About the Community Music School | Webster University

About the Community Music School

Since 1925, the Community Music School of Webster University has offered outstanding music education and performance opportunities to students of all ages and abilities in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Our programs are designed to take a student from pre-school through adulthood. Our faculty includes world-class performers who are also master teachers.

The Community Music School provides four convenient locations in the St. Louis region including Webster Groves on the campus of Webster University, Chesterfield in Faust Park, University City, and a partnership with St. Louis Public Schools.

Contact the Community Music School for more information or how to register.

Mission Statement

To provide students in our region with music education and performance opportunities of the highest quality, and to contribute to the artistic vibrancy of the St. Louis community.


The Community Music School of Webster University (CMS) will be known nationally as an exceptional music education institution with a reputation based on the talents and accomplishments of its students and outstanding faculty.  A culturally diverse CMS student population will represent all ages, abilities, and economic backgrounds drawn by a common love of music, a wide ranges of high quality programs, and outstanding performance opportunities.  The CMS will be a truly musical community where relationships are developed within a supportive environment of rich musical experiences.  Integral to a thriving and accomplished arts program nurtured by Webster University, the CMS will benefit from strong relationships with both academic and professional faculty, insightful community  stewardship, growing annual and endowed funding, and access to quality education and performance facilities.


CMS photo from 1969In 1925, Edna Lieber, a St. Louis piano teacher, founded the Community Music School, with a faculty consisting of members from the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. With the guidance of Mrs. Alice Gerdine, the school's Board President in the 1930s, the Community Music School began to grow.

In 1974, the Community Music School merged with the St. Louis Institute of Music to form the Saint Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts (CASA). At the same time, the headquarters in University City opened. Originally a temple for over 40 years, the building became the Music School's spacious new home for more than 30 years.  

The conservatory arm of the institution closed in 1989, but the non-degree programs continued to thrive. The school turned its focus to providing the finest music education for students of all ages and abilities. The Suzuki Strings program, and Young Years and Kindermusik classes were established. The Young People's Orchestra and String Training Orchestra expanded to a sequential orchestra and ensemble system.

Serving the St. Louis Region

Strauss Center in Faust Park
In 1994, CASA merged with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and became the Saint Louis Symphony Community Music School. At this time, the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club branch and the Leon R. Strauss Center – West County branch in Faust Park were opened. In 1996, the Music School opened another branch on the Webster University campus.

In September 2001, the Community Music School joined with Webster University. Webster has a world-class reputation for leadership in the arts, and it provides the in-depth music educational experience and resources needed by the Community Music School. With this alliance, the Community Music School continues to offer outstanding music education to students of all ages and abilities.

New Beginnings

535 Garden Ave.
In Fall 2006, the Community Music School moved to its new headquarters on the Webster University campus with facilities that include a concert hall, teaching studios, rehearsal halls, classrooms, and administrative offices.

In Spring 2010, a partnership was formed with the St. Louis Public School District to provide an on-site After School Music Program. McKinley Classical Leadership Academy was the initial site for this program providing affordable, on-site individual lessons to support existing school music programs.

Over the years, the Community Music School has been honored to count such musicians among its faculty as members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Webster University, and many other colleges and universities as well as some of the most respected performing artists in the region.

Students and alumni have successfully placed in such competitions as the American National Chopin Competition, Artist Presentation Society Competition, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Fite Family Young Artists National Competition, Saint Louis Area Music Teachers Association Young Artist Competition, and the Sphinx Competition, and have gone on to perform and teach around the nation.


The Community Music School is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, which includes over 450 schools across the country. To be a member of the Guild, we must meet stringent criteria such as offering financial assistance and talent-based merit scholarships, and setting high standards for our faculty. In addition, the Community Music School is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

The Community Music School of Webster University is funded in part by the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. The Preparatory Program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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