Frequently Asked Questions

We believe that the active engagement in making music, and the fun that children have in doing it, fosters a joy in learning that lasts a lifetime.

To that end, The Crowden School offers comprehensive musical training in balance with a first-class academic education. At the heart of our program is chamber music: small ensembles in which our students play music collaboratively with others.

Crowden’s ensemble-based curriculum instills in its students the collaborative, creative, and critical-thinking skills to succeed in life. This approach cultivates an environment of empathy and trust, fostering close bonds of friendship and respect among students.

In music study and in all areas, Crowden students learn the importance of discipline, preparation, and perseverance to achieve success.

Communication and concentration skills, self-confidence, curiosity, and a life-long love of music are just a few benefits of Crowden’s program.

No! The Crowden School prepares its students to excel in all areas after they graduate. 

Crowden School alumni are well-rounded individuals and confident leaders, ready to meet the artistic and intellectual challenges of the high school years and beyond. They are highly valued by all major private and public college preparatory high schools. Crowden graduates describe their experience as transformative, and go on to excel in their chosen fields.

That’s OK! We welcome beginners on string instruments in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. At the audition, we value aptitude and enthusiasm for music as much as experience. These traits can be demonstrated by playing any musical instrument or by singing.

Candidates applying to sixth through eighth grades must have prior experience playing an instrument.

All candidates for the piano program are expected to demonstrate facility with sight-reading.

Prospective students are expected to demonstrate academic and musical proficiency at the appropriate level for their grade.

Academic proficiency is determined by review of transcripts or report cards from the past two years, and by the results of the Crowden School Entrance Test. The test includes sections on English and Math.

Musical proficiency is determined through an audition process. Applicants are asked to play a short piece or sing a song (less than two minutes) that best shows off their current musical level. Members of the music faculty will listen and may ask a few questions. Students are also asked to complete a music theory placement test to assess their level.

The school day begins at 8:00am for all students.

Third graders are dismissed at 2:05pm, and fourth to eighth graders are dismissed at 3:30pm.

The school building opens at 7:40am, and aftercare is available for all students until 6:00pm.

The annual tuition for the 2021 to 2022 school year is:

Grades 3 to 5: $26,910

Grades 6 to 8: $29, 410

The Crowden School offers a need-based Financial Aid program, and qualified students are strongly encouraged to apply regardless of their ability to pay. 51% of Crowden School students receive need-based aid!

The Crowden community is vibrant and dynamic, and parents have many opportunities to get involved and build connections. The Crowden School requires the following number of hours for parent participation:

  • 25 hours per year for families with one student
  • 35 hours per year for families with two or more students
  • 10 hours per year for families with a single parent

Crowden prepares its students to succeed in a variety of school environments. Most Crowden students are accepted into their first choice high school. Throughout the eighth-grade year, we help students get ready for high school through our High School Prep Course.

Recent high school choices include: Albany High School, Athenian School, Bentley School, Berkeley High School, Branson, College Preparatory School, El Cerrito High School, Head Royce School, Lick-Wilmerding, Marin Academy, Maybeck High School, Oakland School of the Arts, San Domenico School.

Additional Questions?

If you would like to learn more about The Crowden School, please contact Anette Skloot, Admissions Manager, at or 510.559.6910 ext. 122.

The Crowden Music Center is a member of EBISA (East Bay Independent Schools Association) and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, national and ethnic origin, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Crowden School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Crowden is committed to creating a diverse environment, and we value our inclusive community of students, parents, and faculty and staff of all backgrounds. Together, we celebrate our many differences and unite in our shared love of music of all kinds and origins.

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