Berklee City Music

Building Communities Note By Note

Berklee City Music is a non-profit education program that harnesses the energy of contemporary music to reach underserved 4th to 12th graders in Boston and at 43 sites all across the country. Students dedicate themselves to building their musical talent, their self-confidence and, in the long run,the strength of their community. With year-round instruction, expert faculty, individualized mentoring and a comprehensive curriculum, students are poised for success.

Berklee City Music brings high-quality music education to thousands of students each year in Boston and at partner sites through the City Music Network to prepare them for college and put them on par with their more advantaged peers. The program provides the tools and support for students to flourish as musicians and to become confident and well-rounded individuals ready to shape their world. Berklee has partnered with Tufts University to formally assess the impact of this program on youth education, leadership, music achievement, and social skills.

Program Components

Since 1992, Berklee City Music has grown with inspiring vigor. Talented urban students participate each year tuition-free, at no cost to them or their families, in the various components of the program offered.

  • Music Mentoring provides music theory classes and one-on-one coaching for grades 7-12.
  • Preparatory Academy is a more comprehensive program for grades 4-8 combining the PULSE music curriculum.
  • High School Academy is an advanced, intensive program for grades 9-12.
  • Faculty Outreach provides student enrichment and extra support to the public school music programs for grades 4-12.
  • City Music Summer Scholarship has awarded over 1,000 full scholarships to students from City Music to attend Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program.
  • City Music College Scholarship provides four-year, full-tuition scholarships to students from City Music to attend Berklee College of Music. To date, 188 high school students have received these scholarships.

Successes and Highlights

The City Music Program boasts a 94% retention rate, and a significantly higher graduation rate than the national average for City Music college students. City Music students also place higher in core courses in their studies at Berklee. Based on findings from a formal 5-year longitudinal study, in collaboration with Tufts University, to evaluate the City Music Program and its impact on youth development.

City Music alumni have pursued undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at dozens of institutions in addition to Berklee, including Harvard, Brown, Wesleyan, Wheaton, New York University, Cornell Law School, Columbia, Temple University School of Medicine, and Suffolk Law School.

The City Music students performed as the House Band at the inspiring TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in 2011 attended by leading entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates. Successful City Music alumni include Bryan Abreu (keyboardist for Keyshia Cole), Tuffus Zimbabwe (keyboardist in the Saturday Night Live Band on NBC-TV), and Ashley Rodriguez a finalist on American Idol.

Berklee City Music has been nationally recognized as a recipient of the prestigious 2008 Coming Up Taller Award, an initiative of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs.

City Music and the Berklee PULSE music method were featured at Quincy Jones' Musiq Consortium Summit in New York City, and chosen as a national model program to be featured in its work to bring more music education to students across America. Quincy Jones has become the lead advocate for the program's expansion on a national level.

Berklee has received ceremonial recognition from the Higher Education Partnership and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino for its City Music Program and for demonstrating best practices for grades K-12 in partnering with the Boston Public Schools.