Music is the universal language everyone understands!
Music reaches across borders, bridges cultures and brings people together… and then, there’s more. Teamwork, improved memory and problem-solving are just a few of the many benefits of making music.
CSMA offers a wide range of courses for all ages, from learning a new instrument to being part of an ensemble.
Share in the joy of music…
Music at CSMA
Music Instruction Faculty
Ashley (she/her) graduated with a BM in Music Performance, Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University in 2013. She has been performing professionally and teaching private and group lessons for well over twenty years. With experience in many styles including rock,...
Leah Missall (she/they) is a flute teacher for CSMA. She is originally from Shrewsbury, MA, and graduated Ithaca College with a bachelors in music performance and education. She did her student teaching here in Ithaca at Boynton middle school. She has been playing flute for 13 years now and is excited to begin her education career. Outside of music, she enjoys reading, hiking, and playing with her cat, Padfoot.
Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum
Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum is a music teacher, choral director, performer and event coordinator with music education degrees from Ithaca College and Columbia University. In addition to serving on the faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts, she is the choir director at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca and teaches at Namaste Montessori School.
Amy Opperman Cash
B.A. Piano, Ithaca College. Attended High School of Music and Art, NYC. Studied with Kendall Taylor in London, England. Over twenty years teaching experience.
David Allen Coester
David Allen Coester has been teaching the guitar to people of all ages and abilities for more than 25 years — formerly at the Crestwood Music Education Center in Westchester County and in his private studio in downtown Ithaca.
Ed began his musical journey early, starting on clarinet at age 9. He soon moved on to saxophone, guitar, and piano and gained experience on trombone, French horn, and flute before falling in love with singing and opera.
William Hurley is an Ithaca-based violinist/violist, teacher, and luthier. Violin – M.M., Violin Performance, Ithaca College. B.A. in Violin Performance, University of South Carolina.
Violist Jaime Kibelsbeck has been an instructor and freelance performer for over fifteen years. She has performed in the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Tri-Cities Opera, and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. An early music enthusiast, she has also performed as a member of Cornell University’s early music ensemble Le Petit Violons as a baroque violis
Pianist Nolan Miller grew up in Ithaca, and is active in the area as a teacher and performer. He holds a BM in piano performance from Houghton College; an MM from Syracuse University; and a DM from Florida State University, where his major professor was Read...
Christopher Morgan Loy
Composer-pianist Christopher Morgan Loy has a catalog of compositions which includes works for piano, voice, chamber ensembles, chamber orchestra, full orchestra, and chorus. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from Cornell University where he studied composition with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, Karel Husa (1969) and Steven Stucky (2005).
Zaun Marshburn has been a professional drummer and percussionist since 1993. He has traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad playing in venues large and small such as The Bowery Ballroom in NYC opening for Julianna Hetfield, and The Haunt in Ithaca, as well as in many area schools. He can be heard playing with several groups including Wingnut, Black is Green, and MSZM.
Jan Nigro is a co-founder, songwriter for, and performer with Vitamin L, a youth choral group which performs extensively year-round at schools, education conferences, festivals, and camps. He is also the founder and musical director of Mostly Motown and has been an Artist in Residence (Songwriter) for the Empire State Arts Partnership Program in conjunction with the Hangar Theater and the Ithaca City School District.
Karen Melamed Smith
Karen Melamed Smith studied piano and composition at the Music Institute of Chicago while growing up and has taught piano and various music and movement classes in similar community schools in NYC and at CSMA for many years.
Proficient in classical, jazz, folk/rock, and hip hop Emmett splits his time teaching private lessons and accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists at Ithaca College. Emmett is passionate about fostering a love of music in both beginners and experienced players, and teaching with aspects of theory, aural training and sight reading for a well rounded musical education.
Specializing in teaching students how to play and sing simultaneously and employing an easy-going, creative, song-oriented pop/rock approach, Gerald has taught for over 12 years both one-on-one and in groups with students of all ages. To help each student uncover...
Chris White is a classical, jazz and improvisational cellist and teacher. He has performed and taught around the U.S., and in Canada, Europe and North Africa. Chris has several solo recordings and has played on numerous recordings of other artists including Jody Kessler, Joe Crookston, Scott Adams, Javier Ruibal and others.