The International School of Music Teaching Philosophy

The teaching philosophy of the International School of Music is founded on the belief that a good musical education not only instills strong musical and technical fundamentals, but also fosters a true appreciation for the arts in general. At the International School of Music, staff and faculty believe in the power of music – music that cultivates self-esteem, self-discipline, and creative thinking skills. This belief, and the teaching style derived from it, creates a positive atmosphere for learning, progress, and fun. All students are introduced to the traditions and styles that influenced different composers. Teachers focus on the links between music, art, and everyday life so that students learn to perceive the hidden meanings and imagery in music. This understanding enables students to delve deeply into the heart of their music by creating their own personal interpretations. Our faculty takes special care to tailor lessons to each student’s individual needs and goals so they can develop as versatile musicians. Students develop technical, aural, and rhythmic skills and are encouraged to analyze, interpret, compose, and sight-read. For older and more advanced students, ISM focuses on musical clarity and power, technical facility, refinement of their musical palette, and an understanding of musical structure. Due to this holistic approach, our students have received superior ratings in music festivals, auditions, and competitions. Some students have even become professional musicians themselves and have been accepted at premier music colleges and conservatories in the United States and abroad.

Why Choose Us?

The International School of Music employs a multi-disciplinary approach to musical education that allows students to reach their full musical potential in a positive, creative atmosphere. We strive to create a culture of encouragement, friendliness, high character, excellence, risk taking, integrity, role modeling, and hard work. Our school is a type of launching pad where that encourages students to go beyond where they thought they could go.

The International School of Music seeks to stay on the cutting edge of music pedagogy. Our teachers offer a variety of modern musical styles, while still remaining connected to the traditions and genres of the past. We believe in education that is high in excellence, professionalism that is high in caliber, and serving the community with highest quality.

We also believe in promoting a lifestyle of kindness, thoughtfulness, and grace in education towards students, faculty, families, and our whole community. The International School of Music is an educational institution that seeks to be a model of care for our community. We are dedicated to providing high quality and fun music lessons to students of all levels. Whether it’s classical, musical theatre, blues, rock, pop, country, jazz, or anything else imaginable, students will receive a quality and versatile education that exceeds expectations!

International School of Music can help you find the best teacher for your child's music lessons

ISM Mission

The mission of the International School of Music is to provide a nurturing environment that allows students to develop and enhance their music skills to their greatest potential. We believe that an education in the arts is one of the most essential and enriching experiences a child, youth or adult can enjoy. The International School of Music is dedicated to providing students with an exceptional educational and artistic experience while fostering a lifelong appreciation of and commitment to excellence in music.

Bethesda students having fun in their piano lesson at International School of Music

ISM Programs

With a distinguished faculty of over 100 artist/teachers, the International School of Music provides students with a rich and varied music education experience. Private instruction is offered in piano, violin, viola, cello, voice, percussion/drums, flute, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, harp, guitar, bassoon, trumpet, euphonium/baritone, trombone, and tuba to students of all ages and levels. ISM’s musical training includes Classical, jazz, opera, musical theater, folk and popular music. The ISM student has the benefit of outstanding individual instruction, as well as the opportunity to perform in a variety of ensembles. We provide a music education that is warm and supportive yet disciplined. At the International School of Music we offer a carefully balanced program that will stimulate every aspect of your student’s musical development to achieve his or her personal best.

Voice Classes at International School of Music in Rockville and Chevy Chase

In the Community

Since 2004, the International School of Music has made music education, performances, and hands-on experiences available to thousands of children through our multi-faceted outreach program. These initiatives take the mission of the International School of Music beyond the walls of our classrooms and out into the community. Our hope is to improve student outcomes in both academic and artistic achievement. Our musicians and teachers work in depth with students, providing them with musical opportunities and performances to which they might not otherwise be exposed. Currently, International School of Music students perform off-site at neighborhood schools, preschools, youth centers, libraries, children’s hospitals, and senior centers in Montgomery County and Washington DC. ISM embraces the opportunity for collaboration with other organizations, and remains open to designing creative partnerships that further its mission to bring music to a broader audience within the community. For more information on how your organization can participate, please contact us at, or call 301-365-5888. We look forward to building a community of music with you!

