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From Chamber Music to Jazz: Brookline Music School

By Joshua Grammer

In Brookline, a town that is more than 300 years old, a sweet sound fills the air. Nestled among the streets of this quaint New England neighborhood is the Brookline Music School. It began as a resource for the public schools in 1924, but later became a private institute dedicated to teaching and enhancing the musical ability of people of all ages. Ninety-one years later, the community music school offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles, as well as an array of special events that are open to the public, to include a Faculty Artist Series and Family Concert Series.

Gregory Tolwinski, Director of Education & Admissions, says, "Brookline Music School is an all-inclusive community music school, offering instruction and musical enrichment to all ages and levels of musicians, from serious students aspiring to a career in music to those simply looking for an artistic outlet in their busy schedules." Offering a research-based, musically rich, and sequential early childhood music program, Brookline Music School's youngest students are presented with a strong musical foundation, which provides them with the necessary skills for formal instruction and music appreciation.

The school offers classes in a variety of formats on many instruments, both in private and in group settings. While there are many choices, Brookline Music School prides itself on being able to allow students to find their own niche. Tolwinski elaborates by adding, "While private lessons make up the core of our curriculum, we endeavor to foster a sense of community and shared musical exploration. A number of ensemble options, from classical chamber music to jazz and rock bands, are available to young students, teens, and adults." Brookline Music School also offers a variety of dance classes and a musical theatre program for children 12 years and under.

Added to the curriculum are many no-cost benefits that enhance the musical creativity of students. Recitals occur often, showcasing school-wide and individual studios, and a Mega Jam takes place twice per year, featuring the jazz and rock ensembles performing in club-like venues. Students in private lessons can partake in "Dynamic Duos", which pairs them with another musician to create and prepare for a special concert. Salons are offered for teen and adult groups to share pieces, excerpts, works-in-progress?minus the formality of a recital, with friendly and supportive discussion offered by peers. Students have the option to perform at community-wide special events, partake in competitions for the strings, piano, and woodwinds departments, in addition to master classes, workshops, and lectures throughout the school-year.

Brookline Music School is more than a private music school. It is a cultural hub of the neighborhood. The students and staff partake in community events and continually challenge each other to grow in a positive atmosphere. The school is staffed by a faculty comprised of world-class musicians. Tolwinski says, "Our faculty is composed of experienced professional performers and creative, diversely talented musicians. Many perform regularly at BMS and throughout the greater community, acting as role models and providing inspiration for their students."

With their time and effort, these faculty are raising up a generation of music lovers that will excel within their select fields. They leave with the knowledge to perform and the creativity to enjoy a lifetime's worth of music making.

Brookline Music School is also a member of the prestigious National Guild for Community Arts Education. As part of this Guild, students and staff not only develop their own musical aspirations; they find ways to invest in the future of other upcoming or potential students. Volunteers donate time and resources to enrich communities around the country so that many others may have a chance to pick up an instrument and find a love for music.

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