Third Street Music School Settlement, the nation's oldest community music school, was founded in 1894 and has been changing lives and its community by providing access to world-class music instruction, regardless of a student's financial resources or ability.

As part of the settlement movement of the mid-19th century in which young university graduates "settled" in poor, immigrant communities to improve the quality of life, Third Street originally employed live-in social workers and even gave baths to some children along with their music lessons. From its very inception, Third Street has been a home away from home for countless students, instilling within them a genuine sense of accomplishment and achievement.

Third Street still serves a large immigrant community, and more than 75% of all students receive some type of financial assistance -- need-based financial aid, merit-based scholarships, and tuition-free/discounted instruction and enrichment programs. For over a century, Third Street's programs have grown and earned a reputation for teaching excellence that now attracts students and families with diverse backgrounds from all over the New York area.

Now in its second century of service, the School provides instruction in music and dance to more than 5,000 students of all ages at its school on East 11th Street and through 28 partnerships with schools and community centers primarily on Manhattan's Lower East Side as well as Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The School is known for its vibrant chamber music programs, its new focus on adult programming, and its commitment to woodwinds and brass instruction for pre-teen and teenage beginners. Third Street offers weekly after-school and Saturday music instruction (individual and group) in most instruments and voice, along with theory, composition, chamber music, ensembles and many performance activities. The School also offers dance classes in ballet, tap and hip hop; a variety of summer programs; and a range of music-centered early childhood programs, including a licensed preschool. And, as part of its educational mission and in service to the broader community, Third Street presents more than 250 free-to-the-public concerts and recitals by faculty, students and renowned guest artists each year.

Third Street Music School Settlement believes that music and dance transcend cultural and societal boundaries, inspiring togetherness, bringing people joy and enriching the communities in which they live. Access and exposure to the arts in an integral part of a thriving cultural community and a well-rounded education. To this end, Third Street strives to be a leader in arts learning both in the community and nationwide.

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Families are welcome to attend the school's free concerts, including a Friday night faculty series and an outdoor summer series entitled Music in Abe Lebewohl Park (Second Avenue at 10th Street). The latter features a wide spectrum of musical styles, reflecting the Lower East Side's ethnic diversity.

Many of the school's instruction programs may be of interest to different family members, as there are artistic opportunities for everyone—from preschool ballet dancers to adult music lovers who aspire to play an instrument or join a chamber ensemble. Third Street conducts a variety of early childhood arts classes, including a fully licensed, music-centered preschool. Classes are offered at reasonable rates and students may qualify for tuition assistance.


Third Street Music School has, for many years, partnered with public schools and community centers to provide high quality music and dance instruction that takes place during the school day or after school. Students enrolled in one of Third Street's partner public schools are also eligible to participate in MILES @3rd, a program which provides an opportunity for students to take classes at Third Street's facility on Each 11th Street for free or at a low cost.