It's easy to take the next step: Call us at 301-365-5888 and start Your Musical Journey Today!

Request Info
Request Info

“ISM was a very enjoyable experience for both me and my daughter. The classes are fun and she feels like she is actually learning, and her progress is very clear, especially in the recitals. The staff is friendly and helpful. Recommend!” —Alexandra M.

“Service is excellent! Our teacher, Miss Hannah is the best teacher ever in the world, Natalie and I do enjoy our lessons. She is very kind, nice, knows how to deal with kids, and is very professional. Thank you!” –Natalie A.

“We couldn’t be happier with our experience at the ISM. The front desk staff (Michelle and Erin) are knowledgeable, professional and always happy to assist the students and their families. My daughter’s teacher, Heidi is outstanding. She has been a source of inspiration and a resource for my daughter and our family!” –Margarita W.

“My daughter, Eleanor, takes harp lessons through ISM. We could not be more pleased with these lessons and with her teacher, Barbara! Barbara is a kind and thoughtful teacher who is dedicated to giving her students wonderful, meaningful lessons. We recommend Barbara and ISM to everyone who expresses any interest in musical instruction. Thanks for everything! –Cynthia P.

“Wonderful, talented teachers starting with my violin teacher SL, and extremely courteous and caring staff –MM, CS, ER, JR– with great sense of quality service to students.” –Bernard D.

“Chizara loves Ms. Sophie. She has truly made her enjoy playing the violin and built her confidence. We like the private instruction, which suits our daughter’s personality and she has really thrived in this environment.” –C.O.

“My weekly voice lesson is the best 1/2 hour of my week!” –Michael T.

“Anika has amazing teachers for voice and piano. They have inculcated confidence and live for music! So happy to have ISM close to our home.” –Sikka

“My teacher Matt has been one of the best teaching relationships I have ever had. He has taught me so much and I feel that he cares very much about me as a person. I have been lucky to have had him as a voice teacher.” –Colin M.

“Marc B. has been here for many years and we love so many things about ISM. We have really appreciated how carefully we are matched with new instructors. Eric, his teacher, has taken Marc to a very accomplished level because of allowing for Marc’s uniqueness. We really appreciate that. Specifically Marc plays classical rep. with some Jazz and popular. We also are glad that Eric is a good mentor for Marc as he gets ready for college and appreciate Eric’s  input in guiding us to appropriate programs. Finally — the front desk staff is very welcoming and kind to everyone. I will surely miss ISM when Marc graduates next year. I do recommend ISM to people and will continue to do so.” –Brown Family

“We absolutely love Antoś’ teacher — not only because we do, but above all because of how much Antoś enjoys having him as a teacher, how much he is learning, and how motivated the interaction with Stefan makes him.” –Wellisz Family

“Met the needs of both of kids – lessons were individualized to their learning style and desires. Very flexible with scheduling.  Good feedback at end of lessons. All around great experience!” –Sean L.

“Excellent service and outstanding teachers. Have been a happy and satisfied parent of a student for five years”. –Astor V.

“Sophie is an EXCELLENT violin instructor. She is patient and knows exactly how to impart complex concepts in fun and interesting ways. My daughter gets so much out of each lesson. Thank you.” –Cecily B.

“Hyojin and Diana are outstanding teachers. Both are warm and encouraging to my children, but also have noticeably improved their musical skills. The kids love their lessons and are learning so much!” –Ellis C.

“Mr.Dunkin is a wonderful and patient saxophone teacher. We are very pleased with ISM as a school and with their choice of having amazing intructors.” –Daviel D.

