Settlement Music School of Philadelphia


531-535 Market St
Camden, NJ 08105
County: Camden


Ms. Valerie Clayton

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

To provide project support for financial aid and programming with Camden's Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy.

Organization Background

Settlement Music School is one of the oldest and largest community music schools in the country. Founded in 1908, 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 Music School began at Settlement House, a charitable institution serving immigrant families in South Philadelphia, when 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. Settlement continues to offer a full roster of private and group lessons and a range of ensembles for every age and skill level, providing more than 10,000 of these services per week across the Philadelphia region.

As Settlement grew, it sought out other 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 now maintains six branches in the greater Philadelphia area. In July 2014, Settlement opened the Kardon Center for Arts Therapy, becoming the foremost provider of arts therapy services in the Philadelphia area. While 88% of our students are 18 or under, we also have a robust program for adults and seniors.

Settlement currently serves students aged 6 months to 97 years, helping each of them find a path and an artistic home for a lifetime, through a full range of instructional and performance opportunities. 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).

Settlement's branch locations make its programs accessible to students and serve as community resources that stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods. The Camden Branch is a local resource, accessible by foot or public transportation and serving residents of the City of Camden and surrounding municipalities and counties. The Camden Branch of Settlement was originally founded in 1986 as the Camden School of Musical Arts by a group of Camden ministers, music teachers, and residents, out of a common concern for the growing absence of music education in the public schools. CSMA became Settlement's sixth branch in 2003. Camden Branch Director Valerie Clayton has served on Settlement's voice faculty since 1990 and has directed the Camden Branch since its inauguration.

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