Our History


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Chapel Hill School of Musical Arts began in 2000 with one teacher, Sharon Szymanski, offering voice lessons in her home. Known originally as Szymanski Studios, the concept of these early lessons was based on the knowledge she had gained teaching at UNC-CH and Meredith College, but was also grounded in her strong belief that ANYONE could learn to master and enjoy music regardless of age, previous musical experience or inherent ability.

As the demand for quality vocal instruction increased, Szymanski Studios grew with it until it served many students and employed multiple teachers. In 2009, Sharon and her husband Rick, who had become involved in the financial end of the business, decided that they would expand their ideas of inclusive music instruction and added piano and guitar to their lessons offerings. New faculty and students joined the existing voice students and additional commercial space was renovated to accommodate them. In 2011 instruction on band and orchestral instruments was also added and Szymanski Studios continued to grow into a sizable music school.

In the Spring of 2012 the decision was made to change the school’s name to CHAPEL HILL SCHOOL OF MUSICAL ARTS (CHSMA) to more completely reflect the diversity of musical instruction it offered.  In 2015, CHSMA launched a new actor education program and moved to its current location at Franklin Square.  Today, CHSMA proudly serves over 400 students from Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle.

szymanskis200x300Sharon and Rick Szymanski at CHSMA’s new building in Franklin Square.  Chapel Hill, 2015