Programs Overview

Overview of Programs

CMCB is proud to be the largest external provider of arts education to the Boston Public Schools, and to offer programs throughout virtually every neighborhood in Boston. Over 4,000 students participate in our performing arts classes each week.

With our $3M annual budget, we reach over 85% of our student body through partnerships with schools, community centers, or social service agencies, and our vast ecosystem of services includes several major program areas:

School Outreach Program: Partnerships with 14 schools to provide school-day instruction

Satellite Program: Partnerships with schools or community centers for after-school instruction, particularly in neighborhoods where transit is a barrier to access

Music Therapy: Clinical services for individuals with special needs and disabilities

In-house Instruction: Lessons, ensembles, and group classes at our South End headquarters

Early Childhood: Classes and lessons for students as young as six months old

SummerMUSIC & SummerARTS: opportunities in music, arts, and leadership training each July

Our instructional focus and program offerings include:

  • General music classes
  • Private and group music lessons in 25+ instruments, voice, composition, and theory
  • A range of curricular offerings, from African Drumming to Musical Theater and Chamber Orchestra to Step Dancing
  • Performing ensembles for all skill levels, ages and genres
  • Intensive Study Project, an accelerated curriculum for grades 7-12
  • Supportive opportunities for emerging musicians, including our annual Young Composers Festival, Performathon, Lapin Competition, and the free John Kleshinski concert series


At CMCB, we are proud to bring programs to life with over 30 different community partners, but nearly all share the following features:

  • Weekly individual or group instruction with our professional teaching corps
  • 30-to-60 minute classes throughout the academic year or in the summer
  • Fun and engaging content, with age-appropriate curricular connections 
  • Opportunities to perform at CMCB or in the community throughout the year
  • Oversight and teacher training from CMCB’s program leadership staff


Who are our students? Students in CMCB’s K-12 programming generally reflect the demographics of Boston Public Schools, and we are proud to partner with one of the most diverse school districts in the nation. Within BPS at-large, students hail from over 100 countries: one in two students speak a language other than English at home, and one-in-three are English Language Learners. One in five students has a disability, and students identify as approximately 40% Hispanic, 35% Black, 15% White, and 10% Asian. Nearly three-quarters of students are economically disadvantaged. Read more at http://bostonpublicschools.org


Why Music Education? Every day, our teachers see first-hand how arts education leads to new skills, confidence, academic engagement, and formative social-emotional growth. 


In our 2018 high school senior survey, we found that 90% of our seniors planned to matriculate at 4-year colleges, and nearly all Agreed or Strongly Agreed that CMCB played an important role in preparing them for the next stage in life. Of this cohort, 80% were enrolled in more than one program, 70% had been enrolled for longer than 5 years, and a full half were enrolled in four or more programs at the Music Center. Nearly two-thirds planned to continue formal study of music in college with a Major, Minor, or participation in musical ensembles. 


There is a growing body of clinical studies on the impact of arts education that substantiate our own findings. For example, a recent landmark study at Rice University’s Kinder Institute investigated causal effects from Houston’s “Arts Access Initiative,” a randomized controlled trial with 10,548 students at 42 public schools: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED598203.pdf One of the first trials of its kind, researchers found statistically significant impact for arts-learning experiences, benefiting students in terms of:

  • Increases in compassion for others
  • Improvements in writing achievement
  • Enhancements in school engagement 
  • Greater post-secondary aspirations
  • Reductions in disciplinary infractions