UNCW Music Department Reaches Budding Musicians Through Community Music Academy

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dedicated to music education and outreach, the UNCW music department’s Community Music Academy recently won two grants to continue bringing quality music instruction to community members of all ages. With an ETEAL grant for marketing, development and outreach and a Landfall grant for scholarships and free classes, this funding will help shape CMA into what music professor and CMA artistic director Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi hopes it can one day become.

Žeželj-Gualdi co-founded the program in 2010 as an opportunity for the community outside of the university to study with accomplished faculty in high-quality facilities. CMA offers classes for all ages and income levels ranging from “Mommy and Me” classes for younger children to those teaching the Alexander technique. The academy also offers free “Pre-Twinkle Try It” classes for members who either cannot afford classes or who want to gauge their interest.

CMA also benefits UNCW music students by offering them applied learning opportunities. Žeželj-Gualdi started a student teaching program within CMA for students to become teachers. She hopes to develop this program into a larger enterprise, eventually offering assistantships for students to further develop their skills in music education and performance. She instituted an internship program for students to help her run the academy and learn the business and administrative side of music.

“I have two student interns,” said Žeželj-Gualdi. “For them it is an amazing opportunity to learn how a nonprofit music organization or small business works behind the stage. They learn marketing, grants research and application, recruitment and outreach tools, development and project management. They also help me with web design and social site management.”

As part of CMA, community members get the opportunity to work with internationally renowned musicians like pianist Paolo Andre Gualdi. The academy puts on two student recitals every semester along with a spring benefit recital. In the future, Žeželj-Gualdi wants to establish satellite programs in local schools, and her ideas do not stop there.

“It’s ambitious, I know, but I would like it to grow into an international conservatory type of school,” she said. “I would like to see it grow to have outreach to incredible places like Carnegie Hall.”

To learn more about UNCW’s Community Music Academy or sign up for private lessons, visit their website at

-- Caitlin Taylor ’18M