Perhaps you've attended a concert by Peabody Institute students or faculty, simply marveled at the Mount Vernon campus's Renaissance Revival architecture, or wondered, when you were visiting the Sheridan Libraries' adjacent George Peabody Library, what goes on behind the doors of the first major intellectual and arts center in an American city.
Now is the time to find out. As a Johns Hopkins employee, there's plenty to take advantage of at Peabody. In addition to the nearly 1,000 free concerts that the Institute holds held each year, the Preparatory offers group classes and private instruction for adults and kids in a multitude of disciplines, from ballet to strings. You could hone your rock-band guitar skills, and your child could step up to the barre—both using your tuition remission benefits.
Founded in 1857 and affiliated with Johns Hopkins University since 1977, the Peabody Institute offers opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels to hone their craft and experience the joy of the performing arts while learning from some of the most talented faculty in their fields.
Classes for anyone
A community school for the performing arts, the Johns Hopkins Peabody Preparatory accepts students of all ages and skill levels and has options ranging from early childhood classes for infants to the Adult Continuing Education program for lifelong learners.
No need to feel intimidated. The Prep's mission is based on the idea that every individual has the capacity for artistic expression, meaning that its doors are open to wunderkinds and first-timers alike.
"The Peabody Preparatory was founded with the concept that music and the arts are for everybody," says Maria Mathieson, the Prep's director. "We have a range of student learning opportunities, and we have a range of student ability. The goal is to meet students wherever they are when they come in the door."
Mathieson hopes that the entire Hopkins community takes advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the performing arts, whether it's picking up a new skill or returning to an old one. "You have a musical and artistic home right on your doorstop that's available and accessible for you and your families," she says.
More than classical
While you might expect to find classes such as cello and chamber music, the more than 20 departments and programs within the Peabody Preparatory include the unexpected, too.
Want to relive your garage band experience? Dust off the keyboard or unpack your guitar for the Adult Rock Band class, where members learn to improvise and develop a cohesive sound, with performances throughout the semester. Or step up to the barre for Beginners Ballet, enrolling students with no previous—or very rusty—ballet experience.
For a more customizable option, try the Dance Class Card. This unique pass enables students to drop in on classes in ballet, contemporary dance, and West African dance.
Kids of all ages can also get involved. Start them as early as 2 months with Music for Babies, a group class designed for children to experience and absorb a wide variety of music in a stimulating environment. Or set up private lessons for an older child in more than two dozen instruments, from bassoon to violin.
To view the full scope of courses, browse by department and program.
Opportunities at the Preparatory generally come in one of four types: private lessons, small ensembles, group classes, and large ensembles. All but private lessons follow the fall (September–January) and spring (January–May) semester schedules and require advance registration.
The summer session (June–August) offers a curated selection of courses and can be a good opportunity to try something new on a shorter time commitment.
Discover what's being offered next semester by browsing the course catalog.
Raise your voice
You might have seen the Community Chorus of Peabody singing around Baltimore, from holiday performances to community events. Plus, several times a year the large group ensemble hosts Open Sings, welcoming anyone from the community to join in. (Follow the chorus on Facebook to find out about upcoming events.)
A group of about 60 singers of all skill levels, the Community Chorus has been bringing together the voices of Baltimore for five years. "We end up having a bit of a dual mission," says Kristen Toedtman, the group's director. "One is to provide an opportunity for people to sing; the other is to be out singing with others."
Its repertoire ranges from classics and spirituals to popular music and modern pieces from contemporary artists. "We have a lot of fun. People enjoy the challenge of building a musical piece and coming together with people they don't know. A lot of them have formed friendships through it," Toedtman says. "For some people, it offers something totally different than the rest of their lives."
To join the chorus (it's especially in need of tenors and basses, Toedtman says), register through the course catalog.
See a show
With performances happening on the Peabody campus every day, and all of them free, there's always an opportunity to experience the performing arts.
The Sylvia Adalman Chamber Series offers the opportunity to see Conservatory faculty in concert—among them, horn player Robert Rearden, bass-baritone Carl duPont, and pianist Benjamin Pasternack—while student recitals offer a glimpse of up-and-coming artists. Advance reservations are suggested for some events; visit the events page to see what's happening and save your spot.
Know your benefits
Johns Hopkins faculty and staff and their spouses and dependents are eligible for tuition remission on classes at the Peabody Preparatory. The percentage of coverage depends on whether instruction is private or in a group setting.
Current or retired faculty and staff, for example, receive 80 percent tuition remission on noncredit classes offered through the Preparatory and 25 percent remission on private Preparatory instruction. Children of faculty and staff can get 50 percent tuition remission on group instruction and 25 percent off on one-on-one lessons.
To learn more, visit the Tuition Support page of the JHU Benefits website.