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Community programs at ASU pass on the joy of music to all ages

Photo by Hannah Creviston

August 31, 2015

What makes perfect? Practice, practice, practice. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the Music Prep Program in the School of Music at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, which has been sharing music with the community for the past 28 years by providing musical instruction to both children and adults.

This unique program gives students access to high-quality training in piano, guitar, saxophone, voice, flute, music theory, music history or early childhood music. The curriculum emphasizes developing musicianship skills through private study, performances and music theory. By combining individual and group lessons, the program caters to different learning styles and makes learning productive and fun.

“The ASU Music Prep Program fosters learning on several levels,” says Hannah Creviston, director of the program. “The students learn from their teachers, who are graduate performance or performance pedagogy students here at ASU. The teachers are observed throughout the year, and they, in turn, learn how to be more effective teachers. We also provide options for the students: They can choose to perform regularly and participate in competitions/festivals, or they can take a more relaxed approach and learn music for a hobby.”

Being able to go at your own pace is one of the benefits of the Music Prep Program, making it perfect both for those who are ahead of the curve and those who need a little extra help. “At school, and in ensembles, sometimes I have to go at a slower pace than I'm used to so other kids can grasp the concept and I’m not rushing ahead,” says Alicia Werner, a 13-year-old who takes trumpet and piano lessons through the program. “Other times, it’s the other way around. With the Music Prep Program, I can go as fast or slow as I need to.”

Another unique facet of the Music Prep Program is the monthly group lessons in music theory or music history. These group lessons give students a cultural and historical understanding of the pieces they are learning to play, as well as creating an ideal environment for music students to interact with and learn from each other. “I do enjoy the group lessons that are a part of the program,” says Werner. “They allow me to meet other people, and work on my people skills.”

Students sign up for weekly lessons, which are available seven days per week during daytime, after school or early evening hours. Tuition packages are available for 45-, 60- or 75-minute lessons, and they are offered in a 30-week calendar (Sept.–May), with summer lessons available from many outstanding teachers.

“When I arrived at ASU in 2012, we only offered piano lessons,” says Creviston. “We are constantly growing and try to have new offerings each year. Students who are interested in learning an instrument that we don’t currently have listed should contact me and I will do my best to find a teacher.”

New to the program this year is Music Play, an exclusive offering for children ages 0–3. With chanting, singing and movement activities, each class provides a nurturing environment to help develop music and rhythm skills. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate as well, helping them bond with their children in a fun new way.

“Edwin Gordon, noted music educator, researcher and author, found that children learn music in the same way that they learn language,”says Creviston. “First, they need to hear it and absorb it. Then, they begin to experiment or babble. During these early stages of music (and language) development, children benefit from unstructured informal guidance. In our Music Play classes, rather than having a set lesson plan or specific goals, we play through music (and scarves, bean bags, drums, etc.). As children respond, I base my activities off of their responses.”

For more information on any of the Music Prep offerings, please visit the website at or email

Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison