Community music offers discount for music lessons

If you have been waiting to learn to play an instrument, now is the time to do it.

Oakland University Community Music is offering a special discount on virtual music lessons through the month of January. The offer is for five 30-minute lessons for $125, allowing students a chance to try out music lessons without having to pay the regular price, which can be upward of $400.

“Usually we run 13-week semesters … but we are trying to help people out a bit since we know the finances are difficult for a lot of people and a long-term schedule commitment is hard,” OU Community Music Director Elizabeth Medvinsky said. 

Like the program’s regular classes, the discounted classes are open to anyone. OU Community Music is willing to accommodate students’ financial needs, if they want to take lessons, but might not be able to pay.

“We offer payment plans — especially to undergrads— if needed,” Medvinsky said. “We are always willing to talk to people about financial assistance if they need it.”

The online classes are a consequence of having to adapt to the COVID-19 world, which the program has been doing since March of last year. Lessons now take place over Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or whichever platform students find the most comfortable to work with.

“We did have a very small sprinkling of students who tried to come back for lessons in the fall,” Medvinsky said. “We decided it was better online.”

Now in its 18th year, OU Community Music is OU’s way to offer music lessons without the need to pay for course credit. Courses are offered to whoever wishes to take them and students range from elementary school-aged beginners to adults and senior citizens looking to pick up an instrument. Before COVID-19 about 200 students per week came to Varner Hall to take lessons, classes and camps put on by OU Community Music.

Current OU students who are not in a School of Music, Theatre and Dance major or do not qualify for any SMTD courses are welcome to take OU Community Music classes.  

Most classes took place on the second or third floor of Varner Hall, the latter previously serving as the location for Stephanie Thompson’s piano classes. But aside from the change of venues, not much about teaching has changed for Thompson.

“It is actually more similar than different,” Thompson said. “We still have the back and forth banter and we still have our goal planning and assessment. The big difference is not being able to play live music together, so not being able to play duets. If I want them to play along with something it has to be a pre-recorded backing track . . . that I could listen to them playing along to.” 

Children’s music education has always been a part of OU Community Music’s curriculum, and the realities of life under COVID-19 have led them to expand their youth offerings.

“We have started adding some group online classes for youths,” Medvinsky said. “There are varying levels of music education kids are getting right now depending on their district and depending on if they were in person or virtual learning, so we wanted to offer some more options.”

For further information about OU Community Music, visit To schedule classes, email [email protected] for details.