Mission and History

Our Mission

To provide the extraordinary benefits of music to all in our community.

Our History

child playing violin with adult
Music Conservatory of Westchester was founded in 1929 in the American settlement house tradition of broad-based access and community service, and the European conservatory tradition of musical excellence. Legendary cellist Pablo Casals was among its founders, and jazz legend Cab Calloway once served onits board. Today, the Conservatory provides quality music education for students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, with one-on-one instruction, performing ensembles, theory, composition, early childhood classes, lifelong learning for adults, and free community performances. Our esteemed faculty, artists in their own right, help to enrich the lives of more than 2,800 students each year – 800 students who attend lessons and classes in our beautiful White Plains facility, and 2,000 students who participate in outreach programs.

Our Scholarship Program, established in 1992, provides tuition assistance for financially deserving students, ensuring that every student can fulfill their musical aspirations and talents. Our Music Therapy Institute, established in 1986, is the largest program of professional music therapy and adapted instruction in the Westchester region, serving individuals with a wide variety of disabilities at the Conservatory and in partnership with 30 schools, medical facilities and social service agencies. In 2013, we launched Healing Our Heroes, providing music therapy services for U.S. military veterans dealing with combat-relate injuries, at no cost to them or their families.

As a community music school, we play a vitally important role in creating the musical landscape for the next generation. We appreciate the importance of the great traditions, and understand how to adapt them for the present and future, educating tomorrow’s performers, audiences and supporters of the arts. We contribute to youth development, helping to create a stronger work force through the life skills that music training supports: creativity, leadership, teamwork, discipline, confidence, and critical thinking. We help unite our county’s communities through the universal language of music, creating a common bond among diverse individuals and groups.

One of only sixteen non-degree-granting schools nationwide to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Conservatory has inspired generations of students, and contributed to a vibrant musical life in the county, the region and beyond.

Our Values

We believe in the inherent power of music to provide personal enrichment, creative expression, lifelong learning, cultural appreciation, and joy for everyone.

Excellence - We strive to provide leadership and innovation in music education, encompassing high standards, best teaching practices and respect for individual  differences.  We seek to be a place where students of all ages and abilities grow through music and have the opportunity to develop their skills and talents to their greatest potential. 

Access – Guided by our commitment to inclusiveness, we believe that financial limitations or differing ability should never be a barrier to learning.  We take our programs into the community as necessary to ensure this.

Community – We bring people together through musical collaboration, bridging differences, forging connections, and celebrating musical and cultural diversity.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Music Conservatory of Westchester does not discriminate in its employment, enrollment, programs and/or activities on the basis of race, ethnicity, disability (subject to reasonable accommodation), age, national origin, gender or sexual orientation. Our mission is to provide the extraordinary benefits of music to all in our community.


Photo by Nathan Russell
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