Mission & Values

“Creating community, sparking potential and sharing joy through the arts”

Welcome from Dan Gurvich,
Executive Director

Welcome to NMS! In these pages, you will meet students and families whose lives have been forever enriched by NMS. You will also meet teachers who enable these life-changing experiences. Recall that special teacher from your past – the one who believed in you more than you believed in yourself. The one who inspired you to new discovery and accomplishment. Whose steady support helped you overcome the confusion and setbacks that are a part of learning.

At NMS, our studios are full of these special folks – the teachers you remember forever. The quality of our faculty stands out among even the very best community arts schools. They are caring, highly trained, and experienced. Our student families agree. In a February survey of nearly 500 students, on a scale of 0-10, our faculty received an average rating of 9.6.

The more I study community arts education nationally, the more I realize how fortunate we are to have a school of this caliber here in New Haven. Comparable schools are located in major metropolitan areas, which offer vast funding resources. NMS still provides over $200,000 in financial aid each year to keep our life-changing programs accessible to all.

NMS could not employ the faculty that makes us who we are, could not extend the financial aid that so many students count on, without the financial commitment of our steadfast supporters. You make NMS possible.

Our story unfolds every day in our studios and classrooms. In a world of increased digital connection, but growing emotional isolation, NMS touches hearts and provides a “second home” to so many. My favorite part of any week is hearing from a parent, student or alum about the profound positive impact that NMS has made in their lives. Recently I heard from the family of a child who had been struggling with self-esteem and behavior issues, but whose outlook on life changed dramatically after he discovered his passion at NMS. That transformative power of the arts is our real story – and the reason that NMS will continue to thrive for another century and beyond!

About Us

Neighborhood Music School (NMS) is the largest non-profit community arts organization in Connecticut and one of the 10 largest in the country. Founded in 1911 as part of the settlement house movement serving new immigrants to New Haven, NMS now serves more than 2,700 students from 80+ cities and towns annually. Students of all ages receive individual and group instruction in music, dance and drama and participate in over 100 weekly ensembles. NMS also houses a certified arts-integrated preschool, several summer programs and provides over $220,000 in financial aid and tuition support for more than 500 students each year.

Core Belief

We believe in the power of the arts to transform lives and strengthen communities.

NMS Core Values
  • Diversity: Our school is a vibrant hub for all ages, genders, races, nationalities, and economic backgrounds. Through shared learning and self-expression, we overcome fear of our differences.
  • Relationships: We respond to the individual needs of our students and families, treating them with warmth and care.
  • Teaching Excellence: Our talented and passionate teaching artists inspire students of all levels of ability to discover their unique potential.
  • Responsiveness: Rooted in the classical tradition, we respond to the present-day interests of our community to encourage participation.
  • Lifelong Learning: We provide opportunities for continual growth and development, both in our organization and in those we teach.
  • Welcoming Space: We offer an open and collaborative environment, where individuals feel comfortable and supported.
  • Community Presence: We actively go into the community to share the joy of the arts.

View our 2016-2017 Annual Report here.