Crowden School Music Classes & Camps

Berkeley, CA
Operated By: 
Crowden School
Ages: 
School-Aged
Email: 
info [at] crowden.org
Phone: 
510-559-6910
Editors' Notes: 

Crowden welcomes music students of all ages and levels of ability to participate in our after-school, weekend, and summer music lessons and classes. 

From group classes in music fundamentals, to private lessons, to advanced ensembles and composition workshops, Crowden teachers help their students to become the best musicians they can be.

Because chamber music is at the heart of a Crowden education, we believe in giving students the tools to develop and express their musical independence, along with the sensitivity to play as part of a team. Through chamber music, students become part of a musical tradition and experience that is larger than any individual. Come be a part of it!

Parent Q&A

  • Looking for viola teacher who can teach Suzuki and fiddle

    (1 reply)

    Hi my son is 11 and has been taking viola in Los Angeles where he's learned both Suzuki and fiddle tunes. I'd like to continue this now that we live in Berkeley. Does anyone have a recommendation for a teacher who can do both styles?

    My son has been in the Crowden School's Suzuki program for more than four years, and they incorporate a lot of fiddle tunes into their lessons and recitals.  I highly recommend the program, but you might be too late to register for this fall session.  You can contact the teachers directly about the possibility of private lessons, though. The two teachers my son has studied with at Crowden teach both violin and viola.  They are excellent musicians, fantastic teachers, and nice people -- KC Still and Rebecca Reed-Lunn.  You can reach them through these sites: http://kcstill.com/

    https://www.sfcv.org/music-teachers/rebecca-reed-lunn

  • Beginning Group Piano Class at Crowden

    (1 reply)

    I am looking for reviews of the Beginning Piano and Music Fundamentals course at Crowden.  We are considering this for our entering 1st grader in the fall.  She is interested in starting an instrument, possibly piano, and we thought it might be a good introduction to instrumental music and perhaps give us a sense of whether private lessons are a good fit going forward (i.e., will she enjoy it enough to be motivated to practice, etc.).  If your child took this course, what did he or she get out of it, and was it a good use of time and money?  Or, is it better to just jump into private lessons?  Any feedback would be appreciated!

    My daughter took this class starting at the age of 6. It was a great introduction for her (the group dynamic is a lot less stressful then private lessons) and a good way for us to gauge her interest before paying significantly more for private lessons. She stuck with the group class for a couple years and then progressed to individual private lessons. She is still taking private lessons at Crowden with the same teacher. The piano lessons have also helped her to more easily learn other instruments since the fundamentals are there.  

  • Private piano lessons at Crowden

    (3 replies)

    I'd be interested to hear about parents' experience with private piano lessons at Crowden School. Any particular teacher you'd recommend for a 11 y.o. who's been taking lessons for several years already. They mention on their website that private students get to participate in their recitals. How often does that happen, in your experience? 

    My 6 year old started piano lessons at Crowden in September. So far we are very happy with the instruction. I would definitely recommend my daughter's teacher, Muza Mdzinarishvili. However, I don't think you get to choose a teacher at Crowden. The way their process works is you have to go through a placement interview with the program directors where they ask you questions. Based on that, they match you with a teacher they feel would be the best fit. 

    My daughter has been taking lessons with Robert Yamasato for several years. He's a wonderful teacher - - highly recommend. They typically have 2 recitals per year.

    My partner and daughter, now 16, have been taking private piano lessons through Crowden, with Betsy Marvit, for a number of years now.  They've certainly played in many recitals, probably two a year -- I think it's a Crowden requirement for taking lessons there -- though I think they're separate from the Crowden school recitals.

  • Private piano lessons at Crowden

    (2 replies)

    My daughter is almost 6 and eager to start piano lessons. We live right next to the Crowden School and taking lessons there would be very convenient. There are, however, some wonderful independent private teachers in our area, so I am not sure which way to go. I was wondering if anyone has experience with private instrument lessons at Crowden. Any feedback is appreciated! 

