Believing that “all it takes is a spark to ignite a passion for music,” Amy Cele, owner of The Music School at Sound Crossing (MSSC) in Windsor, has created a unique place where children and adults can find that spark.
Housed in a historical home at 101 Palisado Avenue, the building’s antique fireplace and beautiful wooden walls adorned with instruments give this Suzuki-based school of music a unique home-like appeal. In fact, on prominent display over the fireplace is Amy’s grandfather’s violin. Although it’s no longer in playing condition, Amy has taken this instrument with her throughout her musical journey.
The non-profit MSSC offers lessons to all ages in viola, violin, cello, guitar, ukulele, percussion, piano and voice. As a Suzuki-based school, MSSC follows a philosophy of, as Amy describes it, “developing students not just to be good musicians but to be good people.” The school’s seven teachers offer group Suzuki and private lessons, with a goal of making the learning process fun for all ages. While the majority of students are youths, adults are always welcome.
Amy grew up immersed in music as a Suzuki student. She went on to study music therapy and later spent a year working with community arts organizations in South Africa, where she was inspired by the way music was a part of everyday life: “You couldn’t be in a business meeting without people breaking out into song.”
Amy founded MSSC’s precursor, Sound Crossing Studio, in 2008 in East Windsor, when she began teaching violin to young children out of her home. MSSC relocated to Windsor’s Poquonock Community Church before moving to its current home at First Church’s Pierson House in January 2019.
“I love Windsor,” says Amy. “There’s a great sense of community and it’s really diverse here. There’s a historic sense in Windsor but there’s also a vibrant new vibe. I’m really glad we’re close to the downtown.”
Amy wears many hats at MSSC, including management, marketing, fundraising and website maintenance. She still loves to teach and especially enjoys working one-on-one with students and seeing those moments of success. Her biggest challenge is securing funding to make music lessons affordable to all students—last year more than 40% of MSSC’s students received tuition support.
MSSC students have performed at many Windsor community events, such as the Farmers Market and Chili Challenge. In January, Amy celebrated her grand opening with the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, and she participates in Chamber networking events to increase awareness of her school.
Amy’s purpose at MSSC is “to bring students to the level where if they want to become professional musicians, they could do it. We want to give them those tools, but we also want to make sure that’s not our main goal. It’s a core Suzuki philosophy: I like to think we are doing important work, just helping people one at a time.”