The Community Music Center is a Portland Parks & Recreation program in partnership with the nonprofit Community Music Center, Inc. It has been a popular place for music lessons and concerts in Portland since 1955 and is now one of over 20 PP&R sites offering music instruction. It is also part of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.
CMC enhances the greater Portland community by providing opportunities for all ages to learn about, make and enjoy music. We do this though;
- affordable music classes and lessons,
- free and low-cost concerts and workshops,
- low-cost instrument rentals,
- and other resources for the public,
all subsidized by the City and the non-profit. About 1,000 participants of all ages currently enjoy regular music activities at the Center, instructed by a faculty of over 55 professional performing arts teachers.
Support Community Music Center
The Community Music Center, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports programs at Community Music Center. For information and to donate, visit communitymusiccenter.org.
Classes, Lessons, and Ensembles
Virtual and In-Person Programs
School Year 2021-2022 Programs
Activities welcoming new beginners indicated with “*”.
- Early Childhood
- *Parent and Child Exploring Together
- *Instrument Lessons: violin, viola, cello, piano, clarinet, saxophone. Virtual (via Zoom) options are available.
- *Music Skills
- Suzuki Group Classes
- String Orchestra & Chamber Ensembles
- Creative Ensembles
- Ukulele (Free and in-person at Rosewood Initiative)
- Community Choir
- Community String Orchestra
- Recorder (via Zoom)
- Guitar Circle (FREE and in-person at Rosewood Initiative)
- Adult 60+ (also see Lifelong Recreation)
- *Group Piano Lessons. Virtual (via Zoom) options are available.
- *Community Choir
- Community String Orchestra
- Adaptive Recreation (also see Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation)
- *Drum Circle, age 18 and up
See all activities and registration details online on the PP&R registration site. Contact PP&R Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525 for more information.
Explore PP&R's Stay & Play videos for arts, crafts, nature, and more.
CMC offers need-based scholarships for registrants, subsidized by the non-profit Community Music Center, Inc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, activities will be free or "pay what you can," without a scholarship form or documentation required. Otherwise, the scholarship policy is as follows:
What are the scholarship amounts given?
You tell us what you feel you can afford based on your household income, number of dependents and wage-earners, and extenuating circumstances. We'll look at that and your documentation and work with you to come up with an agreed amount.
Who pays for the scholarships?
The non-profit Community Music Center Inc. raises money year-round to make up the difference between what a class costs to run and what the students pay.
Are there requirements?
You provide supporting documents once a year (Summer or Fall Term) to validate your declared income level (this is temporarily waived during the covid emergency closure). The highest level of attendance and completion of assignments is expected of all scholarship recipients. Applicants applying for scholarships above 90% may be asked to engage in work-study, in which case a volunteer application form with a background check will be necessary. Other requirements, such as regular attendance, are listed on the scholarship form. Scholarships may be denied for those not meeting payment commitment, program requirements, and/or at least 80% attendance.
CMC lowers the barriers to music instruction by providing low-cost instruments for those who need them. Thanks to generous donations, low-cost string instrument rentals are available to Portland Parks & Recreation music participants, with priority given first to scholarship students, then youth, then adults.
New or current renters, please use our online form to make your rental instrument requests.
Contact CMC for more details by calling 503-823-3177.
PP&R facilities and programs are operating at reduced levels under COVID-19. The CMC Auditorium is not open for booking rentals at this time. You may provide your contact information to receive updates as new information becomes available.
Auditorium amenities include:
- Great acoustics for un-amplified instruments
- Flexible seating for up to 140 people. The stage is ca. 15' x 30. Main floor is ca. 30' x 45'. Adjacent lobby for receptions.
- Steinway "B" grand piano (additional fee)
- Built-in digital recording and playback equipment
- Harpsichord (tuning not included)
- Kitchenette w/ restaurant-style coffee maker (food or drink in the lobby only, however - not in the concert hall itself)
- Wireless mic with amp
- Manhasset music stands
- Computer projector (additional fee)
- Reception tables, punch bowls, and other equipment (bring own table cloth)
Temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.
When open, CMC adds to the wide variety of live performances in Portland, with over 150 music events every year in the David Beasley Campbell Recital Hall. We offer discounts to non-profits and low-price hours to increase access to free and low-cost music events in the area.
Temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.
When available, the Community Music Center grants the privilege of practice room use to the public for:
- Occasional quiet practice
- On a non-reservable basis (first come/first served)
- During specified hours (see below)
- When space is not otherwise in use
- For up to 2 hours per day
- Fee of $2 per person per day
Rosewood Music Program
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is offering private music lessons at Rosewood Initiative (SE 162nd Avenue and Stark Street in Portland, Oregon). The program, funded by a grant from the City of Portland, currently provides full scholarship for instrumental instruction to school-age youth in East Portland, with preference to students in school programs in the districts of Centennial, David Douglas, Reynolds, and Parkrose. It is supported by the Community Music Center, Inc.
Individual Instrument Lessons (youth)
Instruction is currently online via Zoom for non-beginners only. In-person instruction will resume and new beginners will be accepted once the Rosewood Initiative re-opens after the pandemic.
New Group Classes for Winter 2022
PP&R's first music program began in 1955 at the Knott Street (now Matt Dishman) Community Center where guitar classes, as well as a string ensemble and a community orchestra, were offered. A major commitment to music education was made in the late 1950s when all existing music classes were moved to the Woodstock Community Center. Children's music classes were introduced, including music theory and ear-training, and a variety of stringed instruments were taught. As the children's abilities improved, a string ensemble was formed. It was evident that the music program would soon outgrow its new home.
Community Music Center, Inc. was founded as a non-profit association in February 1960 by a group of parents and interested citizens. It played a vital role in the remodeling a beautiful 1912 firehouse - designated a Portland Historic Landmark - which became the permanent home of CMC in 1969. That project was made possible by a generous gift from John D. and Elizabeth Gray and the donation of services by architect Robert Oringdulph. Substantial improvements were made to the facility in 1999, bringing the building up to the seismic requirements of the City of Portland, and making the building accessible in accordance with the American Disability Act.
- 1 designated parking space in parking lot
- Paved pathway to door
- 50 feet to door
- Ramp to door (East entrance)
- Elevator to 2nd floor
- Accessible restroom (inside) via elevator
- Accessible stage via mechanical lift
- Meeting room