Founded in 1984, Concord Community Music School is New Hampshire’s largest community music school and among the 30 largest community arts schools nationally. Its mission is to foster a sense of community through music by providing the fullest possible array of musical experiences for people of all ages, musical abilities, and backgrounds. Toward this end, it seeks to:
- Offer programs of excellence in musical instruction, performance, and participation
- Develop the musical abilities, understanding, and enjoyment of all students and audience members
- Provide a musical environment that is welcoming and offers access to all
- Recruit, nurture, and reward an outstanding artist faculty that embraces the School’s values
- Build a board and staff team that provides excellence in governance and management.
Core values are artistic excellence; access for all; musical friendships; lifelong musical learning; and faculty recognition, respect, and development.
More than 50 faculty members, known as the Musicians of Wall Street, provide instruction in 20 instruments and voice. See Faculty.
The School's 1,500 weekly students have ranged in age from 6 months to 90 years and come to the School from more than 100 communities in four states. See the list at bottom of this page. Forty-nine percent of the students receive financial aid, including those reached through the School's Music in the Community Initiative (MICI) and members of the Scholarship Ensembles.
Since 1988, the Music School has occupied a former church and rectory at 23 Wall Street, in downtown Concord, NH. An addition more than doubled the School's size in 2001, creating three floors of teaching studios and larger ensemble rooms, including a percussion room. There also is a recording studio, an outdoor performance area next to a city park and two large performance spaces -- the lovely Recital Hall, formerly a church sanctuary, and the multi-purpose Community Room.
Performance is central to the Music School's mission and more than 200 public recitals, concerts, workshops and lectures are produced each year. They include jazz, folk and classical performances, an annual mandolin festival and an all-day Performathon in March. Many are admission free.
Instruction is offered in piano, strings, voice, percussion, woodwinds, brass, folk and jazz. Each student is encouraged to join ensembles or choruses, attend workshops and perform frequently. There also is a large early childhood music & movement program, both at 23 Wall Street and through the MICI program.
As a full member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, the Music School draws its mission from roots in the Settlement House movement a century ago, through which music programs delivered by outstanding artists helped build a community for people from diverse backgrounds. The School's ongoing Manchester partnerships are an example of this historical mission that has come full circle, as Manchester's newest citizens from around the world are welcomed in the universal language of music and dance. CCMS shares with its colleagues nationwide a commitment to offer programs of artistic excellence regardless of any barriers of income, age, disability, or rural transportation access.
Recognized nationally for program innovation and management excellence, the School has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, Jane’s Trust, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. True to its Settlement House roots, it shares with community arts schools nationwide a mission of access, and has been recognized with the Governor’s Arts Award for Cultural Access Leadership and as a 2014 Champion for Mental Health by Riverbend Community Mental Health.
Students travel to the Music School each week from as far away as Chelmsford, MA, to Bradford, VT, including the following communities:
Kittery Point, ME
N. Chelmsford, MA
N. Wayne, ME
North Attleboro, MA