“Mathew is very good teacher with a lot of patience! Thanks!” –Francesca G.

“Mostly professional and very well run.” –Alison C.

“We really like the recitals. It is a great way to show how much progress has been made.” –Emilia L.

“Teachers are knowledgeable and friendly, both of my children are happy to go there.” –Ariela S.

“My son loves his instructor, Dr. Marino. He’s a patient teacher who gives great feedback and is very encouraging to a budding guitarist. The substitute instructors are also wonderful and knowledgeable. Thanks for having flexible make up sessions and a summer schedule for time away.” –Will E.

“We have had great experiences for both of our children who play different instruments.” –Philip M.

“Our two daughters piano teachers are fantastic!” –Elizabeth I.

“I was impressed by the customer service when I first got in touch.  I inquired at a few different places for voice lessons, and your staff was the most responsive and helpful. (Why I decided to take lessons with you!)  Randi is also awesome – she is calm and understanding of a person who has never taken singing lessons before, and she is very serious about ensuring I am able to learn songs I actually enjoy singing!” –Marie M.

“Both Randi and Meghan are great. So are the front desk staff! I recommend ISM all the time!” –Ellie R.

“We love our guitar teacher, Brendan. He does an excellent job of incorporating music theory and education into an enjoyable lesson and practice experience for my teenager.” –John S.

“Teaching is appropriate to the age and ability of my child; teacher is patient yet persistent. He encourages effort and attention, while accommodating lapses in attention.” –Felix R.

“Dimitri has been a great teacher and mentor to Conner.” –Conner O.

“Our lessons, particularly with Myles, have been great.” –Noemi Z.

“Love the school , administrators and teachers who are skilled and talented!” –Gabriel N.

“Both my instructors helped me do something I never thought I could do, perform live and enjoy it.” –Peter H.

“Both teachers were excellent! Louisa and Melinda helped improve our daughters’ technique and confidence.
The staff at ISM South were always flexible about schedule changes and great about reminders, and all the administrative chores.” –Kate M.

“The staff is professional, and really cares about the students. The communication is always good and personal. I love the teachers.” –Gabriel

“Great instruction at convenient times for affordable rates!” –Peter S.

“I find all the staff members very nice and charming. The whole experience is very good and I really enjoyed and did learn quite a lot from the lessons.” Betty Z.

“Roxanna loves her voice instructor, Randi. She enjoys her lessons so much that she is always surprised that the half hour goes by so quickly!” –Roxanna A.

“I love taking clases at ISM because all the staff is very kind, friendly and professional! James is the best saxophone teacher!!!” 😉              –Carol D.

“I look forward to coming to class every week because I learn so much from Miss Joelle. She very caring and motivates me well!!”            –Gabrielle K.

“We’ve had a wonderful experience with Dr.Brown. She provides a balance of challenge and excitement to her piano lessons to ensure the student continuously improves.” –Sophie B.

“Our daughter enjoy very much her violin lessons. Her teacher is great and explain everything in calm and understandable way. We’re very thankful.” –Aurora L.

“My daughters have been taking a piano class since 2015 with Ms. Woobin. Everything is going wonderfull so far . Thanks !” –Naz B.

“Great teacher, very organized systems, good follow up!” –Coby M.

“ISM has been great! It was so nice to call and receive an introductory piano lesson soon thereafter! Staff is very courteous as well.” Jack Z.

“Hanni is patient and fun. She encourages me and helps me become a better student. Thank you!” –Alexander S.

“My teacher is great and everyone is very nice and helpful.” –Melinda B.

“The teachers and front desk are very professional and give us warm feelings. Most important, my son enjoys the class every time and learnt a lot.” –Liam D.

“Eric is an amazing teacher who always thinks of new ways to help me understand theory and enjoy learning to play the piano.” –Sonja B.

“Wonderful teachers! They are knowledgeable in music and skilled at teaching. We have had two enthusiastic and motivating teachers in our years and ISM.” –William H.

