Why Powers?

That’s easy. Our staff and faculty are committed to guiding you towards excellence in your own personal music goals, in the way that’s just right for you. 

When we say “excellence,” we mean… whatever YOU mean. We work hard to match you with the right teacher who understands where you want to go and what’s required to get you there.

We’ll help you set appropriate goals, track your progress, celebrate your accomplishments, and have fun doing it.

Ready to start your journey?

Tell us Your Goal


What does it mean to learn at Powers?

We offer caring, talented teachers, lessons in many instruments, a variety of ensembles and recitals, and a “built-in” community to help you reach your goals. And these are all important.

But we wanted to go further.

So, in a Spring 2023 survey, we asked our students and community – what do you value most? What do you want to accomplish? What do you love about Powers? What can we do better?

Here’s what we learned.

Our students and community are hoping:

  • to experience and appreciate different types of music,
  • to become competent at playing music, and
  • to enjoy music with others

What’s most important is:

  • enjoying and expressing yourself through music
  • developing work ethic, critical thinking and risk-taking skills
  • and ultimately, building self-esteem

In short…When you come to Powers, you’re here to pursue your goal, work hard, feel supported, and enjoy the journey.

We also learned the two things that set Powers apart:

1. Flexible, customized learning

We know you’ll want to learn the concepts and skills necessary to join your school band, compose a song, prepare for a conservatory audition, or play alongside your son or granddaughter. But you’re also looking for the resilience and personal skills to push past mistakes, to communicate well with others, to challenge yourself, and to feel truly valued. Our faculty brings the best of those together to craft a path that’s custom-made for you.

You also love the diverse range of offerings that Powers is always dreaming up! Lessons are the foundation of learning, but it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – stop there. Our staff and faculty work together to identify and create whatever would help you reach your goals. This might mean a recital with multiple studios, a group class to work on improvisation, or a week-long summer immersion in your instrument.

2. A collaborative culture that values every person

We believe that every person is different, and every person has worth.

This means that the way we each learn is unique. That all of our perspectives and opinions count. And that when we solve problems and make improvements, we do it together.

As we move forward, we’re striving to make Powers a place where including and valuing each person – students, parents, faculty, board members, volunteers, donors, and more – is not just what we want, it’s the norm.

The Path Forward

With all these things in mind, we crafted a new Mission and Vision to guide Powers for the future:


We inspire and empower people of all ages to strive for excellence in their unique musical goals. We do this through the expert, personalized instruction of caring, supportive teachers, ensembles and performances that push us to take risks, and shared experiences that open our minds to what’s possible when we lift each other up.


Our vision is for every person to realize their self-worth through their own personal journey towards excellence. We aim to create a safe, encouraging space to freely express ourselves, develop resiliency, and cheer each other on.


At Powers, we aim high, stay the course, and are there for each other.

We believe in…

  • Pushing ourselves to grow
  • Accepting and facing challenges
  • Empathy and open-mindedness
  • Kind encouragement for others


Does this sound like you?

If you have a goal and you’re ready to work hard, keep growing, and have fun doing it, then we’d love to show you what’s possible at Powers.

Tell us about yourself


Our History

The story of Powers Music School is one of passionate musicians and educators dedicated to bringing music opportunities to the community.

In the winter of 1964, key staff members from the newly formed Belmont Community Center met with local musicians, including Powers’ five “founding mothers,” to discuss ideas for bringing more music to the town. Over the next few years, the so-called “Music Committee” began offering private lessons, recorder classes, a junior orchestra and the town’s first piano festival. The musical offerings continued to expand, and in 1974, the committee incorporated under the name of “Belmont Music School,” receiving non-profit status just a year later.

The original Belmont Music School
The original “Belmont Music School” sign

Many of the people initially involved with the committee and Belmont Music School stayed active in the school for years. Powers honors the commitment, leadership and achievements of:

  • Ellen Huff Powers – a “founding mother” and first Executive Director, for whom the school was renamed. Her passion for the viola da gamba lives on as Powers students use and cherish the instruments she donated to the school.
Jane Hershey and Ellen Huff Powers
Viola da gamba instructor Jane Hershey with Ellen Huff Powers
  • Mildred Freiberg – a “founding mother” and first Board President, for whom the annual Mildred Freiberg Piano Festival was renamed. Along with Margaret Duesenberry (also a “founding mother”), Mildred coordinated the Stein Chamber Music Festival, begun in 1974, to honor the memory of Joseph Stein, a local chamber music enthusiast. The Stein Festival is now coordinated by Mildred’s daughter Sarah Freiberg Ellison, one of the first recorder students in 1964. Sarah now teaches cello at Powers and is an active Board member.
Mildred and Sarah Freiberg
Mildred Freiberg (right) with her daughter Sarah Freiberg (middle) and Sarah’s daughter
  • Dedicated faculty members who have taught at Powers for 20, 30, or even 40 years. Recorder and harpsichord teacher Gisela Krause retired in 2014 after teaching for 49 years!
Yo-Yo Ma teaching masterclass at Powers
Yo-Yo Ma teaching a masterclass at Powers Music School

Since 1964, the Directors, Board, teachers, staff, volunteers, and families of Powers have spent countless hours ensuring that all people in the area interested in learning and enjoying music can do so. Powers Music School’s history reminds us of those who championed community music education from the start over 50 years ago, and spurs us on to keep alive that mission, passion and dedication for years to come.

In that spirit, Powers has expanded its programming to reach populations with limited access to music, including those with financial challenges, limited mobility, physical, social or cognitive disabilities, and limited community music education opportunities. In the process, Powers has expanded geographically beyond Belmont, bringing music, education and joy to a wide network of venues and towns across the state of Massachusetts.