Ruby Reflects on her Mentoring Experience

Every day of the week the Daily Orchestra Program is given invaluable support by regular mentors, including local musicians, CMW alumni, and current CMW students.  Logistically speaking we would not be able to have the DOP without this essential support!  Even more importantly, our mentors deepen our students’ overall experience.  They serve as role models and friends to our students, learning and playing music alongside them in orchestra and in individual practice throughout the week.  Recently I asked Ruby (a current CMW cello student and Phase II member) about her experience mentoring with the DOP.   Here is what she had to say:

Lisa: How long have you been mentoring with the DOP?

Ruby: I’ve been mentoring at the Daily Orchestra Program for 2 years now, starting in my sophomore year of high school and continuing through my junior year of high school.

L: What does your mentoring work involve?

R: Mentoring involves working with individual students in practice sessions and working with the orchestra as a whole. It involves setting up and taking down the orchestra room,  helping with tuning instruments, and supporting the overall flow of orchestra time. Individualized practice is a bit different in the sense that it is a more intimate learning setting. Students are with us either one-on-one or two-on-one at times. We help them practice not only their orchestra music but also scales and a solo piece if they are working on one.


L: What’s your favorite memory from your mentoring experience?

R: My favorite memory from my mentoring experience would have to be when one of my mentees, Steven, earned his way to getting to take his instrument home over the weekend. I had been there almost the whole week, helping him stay on task so that he could remain on his best behavior throughout the week. I was very proud to hear that he did in fact get to take his instrument home and wanted me to know that he had done it. I knew that he could all along, but getting to witness it was very uplifting and was a very proud moment.

L: How has mentoring helped you to grow as a musician?

R: Through mentoring I was able to combine my passions of working with children and playing music. It has helped me grow greatly not only as a person but also as a musician. Through the program I am better able to read other clefs and tune instruments by ear – all skills that before the Daily Orchestra Program I could only ever imagine being able to do. I have also been able to enhance my sight reading, since I was not as familiar with all of the music that the students got to read and play everyday.

L: Has it changed your idea of what makes a musician?

R: I feel like I have always had my own idea of what makes a musician but going through this mentoring experience has helped me add to that idea. Specifically, I now feel that a musician is someone who gives back and helps others with not only music but with anything.  A musician is also someone that can learn from those on other levels, not just those above them.

L: How has this experience changed or contributed to your overall experience at

R: Mentoring at the daily Orchestra Program has enhanced my overall CMW experience to the fullest. I have gained new skills and many lasting memories to add to my collection. Mentoring at the Daily Orchestra program has made my musical experience all the better.

The Daily Orchestra Program is so grateful to Ruby and to all of our mentors for their dedication and thoughtful time spent with our students this year!  Our mentors make our DOP community very special.  Thank you, mentors!! 

–Lisa Barksdale, Resident Musician


Farewell, Fine Fellows!

13442682_10154316506852094_796010390972859291_oCommunity MusicWorks congratulates Fellows Hannah Ross and Clara Yang, who sent us a note upon graduating this past week:

As we reach the end of our two years of the Fellowship Program at CMW, we are feeling very grateful yet bittersweet about leaving. It’s been a rewarding and valuable experience working for CMW, and we feel like we gained a lot from being immersed in the many different aspects of the organization. Happily, we are both remaining in the area pursuing personal and musical endeavors, and we look forward to continue being part of the CMW family!! 

-Hannah Ross and Clara Yang, CMW Fellows ’14-’16
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Best of luck, Hannah and Clara!

Let’s Finish the Year on a High Note!



The violinist  takes the stage, filled with nervous excitement. She has prepared for this concert for countless hours. She smiles at the crowd before her, and the audience leans forward in anticipation. She puts her bow to the instrument, takes a deep breath, and nods to the pianist. 

This image could describe a performance by any one of Community MusicWorks’ eight outstanding Resident Musicians, or four accomplished Fellows, or one of our 155 committed students. While these musicians all have a different connection to CMW, they share a common bond of musical curiosity, hard mental and physical work, and encouragement from their colleagues and teachers.


And they have YOU, supporting them through your applause at our concerts and your thoughtful donations to CMW.

Make your online gift to CMW today.

As we look toward the end of our 19th season and our final lessons, coachings, conversations, and concerts, I hope you will reflect on what you love about our musicians and consider making a gift to CMW this spring. Your donation plays a central part in every performance – from the practice room to the performance stage, from the first rehearsal to the resounding applause.













We cannot make our music without you.
hank you for supporting our work, for being part of our audience, and for listening.

With gratitude,
Katie Sklar
Individual Support Manager

P.S. The school year, CMW’s season and our fiscal year end on June 30. Your gift this spring will support our final lessons, coaching, and performances and will help us prepare for our next season – our 20th!

Photos by Stephanie Alvarez Ewens

See more photos of our Year-End Student Gala here.