Music Lessons at the International School of Music

A place where playing an instrument and fun go hand-in-hand

As kids, we often dream of becoming rock stars, playing the air guitar or drumming on any hard surface we can find. And let’s be honest, many of us continue to do this into adulthood. If you’re interested in living out your musical fantasies, The International School of Music can take you from air guitar to guitar hero!

Celebrating its 15th year in business, the International School of Music is one of the largest private music schools in the Washington, DC area, with two locations in Bethesda and Potomac, and a student body of more than 1,500 students.

Its robust, professionally trained faculty is revered, not only for their extensive teaching and performing experience, but also for their ability to connect with students and make lessons engaging and fun.  ISM’s gifted faculty fosters a positive and successful learning environment through custom-tailored instruction designed to meet each student’s individual learning needs and musical goals.

“Our teachers focus on songs that students like and enjoy, so students can learn note reading and technique through fun,” says Inja Stanic, the school’s CEO and founder. “Parents are always excited to see the progress their kids make and how much fun the kids are having at our school.”

The school’s instructors and administration work hard to create a holistic, well-rounded musical experience for all students. Lessons are not just fun and engaging, but are also structured to help students improve their musicianship through the Musical Ladder System®.  With this exciting and educational curriculum tool, students develop effective practice habits and achieve important milestones. Students can earn rewards, like colored wristbands, trophies, and certificates based on their progression.

As one ISM mom says, “In addition to the individualized approach and communication aspect, I love the accountability of the Musical Ladder System®.  As moms, we often feel like a broken record, saying, ‘You need to practice!’ and ‘Have you worked on your scales?’ among other things. Sadly, kids can get into a rut with wanting to practice if they feel like it’s not fun or there’s no carrot at the end of the stick. But the Musical Ladder System® is so much more than a carrot at the end of the stick. It’s a tangible goal and reward for hard work.  What 3rd grader doesn’t love a cool wristband, trophy, and a certificate?”

ISM students, ranging from four years to adults, come from every stage of life and musical experience.  The school offers a wide array of instrument lesson choices, including piano, voice, viola, violin, drums, bass, cello, flute, saxophone, guitar, trumpet, trombone, horn, ukulele and more. Students can decide what genres they are interested in exploring, be it rock, pop, jazz, country, blues, or classical. ISM’s Early Childhood Music Program includes special classes for toddlers and preschoolers that introduce them to music through play, song, dance, and games. Additionally, students may participate in ensembles such as fiddle band, flute choir, guitar ensemble, piano trio, string quartet, and more, allowing students to learn how to collaborate with other musicians.

There are many exciting performance opportunities throughout the year that reinforce goal-minded practice and provide students with valuable skills necessary to perform.  From school recitals — where students can perform for their friends and family —, to prestigious performances at Carnegie Hall, Strathmore Hall, and the Kennedy Center, ISM’s recitals allow students to grow and shine!  For students who seek even more performance opportunities, ISM’s Student Ambassador Program extends learning beyond the school’s walls for students who want to share music with the community.

“One of my overriding beliefs has always been that everybody can benefit from music lessons,” says Ms. Stanic.  “Music can make such a big difference in your life. It can enrich your life, even if you are not a virtuoso. I love seeing students come in and accomplish things, building their self-confidence to the point where they’re able to jam with their friends.  Studying music teaches students the life skills that they need: perseverance, teamwork, communication skills, respect, sensitivity, listening to others, hard work, and much more.”

Interested in starting your musical journey? If so, the award-winning International School of Music has a class for you.  To learn more about the International School of Music, visit, email us at, or call 301-365-5888 to schedule a tour.