Music Partners

What is Music Partners?

4,500 students

35 Sites

8 Youth Centers

3 Senior Centers

24 Schools

Music Partners was created in 1988 in response to a critical need in the community — the rising number of New York City public schools offering no music instruction. It now serves 4,500 students off-site at 24 schools, 8 youth centers, and 3 senior centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, making this the largest off-site music program of any community school in New York City.

Music Partners brings weekly, intensive music instruction to students who otherwise would not have music as part of their day. Music Partners programs include recorder ensemble, music and movement, choir, string ensemble, and band. In recent years, the program has expanded to include teacher training, both to provide professional development to current Department of Education music teachers and to help develop new teachers and address the severe shortage of music teachers in the New York City public schools.


Early Childhood – 2nd Grade

Our program integrates singing, movement, instrumental play, body percussion, speech, poetry and drama. Children play pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments and experience the basic principles of ensemble playing. The children recognize written notation combined into rhythmic patterns.

Our very popular song repertoire includes games, chants and dances from the diverse cultures that make up our city. Listening, producing a sensitive tone, maintaining a steady beat, starting and stopping together are concepts that are positively reinforced by our devoted team of early childhood music specialists.  



Recorder Program

A highlight for the third-grader is learning the recorder. At this age, children are prepared developmentally to undertake the challenges that go into playing the recorder. Learning proper fingering technique, breath control and basic notes allows students to play solos, duets and canons on the recorder.

Students learn about melodic direction through reading the notes of songs. They learn about the staff, clef, key signatures and meter. They hear a variety of specially selected music that range from the Renaissance to reggae. They practice different recorder styles and build a repertoire of tunes.








Our program invites 4th-graders and up to choose flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, or percussion study and hand drumming. Throughout the year, students learn to read notes and rhythms, develop good posture, breath support, and ensemble skills.

We introduce students to popular repertoire and styles from the many diverse cultures of our city and the world. Beginning students work in individual instrumental groups while they achieve a basic proficiency on their instrument. After several weeks of practice, students are also given the opportunity to combine with the other instrumental sections to broaden their listening and ensemble skills.



For ages 7 and up. Students can study violin, viola or cello, learning the basics of technique, rhythm and note reading skills, intonation, tone control, and ensemble.



Students sing, learning breath support, articulation, good vocal habits, part singing, and ensemble skills. Repertoire may include popular, jazz, and classical music.


West African Drumming

Students learn traditional West African repertoire on the Djembe and the Songba drums and sing songs as they learn about the culture from various regions. Students practice basic hand rhythms, drum etiquette, technique, form, style and improvisation.


Students will learn the fundamentals of guitar performance, including chord shapes, strumming patterns, reading chord diagrams and following lead sheets. Repertoire includes both accompanying singing with the guitar and playing individual parts within a guitar ensemble


For ages 8 and up. Ukulele has increased in popularity in recent years due to its small size that makes it ideal for young musicians and provides an easy and satisfying entrance into the world of music. Students will learn how to accompany themselves singing a wide variety of songs while developing musicianship skills such as rhythm and group performance.

The Music Partners Program also offers short-term residencies, coaching, workshops, and assembly opportunities.

For more information, please contact Music Partners Director Dorothy Savitch, (718) 622-3300 x 221, or