups on various projects throughout the year
  • The Community Music School is highly respected within the Canadian Jazz community 

Community Music School has...

  • employed 20-25 part time music teachers a year
  • delivered 90,000 + hours of music instruction
  • run over 250 jazz combos for youth ages 12-18
  • prepared over 100 students for post-secondary music programs
  • earned national and international recognition for excellence in education

Students have...

  • won over 200 Gold Awards at Musicfest Canada
  • performed across Canada, the United States and Europe
  • won major awards and scholarships from across North America
  • garnered over $2 million in scholarship offers from North American universities and colleges

Graduates have been...

  • placed in high profile post-secondary music programs across North America
  • offered record deals
  • nominated for Juno awards
  • working as musicians in Canada, the US and Europe
  • employed as teachers in local, public and post-secondary schools

Recognized and applauded by leading industry groups

Musicfest Canada National Festival, The Canadian Association for Jazz Education, The International Association for Jazz Education, The TD Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival, the National Council for Community Services and Continuing Education and Humber College.


Foundations for Success: DownBeat Magazine Honours Fifth Community Music School Alumnus

Humber College’s Community Music School has long fostered a joy of music making while helping budding musicians develop the skills and discipline required for long-term success.

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Innovation of the Year Award Winner

Cathy received the award for her creation of the Community Music program here at Humber College.

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Community Music Celebrates 35 Years

To celebrate our 35th birthday, Humber's Community Music program hosted a “Jazz Hang” at The Rex Hotel on June 28th, 2015.

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Success Stories

Anthony Fung

Anthony Fung

Anthony Fung attended the Community Music program from 2008 - 2010 and has just become the first Canadian to be accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. 

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Lorne Lofsky

Lorne Lofsky

Lorne Lofsky teaches in Humber's Community Music program. He told us a bit about music, teaching, and a typical day in his life as a musician.

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Chris Donnelly

Chris Donnelly

Community Music alumnus Chris Donnelly represents a new generation of jazz pianists, composers and improvisers dedicated to creating programs that are engaging, entertaining and educating.

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