Our History

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The Brooklyn Music School is a community school for the performing arts, founded in 1909 as the Brooklyn Music School Settlement. The school was founded by European immigrants for whom the performance and appreciation of music was an essential part of life, and who wished to bring high quality music and performance to a broader audience of new Americans.

Today, Brooklyn continues to be a magnet for people from around the world, both musicians seeking new audiences and families seeking a better life. BMS has stayed true to our heritage of building communities through the joy and appreciation of music.

Brooklyn Music School was established as an arm of the New York Music School Settlement in 1909 and was granted a separate charter from the State University of New York in 1909. 

We own and operate a historic four-story building in Fort Greene neighborhood that contains twenty-four classrooms, three dance studios, and a professional 266-seat Spanish-style theatre. The Brooklyn Music School is a long-standing member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

BMS has a long history of staged opera: Renowned mezzo soprano Risé Stevens began her career BMS and the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse was also the home of the Little Theatre Opera company in the 1920’s.

In recent years, Fort Greene has become recognized as the cultural hub of Brooklyn and the home to some of the most innovative music and performance in New York City. 

Demographically the Fort Greene neighborhood is a diverse and vibrant community with multiple ethnic groups coming from different countries and establishing themselves near the school. BMS's student population is representative of our community and includes students from a dazzling variety of racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. The school provides financial aid to make musical instruction affordable to the families and children regardless of their resources.

BMS is committed to serving the community by providing high quality music and dance instruction without regard to income, age, previous experience or professional aspirations. All students are given a solid foundation and develop discipline, self-confidence, and poise. 

For many of our students, we provide the only exposure to music instruction that they will receive. For others, BMS serves as a launch pad to impressive professional careers in music and performance, and our alumni have gone on to attend the most competitive conservatories in America and abroad.