Settlement Music School of Philadelphia
531-535 Market St
Camden, NJ 08105
ContactMs. Valerie Clayton
To offer the highest quality music instruction to the citizens of Camden without barriers to access, by continuing to provide need-based financial aid to all interested students who come to Settlement Music School's Camden School of Musical Arts.
Settlement Music School is the largest community music school in the country, as measured by a combination of property square footage, number of weekly services provided to students, and budget size. The School's mission is to provide the highest quality instruction in music and the related arts to children and adults, regardless of age, background, ability, or economic circumstances. Settlement's broad range of programs, taught by highly credentialed and dedicated faculty, help students achieve artistic, educational, and social goals.
Founded in 1908, Settlement Music School began as the music program at the College Settlement, a charitable institution serving immigrant families in South Philadelphia. Initially, volunteer teachers offered piano lessons for a nickel. A full program of instruction soon took shape, encompassing all musical instruments and voice and taught by professionals, including members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The Mary Louise Curtis Branch building was built to house the School in 1917. Since that time, Settlement has been a neighborhood resource to hundreds of thousands of families. As it grew, Settlement sought out communities in need where it could best provide service, open up opportunities, and promote excellence. The School has put down roots in these communities, purchasing buildings that serve for students as a destination, as a 'third place' when they are not at home, school, or work. Settlement maintains five Pennsylvania branches: four in Philadelphia (Germantown in the Northwest, Kardon-Northeast, Wynnefield in West Philadelphia, and the original South Philadelphia location); and one in lower Montgomery County (Willow Grove). Our Camden Branch was originally founded in 1986 as the Camden School of Musical Arts (CSMA) by a group of Camden ministers, music teachers, and residents, concerned about the
decline of music education in public schools. In 2003, CSMA became one of Settlement's Branches.
Settlement's role as a leader in arts education in the country is exemplified by its position as a founding member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education (1937). It is one of only 17 community arts schools in the country that have received accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-Collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS).