Music Matters: Great Music Programs in NJ
Find a great music program near you, where your budding rocker/composer/tenor/first-chair can take classes in composition, percussion, voice, woodwinds and more.
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Andy’s Family Music Center
77 West Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston
Your little one will learn everything from woodwinds to piano to brass. The school also offers traditional voice lessons and teaches students of all ages and skill levels. It’s a great spot for rentals and repairs, too.
Arete Music Academy
120 Van Nostrand Ave., Englewood Cliffs
Kids as young as two start with Rhythms and Beats, then work their way up to Meet the Violin, Young Voices or Drums for Beginners. The Spanish Immersion Music Class offered teaches two- to four-year-olds basic Spanish vocab in a musical setting.
Bergen Performing Arts Center
30 North Van Brunt St., Englewood
Kids as young as four get their feet wet in Music Moments by learning about and playing instruments for the first time. Then they can graduate to classes like Chorus (ages five and up), Beginner Musicianship (ages six to 10) or Jazz Ensemble, where aspiring performers ages 10 and up learn the inner workings of jazz arrangements.
Calderone School of Music
256 Morris Ave., Springfield
34 Ridgedale Ave., East Hanover
Kindermusik classes are offered to little ones ages 18 months to seven years. From mommy and me classes to themed five-week camps, there’s something for every kid. Violin players can sign up for the Suzuki Strings Plus Program, which lasts 15 weeks. Teens can join the College Preparatory Division, which trains students for auditions.
Edison School of Music & Dance
990 Inman Ave., Edison
Preschoolers move to the beat and learn mechanics in this program that focuses on melody and rhythm. Musicians ages five and up can get private instruction in saxophone, piano, guitar, clarinet and more.
Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
1790 Springfield Ave., New Providence
Lessons run the gamut from piano to woodwinds, and kids can start as early as preschool. Voice lessons and summer camp programs are also offered.
Garden Street School of the Performing Arts
1018 Washington St., Hoboken
Children as young as four get the lowdown on their instrument of choice: piano, guitar, viola, violin, drums or bass in 30-minute lessons. Soon-to-be pop stars (five and up) can also brush up on their singing with private lessons. Students get a chance to take part in public recitals and events in Hoboken all year.
Lindeblad School of Music
101 Rte. 46, Pine Brook
Little Mozarts ages three to six get their feet wet with this intro piano course. As they level up, they’ll be invited to perform at a recital. The course also features an intro to singing and movement. Tots four and under can join Kindermusik ABC Music and Me, a session meant to inspire a lifelong love of music. Students of nearly all ages can take private lessons in guitar, piano, voice and violin, too.
The Little Gym
Get ready to shake, rattle and roll in a Kindermusik program that aims to teach them language, literacy, social, emotional and physical skills through song and dance.
Little Notes Music School
508 W. Rte. 10, Randolph
Start them off in Kindermusik where little ones learn to grow through song. Once they get comfortable, sign them up for piano, guitar or even a rock band course. There are also spots in string orchestra and jazz band.
Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University
33 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick
Get their wheels turning from kindergarten through fifth grade with Music Mind Games, where they’ll play while learning the basics. Young Maestros ages four to five learn music theory that’ll help them read notes in the future. If they’re serious, get them Suzuki-based instruction in classical guitar, violin or cello.
Tots and their caregivers in Music Together Mixed Ages get 45 minutes of movement and music experience by learning songs, getting a hands-on intro to instrumental play and exploring socially with peers of different ages. Some locations also offer Big Kid and Special Needs classes.
New Jersey School of Music
10 Union St., Medford
605 Rte. 70 W., Cherry Hill
Kids and adults can take lessons in just about any instrument, from piccolo to flute to banjo. There are beginner and accelerated programs, so you can decide the right pace for your kid. The school also offers music therapy, which may be the perfect fit for a child with learning, communicative or developmental disabilities.
The New Jersey Workshop for the Arts
150-152 East Broad St., Westfield
Musicians of all ages can go the classic route with saxophone or bass guitar, or veer off the beaten path with accordion or oboe. If your child has special needs, check out Music Connection, the music therapy program where students ages six and up learn an instrument of their choice in a small group setting.
Olive Tree Music Academy
Start her lessons in flute, clarinet, viola, bass, trombone and more. Your little music artist will learn performance, composition, theory and more. The school’s Flemington location also doubles as a recording studio.
The Original Music School
26 Morris St., Morristown
Kids 11 and up learn the in’s and out’s of playing in a band in this hands-on group class. They’ll also work on their guitar, percussion or keyboard skills. There are songwriting and music production programs, too.
21 Park Ave., Rutherford
470 Kinderkamack Rd., River Edge
This school offers one-on-one musical training in piano, violin, cello, drums, flute, guitar, clarinet and voice. Students practice for two recitals a year. The school also offers a summer camp that teaches piano, voice, art and a sampling of other instruments.
Paul Nazzaro Music Studio
137 Saint Paul St., Westfield
Student recording sessions make this piano school special. Kids can get recordings of themselves playing their own original pieces which they’ll get to share via a personal webpage the school provides. Standard music lessons in jazz, blues, music theory, composition and more are also offered.
School of Rock
If she has an ear for rock n’ roll, this is the place for her. There are plenty of routes a young guitar hero can take to next-level stardom (at least in your eyes!). Your eight- to 10-year-old can try Rock 101 to learn the basics through private lessons in guitar, bass, keys, drums or vocals, plus a weekly group rehearsal. If your first or second grader is just looking to have fun, he’ll love Rookies, a band-inspired group lesson that focuses on teamwork. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, students can enter the Performance Program, where they’ll be grouped with other kids to put on rock shows at local venues.
Shore Music Academy
68 Monmouth Rd., Oakhurst
Your kid learns a wide range of styles here, like blues, country, classical and jazz. If guitar or piano is his instrument of choice, he can start at age five. For drums and voice, he’ll have to wait until he’s six. If he’s a rocker-in-training, sign him up for Rock Band Classes. Kids ages eight to 18 will get a taste of what it’s like to be in a real band, especially by performing at local venues.
Valencia School of Music
37 Elm St., Westfield
Ukulele, guitar and bass are open to aspiring string artists, and there are also classes for piano, brass, drums and more. Rock-U Band is perfect for rockers with at least two years of experience under their belts. Look into DJ classes if your nine- to 16-year-old is interested in mixing; she’ll need her own laptop, though.
Youth Orchestras of Essex County
South Orange Middle School, South Orange
Placement in one of the three orchestras or ABC Ensemble is based on auditions, so this is for kids with experience. If they’re chosen, they’ll get to hit the stage for several live performances around NJ.
Zen Music Institute
265 Rt. 18 S., East Brunswick; 595 River Rd., Edgewater
Kids ages two to four get hearing training, rhythm practice and more in the Early Age Music Education Program. When they age out, they’ll progress to private lessons in piano, flute, cello or another instrument. Students practice for three yearly recitals, and All-State try-outs or State Regionals.