Levine School of Music (Washington, DC)

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A little girl sits holding rhythm sticks.

A young child participates in the Levine School’s Early Childhood Music Program.  
Photo courtesy of Levine School of Music

The Levine School of Music in Washington, DC was founded in 1976 by Diana Engel, Ruth Cogen, and Jackie Marlin in the basement of a small church. Since then, it has grown into one of the country's leading community music schools and is one of 16 nonprofit community music schools accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Currently, about 180 faculty-artists teach more than 3,500 children of every age, ability, and background in musical courses, including instrument performance, voice, music technology, and theory and composition. In addition, Levine offers an Early Childhood Music program and a master class series by such world-class musicians as Dave Brubeck, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

The Levine School of Music received an FY 2005 NEA Learning in the Arts grant of $20,000 to support the presentation of its Early Childhood Music (ECM) program to disadvantaged youth. The ECM program provides sequential music classes to lay a foundation for lifetime involvement with music.

During the 2005/06 school year, Levine provided 30 weeks of musical instruction free of charge to 280 disadvantaged children, aged 4-7, at seven partner organizations in Washington. At each site, faculty work with classes of 8-10 children, organized into specific age groups so that the children's understanding and developmental growth can be effectively targeted. The small size of the class allows for high levels of interaction between teacher and student. To aid the development of classroom teachers at the parent organizations, Levine provided teacher training sessions for approximately 70 teachers in November 2005 and January 2006.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)