About Us

festive painted mural

Welcome!

Community Music School of Springfield, founded in 1983, is a non-profit community arts school in Western Massachusetts. Our mission is to provide an equitable and inclusive center of excellence in music education, arts learning, and cultural engagement that empowers individuals, inspires creative passion, and promotes well-being in our community. We serve more than 2,000 students weekly at our 127 State Street location and in our community partnership programs.

Prelude student smiling, holding wooden claves/rhythm sticks

Choice of study includes private lessonsgroup classes and ensemblesadult music study, or for our youngest students, early childhood music classes and our acclaimed Prelude Preschool of the Arts. Our community partnership programs, Sonido Musica and the Adaptive Music Program, provide weekly instruction for hundreds of children throughout Springfield and beyond.

CMSS’ outstanding faculty of over 50 music educators inspire success at every level of achievement, from beginner to pre-professional study. We offer instruction in a wide range of musical genres across a broad spectrum of instruments and voice.

Our registration team guides the selection of faculty who best suit your own or your child’s learning style and makes adjustments as proficiency or schedules demand. Whether you are beginning your musical journey or advancing your skills, we welcome you!


Our Values

Equity & Excellence

CMSS is dedicated to inclusion and social change through the arts, and celebrates all cultures and traditions. We create quality programs and instruction to help all students achieve their highest potential. We are committed to providing financial aid to support under-served segments of our community.

Creativity & Community

We value the pursuit of lifelong learning, and we believe in the power of music to inspire achievement and create connections that strengthen individuals and create positive, systemic change in our communities.

Unified Teaching Values

A lesson with each and every one of CMSS faculty looks different in its own beautiful way. The opens in a new windowCMSS Unified Teaching Values allow us to name what it means to be a faculty member, what future students can expect from all CMSS faculty, and what past and present students have loved since 1983.

Strategic Plan

We are proud to share our opens in a new window2023-2027 Strategic Plan.

Partnership Principles

Springfield is diverse racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically. CMSS must ensure that historically marginalized communities are heard and represented in our organization in order to build the trust necessary to deeply and positively impact our community. Partnerships and collaboration are critical in this work.

CMSS’ partnership principles are designed to support our organizational equity goal of expanding CMSS’s role as a place of creative expression that unites and builds trust among communities.  CMSS is committed to challenging injustice and prioritizing equity and inclusion in all of our relationships, communications and programs.

Organizations and individuals who partner with CMSS are expected to treat those they come in contact with through their work with CMSS with courtesy and empathy. We expect our partners to act with the integrity and goodwill that CMSS intentionally cultivates, and to default to the assumption that others are doing the same. We expect our partners’ communication with others to be respectful, kind, and in the spirit of collaboration.

When selecting partners, vendors, and contractors, CMSS will prioritize organizations that:

  • Are locally owned and operated
  • Are owned and/or led by people from historically marginalized groups (e.g. people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals)
  • Pay their employees a living wage
  • Adhere to equitable and ethical policies and practices
  • Do not work at cross purposes with CMSS’ mission and values

Our Commitment to Providing Access to the Arts

Central to our mission is our financial aid and scholarship program. Over the past 39 years, CMSS has raised and awarded more than $1.7 million in financial aid and scholarships. We are proud of this commitment to young people in our community and grateful for the support of generous individuals and organizations who make this financial assistance possible. Of our 2,200 students served annually on-site and in our community partnerships, approximately 70% receive music education for free or at a reduced cost. Please consider helping us provide music and arts education to our community by making a donation today in support of CMSS’ financial aid and scholarships.


Our Building

CMSS is housed in a landmark 1933 Art Deco building in the heart of downtown Springfield. We currently have more than 33,000 sq. ft. of studios, classrooms, offices and performance areas on five floors. Major renovations in 2008 and 2009 enabled the creation of the Prelude Preschool of the Arts and other programmatic expansions. Our concert hall, Robyn Newhouse Hall, is highlighted by a spectacular 1933 mural of the American urban landscape by Carroll Bill. During almost any given week you can hear a variety of concerts showcasing young artists, distinguished visiting musicians, or student or faculty performances in a range of musical styles. This beautiful concert hall is available for outside organizations seeking a venue for meetings and special events.

CMSS contributes to a healthier planet by using renewable energy:

Geothermal HVAC: Geothermal HVAC systems use heat transfers between the air and the ground to provide heating and cooling.

Solar Panels: Solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy coming straight from our beautiful sun and into CMSS!


Awards and Affiliations

Community Music School of Springfield is a proud member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the Springfield Cultural Partnership. CMSS is honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Arts |Learning Champions of Arts Advocacy Award, the 2015 Yale University Distinguished Music Education Partner Award, the New England Public Radio 2015 Outstanding Arts Organization in the Pioneer Valley award, and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees 2015 Outstanding School Partner award. CMSS Programs are funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

CMSS Perform-A-Thon