Sponsor Spotlight: The Crowden School - 510 Families

Sponsor Spotlight: The Crowden School

This post is sponsored by The Crowden School in Berkeley, the only school in the entire country that uses chamber music (playing music together in small groups) as its educational model for third through eighth-grades. But for its students, The Crowden School is a second home, where they can feel comfortable and thrive.

kids playing violin wearing masks
See for yourself how music changes everything at The Crowden School; take a socially distant school tour

I’ve lived across the street from The Crowden School for more than a decade, so the sight of grade school-aged children hustling up the sidewalk, carrying the telltale cases of string instruments, is a familiar one to me. From my living room window, I see these students playing soccer and running around during recess and after school. Many of you have probably been there, as the North Berkeley campus, located on Rose Street at Sacramento, is one of East Bay Music Together’s sites. You may also have attended Crowden’s very popular annual musical carnival, Community Music Day.

The Crowden School is unlike any other school in the country, a third through eighth-grade day school with chamber music at its heart.

There is music everywhere at The Crowden School! When you walk into Crowden, you’ll see instrument cases, music stands, and sheet music everywhere. You’ll hear music coming from every classroom. You’ll overhear students talking in the halls, and they are likely to be talking excitedly about music, too. At Crowden, students play music together with joy—and then they bring that enthusiasm to learning in all areas.

children playing cellos
Playing music together helps students develop skills to succeed in life. (Photo pre-COVID-19)

The Crowden School now teaches third grade! Crowden welcomed its first third grade class this fall, and they’re already humming (and fiddling) along. Third grade students have a shorter day, and one hour of music instead of two like the other grades. Beginners who love music are accepted into third, fourth, and fifth grades, where they learn to play a string instrument: violin, viola, cello, or double bass.

Note: Students do enter the school at all grade levels, but experience on a string instrument or piano is required for sixth through eighth grade. Piano students are accepted into all grades, but must be more experienced players.

A few words about Covid-19

The Crowden School prioritizes the health and safety of all students, employees, and community members. The school is currently operating on an Enrichment Schedule, with cohorts, weekly testing for all students and faculty visiting campus, social distancing, masks, and strict hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection protocols. Students are on campus two days a week for enrichment activities, which include music ensemble rehearsals, homerooms for Lower Schoolers, Art and PE activities. Prospective families are able to schedule private socially distant school tours on enrichment days to see our students in action. You can learn details about Crowden’s COVID-19 Response Plan at crowden.org/covid.

Why playing music together in groups helps students succeed in all areas of life

Talking to Crowden School students, you’ll notice a remarkable trend: how much they want to be at their school, and how much they value the experience and education they receive. Crowden students typically convince their parents that they belong at Crowden, not the other way around. By the time they graduate, they feel transformed by the experience, and they credit Crowden specifically, with self-awareness and introspection far beyond their young ages. Crowden School students will tell you how important it is for them to be around people who understand them, how they feel comfortable being themselves, and how Crowden has helped them grow as people, not just musicians.

Crowden students truly love school, learning, their teachers, and each other. Playing music together—rehearsing together, improving together, learning how to listen to one another—creates a special environment of trust and empathy among the students and faculty. Students in different grades mix together in their music ensembles, which makes the school culture tight-knit and supportive—older students take leadership roles and mentor their younger peers. The bonds of friendship Crowden School students form through musical partnership are deep and enduring: alumni stay close throughout the high school and college years, and even beyond. Being a young person can be hard, but at The Crowden School children feel so supported by people just like them, who love music, they grow into confident, curious, creative, and passionate young leaders.

Crowden students crowded in
Crowden students love their school! (Photo pre-COVID-19)

Schedule a Visit to The Crowden School

The Crowden School is offering private, socially distanced school tours right now. Students are on campus two days a week for music enrichment, so you can schedule a personal tour to see and hear the music program in action. Contact admissions@crowden.org or visit crowden.org/admissions to schedule your tour. You can learn about Crowden’s (impressive) safety and health protocols at crowden.org/covid.

Upcoming Events for Prospective Parents at Crowden

Parents curious about a Crowden education should know about these special events, dates, and deadlines:
Virtual Admissions Info Sessions:

  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Student concert online watch parties:

  • Friday, November 13, 2020, 6:30 pm: Evening of Music Concert Watch Party
  • Saturday, November 28, 2020, 10 am to noon: Community Music Day
  • Friday, January 22, 2021, 6:30 pm: Basically Baroque and Classified as Classical Concert Watch Party

Application Deadlines:

  • Early-bird Deadline: December 15, 2020 (reduced fee $50)
  • Regular Application Deadline: February 1, 2021 ($75 fee)

What current Crowden students say

“Crowden has always been like a second home to me.” ~ Jeremy, Class of 2020

“Crowden changed almost every part of my life. I have grown so much as a person and as a musician here. I came here for the music and I got so much more.” – Ansel, Class of 2020

[All photos provided by The Crowden School and used with permission]

Crowden also offers music lessons, classes, and ensembles for all ages and levels in the general community. We thank them for sponsoring {510} Families. Learn more >


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1 thought on “Sponsor Spotlight: The Crowden School”

  1. Pingback: Private school information and admission events

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