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Music Program

Mission: 21st Century Musicians

Special Music School High School develops students who have the skills, competencies and knowledge necessary for 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.

Students work in one of the three concentrations offered at SMS High School: Vocal, Composition and Instrumental. Comprehensive, conservatory-level core classes and ensembles update the traditional model of classical music education preparing Special Music School students for careers as musicians today. Beyond developing the fundamentals of music theory, history and technology, SMS students perform classical, jazz and improvisatory repertoire along with the work of living composers in international concerts and in venues across New York City.

Students also participate in Large and Small Ensemble rehearsals three afternoons a week, with large ensembles rehearsing on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Examples of Large Ensembles include:
Concert Orchestra
Wind Ensemble
Concert Choir
Jazz Big Band

Examples of Small Ensembles/Chamber Music include:
Baroque Orchestra
Percussion Ensemble
Guitar Quartet
Woodwind Quintet
Piano Quartet
Piano Trio
String Quartet
Advanced Jazz Combo

Founded in 1996, Special Music School represents a unique public/private partnership between Kaufman Music Center, which fully funds, through private contributions, a full, merit-based scholarship for each student, and the New York City Department of Education which provides the academic program and materials. As with all public schools, tuition is free to residents of the five boroughs of New York City.

One of the highest achieving public schools in New York City, Special Music School High School is located within the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex at 122 Amsterdam Ave., between 65th and 66th Streets.