There’s a hidden gem just outside of Princeton. It’s called the New School for Music Study in Kingston, NJ.
It’s a “music sanctuary,” according to Rebecca Pennington. Dr. Pennington is the Administrative Director of the New School, a center for keyboard study that currently has around 250 students. Off of Rt 27, the school looks like a cute house, but it is so much more–harboring musical students and reaching out and impacting the community.
“There’s music in every child.” One of three main purposes of the New School. Music transforms. Music can change lives, and everybody deserves the ability to have their life transformed by music and have a connection with music. Children or adults- anybody who wants to play the piano is accepted.
Music is more than just your instrument- it is your musicianship. Your ability to compose, understand, read. As the school’s second purpose, this allows children to grow into well-balanced musicians.
The third purpose is a combination of private and group classes for each student- to learn individually and to grow as a part of something greater than themselves.
“Music is meant to be shared.” A comment made from Dr. Pennington that places the lock in the key. The New School is a treasure chest- from the outside it may look simple, but inside are unimaginable riches. The dedication of the administration and faculty to the students, in abiding by the purposes of the school as well as giving themselves to the growth of each student. The growing musicianship of students at the New School- their abilities reach outside of just being a piano player, but letting music touch all aspect of their lives. These are the riches that live inside the treasure chest. But the idea that music is meant to be shared is turning the key to open the treasure chest and share its riches with the outside community.
The New School has a Student Recital Series every Spring for the public to see what this gem of a place is about. Students also visit retirement homes to play for residents there. There is also a Faculty Recital Series open to the public, providing connection to the community and aspiration for students.
Not every student needs to be a music major or go into music. But there is music in every child, and the New School wants to raise musicians for life.
The thing about hidden gems and treasure chests is that there is always a history of where they come from. Similarly, the New School intends to always remember their past as they grow toward their future. But the “New School” is named “new” for a reason. Why? After all, it won’t always be “new”- it was founded in the 1960s. But the New School never wants to be old- there should always be something new happening.
Rebecca Pennington of The New School for Music Study showed me how much of a treasure the school is. From impacting students’ lives to those in the community around it, the New School is truly a sound of Princeton.