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  • $2,000 RAISED OF $5,000 GOAL


  • Linda McPherson $50.00
  • Parker Finn $50.00
  • Anonymous $100.00
  • James Billman $250.00
  • Marc Wander $250.00
  • Daniel Passman $1,000.00
  • Carol Baker $150.00
  • Brian Escamilla $50.00
  • Aaron Salsitz $100.00

Early Childhood Music in the City of Detroit

Here at the MSU Community Music School in Detroit (CMS-D), we believe in the power that music has to transform lives, provide edification and recreation, and deepen the bonds within our society. CMS-D is dedicated to shaping the future of Detroit youth through our robust Early Childhood Music program. Serving students ages 0-5, our program ​engages babies, toddlers, ​and preschoolers in ​creating music and movement while also enhanc​ing school-readiness skills. Through musical play ​and interaction, ​we encourage children's musical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

CMS-D Early Childhood Music instruction utilizes a curriculum called Music Play developed by Edwin E. Gordon and his students: Wendy H. Valerio, Alison M. Reynolds, Beth M. Bolton, and Cynthia C. Taggart. This approach is informed by extensive research and current scholarship in the field of Music Learning Theory. Children grow musically through vocalizing (including vocal play, chanting, and singing), movement (including creative movement and rhythmic movement) and listening (particularly to live music making).

Project Budget

Funds raised will be used to provide tuition-free classes for students and families in need of financial aid, as well as assisting with programmatic costs.

Who We Are

Since we opened our doors in 2009, Michigan State University’s Community Music School Detroit has become the home for music enrichment in the city of Detroit. Providing lifelong education to students ranging from ages 0 - 100, CMS-D is a flagship program in our community known for its dynamic faculty and strong partnerships throughout the city. As a satellite program of the MSU College of Music, we are determined to shorten the accessibility gap for high quality instruction for multiple generations seeking to express themselves through the medium of music.

Located in the heart of Midtown Detroit, CMS-D provides a wide range of offerings for our students including early childhood music, music therapy, group and private lessons for all ages, youth ensembles, adult ensembles, and music production. Our faculty comprises leading professionals in their fields with a passion for arts and education.

Christie Lower
Early Childhood Music Program Manager
Christie Lower is the Early Childhood Music Program Coordinator at the MSU Community Music School-Detroit. Since 2013, Christie has been actively working on site in our classrooms, and off site in various child care centers with young children in the metro Detroit area. Prior to this, Christie taught elementary music in the Dearborn and Ann Arbor Public School Districts.  Christie graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Michigan State University in 2014. She has also completed level one certifications in early childhood music and elementary music from the Gordon Institute for Music Learning.
Dr. Karen Salvador
CMSD Early Childhood Music Faculty Advisor
Dr. Karen Salvador, a nationally recognized early childhood expert on the faculty of Michigan State University’s College of Music, is the faculty advisor for the MSU Community Music program. Rooted in extensive research findings of music learning for the very young, Dr. Salvador uses Music Play to teach MSU undergraduate students, graduate students, and practicing teachers about Music Learning Theory and its applications. In addition, with faculty supervision, MSU students engage in experiential learning by interning and teaching in the Community Music School’s Early Childhood Music programs in Detroit and Lansing.  
Stephanie Erspamer
CMSD Early Childhood Music Teacher
Stephanie Erspamer teaches ukulele and early childhood music classes, including Musical Foundations and Vocal Village at Michigan State University’s Community Music School-Detroit. She also teaches off site early childhood music classes around the metro Detroit area. Before expanding her work at CMS-D, Stephanie was the elementary music teacher at Auburn Elementary School in the Avondale School District. She attended Michigan State University where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and studied the trumpet as her primary instrument. For five summers Stephanie taught trumpet lessons, music theory classes, and ensembles at various music camps in Haiti, in partnership with BLUME Haiti. She continues to pursue a love of brass music by playing the tenor horn in the award-winning Five Lakes Silver Band.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 23GGDCF1CMSD” in the note section.

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