The Nelly Berman School of Music is a private community school founded in 1983. Through music, the school aims to awaken the natural creative instincts of its students. The warm, supportive atmosphere of the school contributes to the development of individuality, self-esteem and responsibility. Through our goal-oriented and disciplined approach, the school provides a serious, well-rounded musical education in a fun-oriented and pleasurable environment that engages the students and their families.
Nelly Berman started the school as a single teacher with only seven students. Over the years, her unique ability to unlock the musical potential of students as well as her passion and intensity for children’s musical education has been inspirational in the development of the school. She has raised the bar for high achievement and self-accomplishment, encouraging students and teachers to seek and attain their personal best. Today the school has over 40 faculty members and 250 students from Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Our instructors have studied at some of the finest conservatories throughout Europe and the U.S.
After her passing in and 2015, Elena Berman, Nelly’s daughter and an accomplished teacher in her own right, took over as Director of the Nelly Berman School of Music and continues to carry her mother’s torch with the same passion towards musical excellence that Nelly embodied.
Both Nelly and Elena Berman and their faculty have developed a unique method of instrumental and chamber music instruction that enables students to achieve a high level of proficiency early in their musical education. This involves the Russian approach to music in which technical mastery of the instrument is combined with a keen understanding of the composer’s intent and the student’s own emotions. The results of this training are apparent in the excellence of our students’ achievements. Students of the Nelly Berman School have appeared in music festivals in Italy, France, Monaco, Israel, Russia, Germany, Tanglewood, and the Van Cliburn Institute, among others. They have appeared at Carnegie Hall and The Kimmel Center as well as on NPR’s “From the TOP”. Our students have also won numerous prizes from competitions such as the West Chester Piano Competition, the Tri-County Competition, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Korean Music Association Competition, and the Delaware County Youth Orchestra. In addition, our students have performed as soloists with the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Delaware, Ocean City, Ambler, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Landsdowne, and Old York Symphony Orchestras. Our instrumentalists have been accepted to such student ensembles as the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Prism, and the Philadelphia Sinfonia ensemble, among others.
Twelve faculty of the school have received their Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA), and the rest have Masters Degrees of Education from some of the finest conservatories in the world. Our faculty include Philadelphia Orchestra members, and professors from Temple and West Chester University. Select teachers have been invited to perform and give master classes all over the world, and some have been both winners and judges of many international competitions
The founding spirit of the Russian tradition of musical excellence Nelly Berman brought from Russia to Haverford lives on today in the practice rooms of our students and continues to inspire our community.