In 1925, in a small house located on East 49th Street in Manhattan, a community music school was born. A faculty consisting of three piano teachers, two theory professors, one violin instructor, and one voice teacher set out to establish a supportive learning environment for a dozen young music students. At the time, there was no other institution that offered music instruction between 8th and 88th streets on the east side of Manhattan. The school filled a necessary void in the cultural and educational landscapes of New York City, providing affordable music instruction to a motivated community with a genuine interest in learning music.
After three years the institution grew to support over fifty children, and soon the 49th Street home of Turtle Bay Music School was outgrown. In 1935, after six months of searching, the director purchased an old school building located at 244 East 52nd Street. Sitting humbly at three stories tall, the school building had proper facilities and a fireproof stairway, an essential element to running and operating a school for children! The building required months of renovation, including gutting and refurnishing the many classrooms that were soon to be occupied by over 100 students. Throughout the years, the school building’s interior has undergone some changes, but the fundamental values of the Turtle Bay Music School remain the same.
Still sitting at 244 East 52nd Street, TBMS sets out to enrich and educate its community through the unifying power of music. In fact, the mission statement that was penned at the school’s birth in 1925 is quite similar to the one found today: The Purpose of TBMS is to bring an awareness, enjoyment, and knowledge of music, and the performance of music, into the lives of its students, and to maintain a discipline and standard of teaching at a high level of professional and educational competence. Turtle Bay Music School always has and always will strive to better its community through the benefits of music education: the diligence and patience required for practice, the bravery and courage needed to perform, and the support of a community of individuals striving towards a common goal. This has always been our mission, and it will continue to be for years to come.