Shaping young hearts, minds with music
BY GABE HERMAN
After moving its home last year
into a new building a few
neighborhoods south, Murray
Hill, the Turtle Bay Music School
is preparing for another change as it
sets to open a preschool this fall.
The school was founded in 1925
on E. 49th St. It was then at 244 E.
52 St. for 83 years, before moving
again last year. It’s now at 330 E.
38th St., on the ground level of The
Corinthian, a residential building between
First and Second Aves.
The school currently features other
programs for very young children,
including “Musical Mornings,” for
ages 6 months to 4 years, a 90-minute
program to introduce children to
a preschool environment. There are
also group classes for children ages
18 months to 6 years.
The preschool, for kids ages 2
through 5, starts this September. The
first group this fall will have ages 2
through 4, according to Whendy
Carter, the preschool’s director.
“A core belief for us is that music
shapes minds and hearts,” Carter
said at the school recently. She said
music is an experience that connects
people. “It’s shown to support learning
and academics,” she said.
Singing is a universal language,
and it is how we all learn the alphabet,
she added, noting, “Music has
always been a comforting tool in
“We’re reintroducing music as a
language, to foster development in a
way that helps with everything,” explained
a school board member, who
asked to remain unnamed.
Carter said there is research behind
the notion that music can help
young children develop better cooperation
and other positive behaviors.
The preschool will have five classrooms,
along with 13 practice rooms,
each with its own piano. Turtle Bay
Music School has a performance hall
that holds 161 people, and the little
ones will see live music weekly.
“It’s just empowering to have them
exposed,” Carter said of the live
music. The preschoolers will also
perform onstage themselves a few
The preschool will emphasize traditional
instruments over electronic
It will also offer more than just
music, including math and science
for the 4-year-olds.
And of course there will be snack
time and outdoor play. But the snack
time will include listening to classical
music, and the hope is to get the
kids able to recognize different composers.
Carter trained in fine arts and, in
turn, has been training teachers in
PHOTO BY DAVID KATZENSTEIN
Youngsters at the school’s “String
Camp” summer program.
the arts for years. She has worked
at several Manhattan preschools, including
founding the Church of the
Epiphany Day School on the Upper
“I’m excited,” she said of the new
program, adding, “to start from the
ground up is a lot of work.”
There are 12 pupils enrolled so far,
out of the program’s goal of 18. Tuition
ranges from $11,950 for 2-yearolds
for part-time preschool, up to
$27,750 for kids ages 3 through 5,
for full-time preschool.
Carter feels the school’s musical
mission is important, especially
since the subject is being cut in so
many schools. She said the preschool
is part of the place’s overall mission
to bring more music to the community,
including free events open to
Specialists at the school will drop
in daily, to bring a variety of music
to the preschoolers, including percussion,
vocal development, world
music, older traditional music and
“The musicians here are heartfelt
people,” Carter said of Turtle Bay
Music School. “With children, you
really want to help them walk into a
room and feel part of a community.”
For more information, visit http://
COURTESY TURTLE BAY MUSIC SCHOOL
A scene from Turtle Bay Music School in the 1940s.
PHOTO BY DAVID KATZENSTEIN
A group piano class at the music school.
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