    Whatever you do, for piano or any other lessons, just be sure to try more than one teacher! Ask for a trial lesson (not necessarily free) and don't sign a contract until you decide. Recommendations are sometimes useful, but a teacher that's perfect for one child might not be for another. And it's fine for a child to get a taste of different styles of teaching and know there are different ways to do it. Just don't tell her that she gets to pick the teacher because even if you concur with her choice it might not work out - there may be time constraints, and some teachers are choosy about students, too. Because of a move and multiple instruments, my music-loving kid got lessons from 7 different teachers between 1st and 12th grades, and we learned that the highly-recommended and the most friendly ones were not always the best at encouraging persistence, excellence, and even enjoyment. We lucked out early on, but I wish I'd known in the middle of the process that serious musical parents do shop around more. (By the same token, if your kid gets "stuck" after a while, consider trying a new teacher before giving up - too many parents don't bother.) 

    As for Crowden (which is part of what we did), if the teachers seem like a good fit, it's a great place for connecting with other kids and families that value music, and a lovely venue for recitals, which adds a lot of excitement and pleasure. 

    Happy music-making,

    A former Crowden parent

     

    I don't have experience with independent private lessons but we love Crowden. My 4 yr old son has been taking Cello lessons since Jan. The teachers arrange recitals and the school itself hosts quarterly concerts. I am sure other teachers might do the same but I am amazed how well equipped the teachers are to deal with young children. They make up these games , challenges, jokes that keeps the kids engaged. Its also nice to meet with other families and getting to know them. Its a great community. We are part of the Suzuki Strings program so we have lessons twice a week. Once its private and the other day its a group lesson. Its designed as such to motivate kids. We attended a info session at Crowden before signing up. Maybe they have similar info session for the piano program. You should ask and def attend. 

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


March 2010

Our son takes a music class at Crowden School and I'm wondering whether to enroll him in the one-week music camp Scrape, Squawk and Bang. He loves the music class (it's general music not instrumental) but I'm worried he won't be ready for a week of instruments or that the other kids will be way more experienced with instruments. Would love to hear from anyone whose kid has taken this camp. The school is very friendly but I couldn't wrangle a very assertive or detailed explanation about the summer camp and the activities in it from the woman in charge at the school's office. It's a lot of money for a maybe good program. Thanks! anon


Go for it -- the camp is definitely appropriate for entering 1st graders and tends to draw plenty of kids with little or no experience playing an instrument. My son has gone twice, choosing a different instrument each time, and enjoyed it very much. The kids spend part of the day on choral singing and part on outdoor play and other activities, so it's not overly intense, and for the instrument lessons they are divided into small groups with other kids at a similar experience level. (My son was intrigued by the fact that his group included kids older than he with less experience and kids younger than he with more experience -- a valuable thing to know, that age does not necessarily equal expertise!) We found that the musical expectations were right on target for what beginners could learn in a week. Musical Mom


My daughter (now in 4th grade), did the ''Squawk'' camp with piano emphasis for a week when she was your child's age. She had a great time and was ready to begin regular piano lessons at Crowden that fall. During camp she was in a small group of 6 kids, and she joined up with larger groups of kids during the day for dance, drumming, and singing. There was even a little recital on the last day. We also signed up for the extended aftercare, which she remembers with much joy, especially the part where she ran through the sprinklers. I think it's a great way for kids to get introduced to music; there were also many kids who already played one instrument and were there to try something else. Jenne


Jan 2009

Re: Music camp for 7-year-old
My son has attended Crowden's Scrape, Bang, Squawk camp twice now and enjoyed it immensely. The camp is well-organized and we were impressed by how much the kids learn in a short time, as evidenced by the recital on the last day. Holly


Re: Crowden Scrape, Squawk summer camp
Our daughter attended this camp for a week when she was 5 or 6, and she had a great time trying out different instruments. Since she could speak, she had told us that she wanted to play the violin, so this was a good opportunity for her to try it out -- and she now takes violin lessons. We thought it was great, and would definitely recommend the camp. lori