Thurnauer School of Music

Adult Music Classes


Thurnauer offers lifelong learning opportunities for adults of all ages. Start an instrument, dust off an old one, or join one of our ensembles. We offer private instruction, customized programs, and singing and instrumental groups. No previous background required.

Adults Shirah Concert

Music instruction is about the excitement and opportunity to experience and understand the range of responses one feels when listening to music and making music.

Contact us to explore your options. Call 201.408.1466 or email  

Shirah Concert Group Picture
Adults Choir Rehearsal
Shirah Concert Upclose


SHIRAH Community Chorus

One of the largest independent Jewish choruses in the United States performing Jewish repertoire in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino, in three and four parts.  New singers who are interested in joining are welcomed.  For more information, contact choral director Marsha Bryan Edelman at

Full year: $275/$315
One Semester: $150/$170
Starts 9/5/23

Private Lessons

Students may enroll for a package of 10, 20 or 30 lessons.  Instruction is available in all instruments and voice, as well as creative musicianship and composition.


10 Lessons
30 minutes – Members/$750, Public/$835
45 minutes – Members/$1,050, Public/$1,165
60 minutes – Members/$1,280, Public/$1,420

20 Lessons
30 minutes – Members/$1,475, Public/$1,640
45 minutes – Members/$2,060, Public/$2,290
60 minutes – Members/$2,540, Public/$2,820

30 Lessons
30 minutes – Members/$2,200, Public/$2,425
45 minutes – Members/$3,075, Public/$3,400
60 minutes – Members/$3,800, Public/$4,225

Beginning Piano for Adults

Ideal for adults who have always wanted to play the piano and are ready to begin or who want to hone the skills they have already learned.

15 weeks Starts 10/10/23
15 weeks Starts 1/23/24

30 weeks starts 10/10/23

Design Your Own Program!

Have an idea for a class?  We would be pleased to organize a program for you and your friends.  Past courses have included ukulele for beginning students and group voice for the study of vocal technique.  We have formed ensembles for jazz players and coaching sessions for chamber musicians.  Start your musical journey with us!  Contact Dorothy Roffman, Director of the Thurnauer School, at          

Music Appreciation

For information on music appreciation classes, please contact the JCC Adult Department at 201-408-1457.

Creative Musicianship for Guitarists


For intermediate and advanced guitarists (Suzuki Guitar Book 2+)

Prerequisite: Students must be able to identify notes on staff, clefs, time signatures and rhythms, and know how sharps and flats work. 

Bridge the gap between theory and how it relates to what you play on the guitar – for example, how to construct major, minor, augmented, diminished chords, and seventh chords and then how to use this information to find chord shapes in various positions on the fingerboard. Students will also focus on specific problems of harmonic analysis to prepare them for analyzing full classical guitar pieces. More advanced students will explore how to analyze the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic structure of classical guitar music and how it relates to building a musical interpretation.  This class is taught online only.

30 Sun Starts 10/2 7:30-8:30 pm

Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra


An excellent educational and nurturing environment where students gain a strong understanding of orchestral music and develop their ensemble skills.  Students perform standard symphonic repertoire, popular selections and contemporary works.  Sectional workshops focus on score studying, analysis and form, and interpretation skills.  Winners of an annual concerto competition perform in a special concert.

30 Wed Starts 10/12 5:15-7:00 pm


Why should my child study music?

  • In addition to the enormous personal enjoyment music brings, music study helps children learn how to learn.
  • Attending lessons and practicing an instrument each day teaches focus, concentration, patience, critical thinking and reflection – skills we use throughout our lives.
  • Studies have shown that “students engaged in music programs outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, ACT scores, attendance and discipline referrals.”
  • KU research establishes link between music education and academic achievement
    Why should my child study at the JCC

Thurnauer School of Music?

  • A school environment creates a community of musicians who inspire, motivate and befriend each other.
  • Students benefit musically and psychologically from the expertise of our excellent faculty, the School’s warm, nurturing atmosphere and the experience of hearing other students make music at different levels of musical development.
  • The Thurnauer School offers a stimulating variety of classes, performances, workshops, and recital opportunities.

Can my child just take private lessons at the Thurnauer School?

  • As an introduction to learning an instrument, students can take just a private lesson, but only during their first year at the school. Thereafter, all students must take one or more components as part of their music program.
  • Making music with others quickens the pace of learning and accomplishment. We also find that students have fun in these classes and that this is not only enriching but also highly motivational to them.
  • Children in a full program of music study are “stretched”, musically and intellectually, as they learn new things and exchange musical and verbal ideas with their peers.
  • A program that is limited to private lessons lacks the richness of learning about music. The more we understand, the more joy there is in playing and listening.

When should my child begin the study of music?

  • Learning about music can begin at birth. However, the best age to start an instrument varies with the instrument and the child’s physical development. For example, violinists and flutists can begin as young as 3, whereas trumpet players should be at least 8.
  • For children who are not yet ready to begin private lessons, we recommend our early childhood classes: Musical Explorers, Instrument Exploration, Piano Partners, and Young Drummers.
  • Our classes for young children stand on their own, but they are also developmental, and will introduce skills to help your child with further musical study if it’s desired. “Developmental” also means dynamic; each week builds on the previous lesson.

How should we help our child select an instrument?

  • The choice of instrument depends on the child’s interests, temperament and size. Most children have a natural affinity for a particular instrument or sound and, if given the chance to choose, will know what they like.
  • We encourage sitting in on lessons and classes at our School. Please contact our scheduling director to arrange for a visit or a trial lesson: 201-567-7900 Ext. 375 or
  • Attending professional concerts and student recitals with your child can also spark interest in a particular instrument. Children are welcome to attend any of our student recitals.

How do we select an instrumental teacher for your child?

At the Thurnauer School, a great deal of care is given to finding the best “match” from among our fine faculty. Music School Director Dorothy Roffman meets individually with each new student and parent(s) prior to enrollment, observing the child and learning about the family before assigning a teacher.

What is the registration process for new students?

The process is all handled online. It includes completing the registration form, enrolling in your choice of lessons and class, completing the scheduling forms, submitting a tuition deposit and, if you are enrolling ina private lesson program, scheduling a meeting with the Music School Director.

Do I need to register for the entire year?

With the exception of some early childhood classes, our curriculum is designed as a full, 30 week program. That said, you can withdraw within the first five weeks of classes for a prorated tuition and a $75 processing charge. Thereafter, partial refunds are available as stipulated in our Terms and Conditions.

Does the Music School offer a payment plan?

Yes. You can set up an eight month payment plan that withdraws funds from your bank account or charges your credit card automatically each month.

Does the Music School offer Financial Aid?

Yes. The Music School has a number of endowed funds earmarked for this purpose, and over 15%of our students receive some form of tuition scholarship. Scholarship forms are available online, or you may request one from the Financial Manager, Dan Jatovsky at

Are discounts available?

Yes. The following discounts are available for you and your family to enjoy the gift of music.

Sibling Discount
Save $25 off total tuition for a class or performance ensemble (if not part of a Private Lesson Program) SAVE $90 off total tuition for a Private Lesson Program

Refer a Friend Discount
Refer a new family who registers for private music lessons and you both get $100 off tuition

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A pair of adult hands and child hands holding a red heart.