Sherwood Community Music School is an urban center for comprehensive community music education. A member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, Sherwood trains gifted young musicians who anticipate careers in music, beginning and amateur musicians of all ages, preschool children and parents, and professional musicians and music educators seeking continuing education.
The current student body is an exciting mix of cultures from nearly every neighborhood in Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and Northwest Indiana; 72% are under the age of 18 and 28% are adults. Students of African, Asian and Latino descent make up 56% of the full student body. Approximately 16% of Sherwood students receive additional support in the form of need-based financial aid or merit-based scholarships.
William Hall Sherwood founded the Sherwood Music School in 1895. A protégé of the great Franz Liszt, Sherwood (1854-1911) was the nation's most celebrated pianist and teacher at the turn of the Twentieth Century. He believed that every American child deserved a music education, and was the first to publicly advocate for scholarship support of music students. He took music to the people performing in towns throughout the western frontier. One of his great legacies was the Sherwood Piano Course, the first standardized text for teaching and learning piano.
From the 1920's, the school had been an institution of higher education, offering professional degrees in music. In 1986, challenged by the scarcity of quality music education opportunities for Chicago citizens, especially for children and youth, the school implemented a dynamic change of mission. The collegiate programs were phased-out and Sherwood emerged as a community-focused institution, committed to meeting the diverse music education needs of Chicago's urban population. Recognizing the compatibility of missions and desire to serve the culturally rich and diverse Chicago community, Sherwood merged with Columbia College Chicago in July 2007.