Special Music School & Other NYC Musical School Options for 2018

November 28, 2017

Since it’s testing season, we have a question for parents - which New York City public elementary school earned the highest state test scores in 2017?


Some people might immediately choose an accelerated citywide gifted school like Anderson, NEST+M or TAG. Perhaps they might guess that is was a high performing District G&T like Lower Lab. Surprisingly enough, however, it was New York City’s very own Special Music School. The Special Music School is a public/private partnership at Lincoln Center where kids receive conservatory level instruction in piano, violin, or flute, in addition to all their general subjects.


This school is specifically for students gifted in music, which means parents do not apply for admissions the same way they might do for a NYC Gifted and Talented program. The school requires an audition that takes children through a series of rhythm tests and activities to gauge their competence in music.


The Special Music School is officially accepting applications through December 1, but they are only guaranteeing to see the first 400 applicants. Over 600 kids audition for 15 spots, so the competition is extremely tough.


Although the Special Music School at Lincoln Center has proven to be New York City’s top school, there are other options for parents who are interested in a program like theirs. There is a new charter school -- The Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School. Their model is similar to the Special Music School, but they accept students via lottery, and not through an audition process.


In September 2018, Brooklyn will see a new private school, MUSE Academy, which will start as a Pre-K3 through 2nd grade extension of their popular enrichment program. They eventually plan to grow all the way up to 12th grade, teaching not just music, but also movement, drama, and even composition for the very youngest students!


Special Music School, The Washington Heights, Inwood Music Community Charter School, and Muse Academy (among others) believe that a musical education enhances all aspects of learning, including the humanities and even STEM. We spoke to Deborah Bradley-Kramer, Director of Music at MUSE Academy, to find out why that is, and what kind of students these schools are looking for. See the what Alina Adams asked on behalf of Bright Kids below and watch the video by visiting www.youtube.com/brightkidsnyc.


Question # 1: In your opinion, how do the arts compliment and enhance, in effect improve, a general education curriculum?


Question #2: A school like Special Music School has an audition process in order to admit children. Will there be an audition in your admissions process?



Question #3: You talked about looking for a child is passionate about music. How do you see that?


Applications for MUSE Academy and The Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School are open now on their respective websites. The charter school is free to attend, and while MUSE is tuition-based, it’s still about half the cost of most NYC private schools. Special Music School is also accepting applications and is in the process of auditioning. Additionally, while you can apply to the first two schools individually, The Special Music School goes on your Kindergarten Connect form.


If you’re looking for last minute prep tips before G&T testing begins in January, don’t miss Bright Kids’ dedicated G&T workshop on Wednesday, December 6 at Sarabeth’s on Park Avenue South. It’s your last chance to actually see the kinds of materials your kids will be tested on! Tickets are available by visiting www.bright-kids.com.



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