About

Ellsworth Community Music Institute (ECMI), incorporated in January 2013, is an inclusive 501(c)(3) community music organization that aims to enrich the quality of life in Ellsworth and its surrounding region (including Mount Desert Island, the Blue Hill peninsula, Bucksport, Bangor, and Downeast Maine). We strive to foster a love of live music in all ages, and provide musical friendships within a supportive community. ECMI has drawn people of all ages and abilities, participating in an array of individual music lessons, course offerings, ensembles, and performance workshops.

The founder of ECMI, Nancy Colter, herself a pianist and teacher, observed that like so many other disciplines that foster individual growth and development, music takes a village.

Nancy has been the Artistic Director of Arthur Russell Strings for more than a decade.  She came to the piano out of sheer love and determination, having no instrument in her home.  As a young child she was dropped off by her father at a school early each morning just to touch a piano, even before she had any formal lessons.  Coming from rural Northern California, then later living in rural Maine, she encountered young musicians year after year — especially those studying classical music — who waited all year to make music with peers.

The conclusion was clear:  students need a music community while they learn.  Thus Nancy pursued her vision of establishing a community music program in Ellsworth, much like the program she had been part of at Concord Community Music School in New Hampshire.  It’s not just students who benefit from camaraderie and a common place to study: faculty at ECMI will have the benefit of a stimulating group of colleagues, which is absent when they are privately teaching in their individual studios.  The continual exchange among teachers benefits everyone.

The ECMI Board of Directors are enthusiastically committed to this effort in part because the study of music forges values.   Playing with other people, experiencing the deepest kind of communication, achieving artistic triumph, all build emotional empathy.  The energy and vitality of music elevate the spirit, thereby nurturing humanity.  Self-esteem flourishes when people accomplish musical skills and performance skills that they didn’t think they could achieve.  The teachings are universal and infinite – from responsibility for one’s own part in the process to the profound appreciation of beauty.

Welcome to Ellsworth Community Music Institute.