Turtle Bay Music School was founded in 1925 based on the belief of nurturing a vibrant community through music. Our mission is to spread the transformative power of music by providing the highest quality music education and experiences to all who seek them.
A faculty of three piano teachers, two theory professors, one violin instructor, and one voice teacher established the school with the goal of creating a supportive learning environment for a dozen young music students. Located in a small home on East 49th Street in Manhattan, TBMS was a unique establishment: 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. The school’s mission statement that was penned at its founding 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.
After ten years, more than 50 children were studying music at East 49th Street and TBMS’s home was outgrown. In 1935, after six months of searching, the director purchased an old school building located at 244 East 52nd Street. After months of renovation, the four-story brownstone was ready to welcome its community, which grew rapidly. For 83 years, TBMS was located on East 52nd Street, serving New Yorkers through a variety of musical programming, and thousands of people of all ages studied music and attended performances.
For the third time in its history, TBMS began to be limited by its space. The school needed more room for its students and a more accessible way to access the building and its floors. The community had grown to over 5,000 New Yorkers, and so in 2018, TBMS made a courageous and bold commitment to grow and deepen its impact by relocating the school into a customized, one-level, fully accessible building at 330 East 38th Street.
TBMS’s new home in Murray Hill is a center for education, performance, activity, and access. TBMS strives 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. As TBMS looks forward to its second century, it seeks to provide a welcome space for all New Yorkers to participate in music – greeted, of course, by its iconic red doors.