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Special Music School High School

Special Music School is New York City's only K-12 school that teaches music as a core subject. Its first graduating class of 12th graders in June 2017 is celebrating a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate. Click here to see a college list.

Special Music School High School at Kaufman Music Center (M 859) is a groundbreaking NYC public school for musically gifted children. 2016-17 was an exciting year as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the school’s founding, welcomied our first senior class, the Class of 2017. We’re glad you’re interested in learning more about us and hope we get to meet you at an open house, hear your audition and maybe have you join us as a student!

The mission of Kaufman Music Center's Special Music School High School (SMS) is to develop students who have the skills, competencies and knowledge necessary for successful 21st-century music careers. The 21st-century musician can analyze, compose, and perform music at the highest level; has a strong sense of his/her own artistic “voice,” and is fluent in current music technologies. The 21st-century musician possesses the academic knowledge, skills, and habits that are keys to success in a rapidly changing world; he/she is also community-minded, inventive, and resourceful.

Founded in 1996 and inspired by the “spetsshkola” system of the former Soviet Union, Special Music School is a unique partnership between the New York City Department of Education and Kaufman Music Center, a not-for-profit cultural organization. The Department of Education funds the general academic portion of the students’ education, while the music program and curriculum is funded by donations through Kaufman Music Center.

One of the highest achieving schools in New York City Public Schools, Special Music School High School is a diverse community drawing students from all five boroughs. Our students are 16% Asian, 14% African American, 14% Hispanic, 13% Other, 43% Caucasian.

A small and individually focused learning environment, our unique approach provides talented young musicians the opportunity to pursue serious, pre-professional music studies along with a rigorous Regents-based academic curriculum all during the regular school day. Students work one-on-one, in small classes, and in ensemble rehearsals with internationally recognized music faculty. Courses offered explore music theory, history, technology, entrepreneurship and other skills needed by a well-rounded 21st-century musician all with a focus on performance.

"Music is as vital as reading and math. At a time when access to arts education in schools is sadly shrinking, Kaufman Music Center is expanding, bringing music into the lives of increasing numbers of kids from diverse communities throughout New York City."
                                                                                                                               Joshua Bell

Click here to support Special Music School.


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KAUFMAN MUSIC CENTER • 129 West 67th Street • New York, NY 10023 • (212) 501-3330 • Privacy Policy
Kaufman Music Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Number 13-1991118.
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