Whether your child has dreams of being the next rock superstar or is content just humming along to his favorite tunes in the back seat of the car, chances are music is at least a small part of his or her day. For parents looking for ways to help their kids make more music, the choices for classes and instruction appear endless. While we could never cover every one of these programs in one post, we have rounded up some of our favorites in and around Boston.
We’d love your help in growing this list, so if you and your little maestros have a favorite place for music instruction, please add your good experiences in the comments field below, or email us your suggestions. And if you're looking for other types of classes and lessons (sports, art, preschool, after school), please check out our Classes Guide.
Boston, Cambridge, Somerville
Boston Children’s Chorus
112 Shawmut Avenue, Suite 5B, Boston, MA 02118
Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) is an organization that is well over 500 hundred singers strong; kids range in age from 7 to 18, from all around the Boston area, and from all walks of life. BCC is a professional level performing chorus that tours nationally and internationally, and encourages students to excel musically, develop self-confidence, and build their community throughout greater Boston. Admission is by audition - an informal, 10-minute process that takes place in May for the following season (September-June). Read about Tara’s first-hand experience here.
Brookline Music School
25 Kennard Road, Brookline, MA 02445
Brookline Music School offers a full range of group classes and private instruction for everyone from infants to adults. Highlights of the children’s program include:
- First Steps: (birth - 3): Mommy and me music and movement classes
- Early Childhood Classes (ages 4-6): Piano, Dalcroze Movement through Music, Dance, Suzuki programs
- Ages 7 and up: Private lessons and group classes: Choosing an Instrument; Dalcroze Music through Movement; Dance Classes
Children’s Music Center
Children's Music Center of J.P.
The Brewery Complex
284 Amory Street, 1st floor, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
874 South Street, Roslindale, MA 02131
Programs at the Children's Music Center of Jamaica Plain are designed to guide children from their first musical discoveries to learning an instrument should they decide to do so. The center offers parent/child and drop-off classes, private and group piano, in-home instrumental lessons, a musical theater program, drop-in class options, and birthday parties.
Community Music Center of Boston
34 Warren Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
CMCB is an accredited non-profit music school providing music education to individuals and groups of diverse backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Programs for kids begin with early childhood programs for ages 5 months to 7 years, and continue with ensembles, private and group instrumental lessons, and vocal lessons and groups, as well as an array of summer programs.
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Music classes and private lessons for children ages 1 to 8 include:
- Music & Movement (ages 1-8): Drumming/Dalcroze Eurythmics programs, designed to tap into children’s natural curiosity and connection to music, to help develop their ear, and lay the foundation for future musical studies.
- Suzuki String Training (ages 4+): Violin, viola, or cello. The Suzuki Method brings children and their parents together for a complete immersion in music through a combination of weekly private lessons and group classes. Private lessons are scheduled by arrangement with the instructor. First-year Suzuki students are required to enroll in the following combination: 30-minute private lesson, 45-minute ensemble class and a Music & Movement class.
- Longy After-School (Grades 1-3): Students learn the basics of reading rhythms, working up to composing and performing their own songs.
New School of Music
25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
The New School of Music (NSM) offers programs in a non-competitive, student centered learning environment for children of all ages. NSM offers private and group lessons, master classes and vacation programs, including:
- Early Childhood Music and Movement Programs, newborn (mommy and me) and up
- Group Instrument Classes (including violin, recorder, piano), ages 4 and up
- Group Voice Lessons, ages 9 and up
- Vacation programs, ages 5 and up
MetroWest, North Shore, South Shore
Yamaha Music School of Boston
57 Bedford Street, Lexington, MA 02420
Yamaha Music School offers year-round group lessons to children starting at age 3, with advanced classes for older and more experienced musicians. The Yamaha method takes a comprehensive music training approach, with a focus on creativity and self-expression. Your child can take a free trail lesson before you commit to a class.
Concord Conservatory of Music
Classes located at the West Concord Union Church
1317 Main Street Concord, MA 01742
For the youngest musicians (ages 5 months and up), early childhood classes allow parent and child to explore their musical world in a supportive and fun environment. Suzuki instruction begins at age 4. School-aged children can take part in private lessons, group classes, ensemble and jazz combos, and composition. Teens and adults will find plenty to choose from, too.
Powers Music School
396 Concord Ave Belmont, MA 02478
Powers Music School offers diverse music programs for all ages, ability and music interests. Program options include:
- Early Childhood Music
- Private Lessons
- Suzuki Lessons
- Music Therapy Lessons
- Composition & Theory
- Group Programs for Kids
- Orchestra & Ensembles
The music doesn’t stop during the summer, as Powers Music School offers private lessons, early childhood lessons, Music on the Hill, and even a counselor in training program.
Rivers School Conservatory
333 Winter Street, Weston, MA 02493
The Rivers School Conservatory offers private lessons in all classical and jazz instruments, as well as chamber music and jazz ensembles, a dynamic youth orchestra program, youth chorus, adult community orchestra. Younger children can enjoy Music Box (ages 4-7), part-private, part-group lessons; Suzuki violin (ages 4+); Suzuki guitar (ages 5-10); and Mariamba Magic (ages 5-8). Classes for older children include musical theory, composition and guitar, plus a youth orchestra program.
South Shore Conservatory
One Conservatory Drive, Hingham, MA 02043
Ellison Center for the Arts
64 St. George Street, Duxbury, MA 02331
The South Shore Conservatory offers music, drama and dance for students from preschool and up. In addition to music programs, the SSC offers drama classes, musical theater, ballet classes with Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre, and music therapy, including:
- Lessons (private, semi-private, workshops, recitals, ballet, Music Together)
- Ensemble opportunities (instrumental, vocal, youth orchestra, wind)
- Summer programs
The Center for Arts in Natick
14 Summer Street, Natick, MA 01760
- Musical Theater Workshops: 10-week sessions, for children ages 4-9; presented in conjunction with Pocket Full of Tales Theatre Company. Children act, dance, sing and learn teamwork with professionally trained theater educators to stage a final show on the last day of class.
- Vacation week programs: single week vacation workshops are offered during the summer school vacation weeks for children pre-school through teens, with half-day and full-day sessions.
Nabi Music Center
Nabi Music Center connects students with individual instructors for private lessons online, at the instructor's studio, or at home. The first lesson is free, giving students the opportunity to try before they buy. Nabi also offers a few group classes in Somerville.
Baby Wiggle/Little Groove
Little Groove music classes are designed to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers learn and interact through sound, sight and touch in a live music setting. Children use their bodies and voices to sing along to catchy songs that help them build important motor and social skills; use real instruments such as drums, shakers, and tambourines; and interact with puppets, bubbles, balls, pom poms, and building blocks.
You can find classes at multiple locations:
Check out Kristin’s first-hand experience with Baby Wiggle/Little Groove.
Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7. Its classes are based on the recognition the presumption that all children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.
Two types of classes are available:
- Family Classes (birth-age 5): Parents, grandparents, or other caregivers participate in Music Together with their children ages birth to 5.
- Big Kids Classes (ages 5-7): Attendance by grownups is optional and many children attend independently.
Music Together classes are held at numerous locations; visit the website for ones closest to you.
Photo credit: Julie Sterling Photography, courtesy of Boston Children's Chorus
Post updated August 2014 and March 2016