“We love our instructor. I also like the numerous student recitals throughout the year.” –Matthew K.

“Excellent teachers and amazing front desk representatives!” –Mila N.

“Great lesson structure and personalized pace, great instructor.” –Lara D.

“Very flexible. Good quality teaching, friendly – easy. Recitals are low key and not threatening to students.” –Emma D.

“Both piano teachers for our children are excellent, and I also greatly appreciate the friendly staff at the front desk who is always willing to help when questions or scheduling issues come up. Thank you very much!” –Max P.

“Working with Lindsey is wonderful. The staff is always friendly and responsive.” -Spencer H.

“I am pleased with my teacher, and the pleasant atmosphere of our lessons. I have learned a lot, including some things I didn’t expect, 
such presentation while playing, especially when playing for others. Those things count, but I had never learned about them before.
Learning that has improved my confidence.” –Candace R.

“The front desk staff provides great customer service. The music teachers are amazing. They are great matches for my kids.”                     –Alexander M.

“As Gilang’s parents, we are pleased with the discipline and dedication he is given by his teacher Mr. Austin. We are happy with our choice of enrolling him in ISM.  Thank you for being good to Gilang.” — Arifin

“Great learning environment and amazing instructor.” Sarah J.

“Superior and caring teacher, who has given Gabriel great skills in such a short time.” –Cintron

“My son’s teacher is absolutely wonderful. She works him hard and understands exactly what he needs. The staff has been very helpful and warm.” –Judah L.

“I am so pleased to be taking piano lessons at the school. It is managed so well, and communication has been very easy and smooth, everyone in the front is very professional, nice, and friendly. I am so appreciative of my extremely talented and gifted teacher, Byonghee, and I am delighted with how much I am learning from her.” Lisa B.

“My daughter have taken lessons for 2 years and we absolutely love it and her Vioin teacher Kelly is amazing and patient!” –Skylar D.

“Nakia is fantastic. Not only does she know music she understands the moods of my son (First as pre-teen now teen). She helped him navigate the voice change beautifully.” –Thomas M.

“Alice is an amazing teacher, and has really helped my child develop quickly her musicianship skills. As a musician myself, I can attest
to the fact that the quality of her lessons far surpass other experiences, but this is due to exclusively to the quality of the teacher.”               –Rory L.

“Dr.Khill teaches my daughter piano lessons and is wonderful! She is encouraging, supportive, patient and kind.” –Cynthia A.

“Cecile is amazing. She is very good at balancing the kids interests with pop and classical music piece. She cares so deeply about her students!” –William K.

“The overall service at the school (scheduling, front desk) is always friendly and efficient. Kelly is a great violin teacher for kids, Striking a balance between teaching skills and keeping it fun.” –Emeline M.

“My teacher Eric is an excellent music teacher. I enrolled after I hadn’t played for over a year. I was very apprehensive ,but Eric made me feel at ease to play again. He has a great amount of patience and knowledge to impart. In the short time I’ve taken lessons, he has taught me so much.  He is always encouraging to me and guides me toward improving.” –Janine R.

“International School of Music has provided me with excellent service and my instructor is really nice. I receive lots of help making sure I play my  instrument properly and to the best of my ability. I have had a great experience!” –Claudia M.

“ISM got back to me very quickly when I requested lessons for my son last year. Our assigned teacher (Chelsea) is excellent! I am thrilled with the instruction that my son is receiving and better yet, he’s enjoying himself.” –Caleb O.

“The quality of the instruction from Kate W. has made my experience at ISM top-rate. I look forward to my lessons with her and am inspired to take what she teaches me and work on it at home.” –Ann M.

“We love Dr. Ahn. She teaches well, is very organized and makes opportunities for her students and keeps the parents informed.”              –Rohit D.

“Easy to schedule, great & high-quality instruction!” –Jane H.

“All my kids started and are still taking classes there because we see the progress they continuously make.” –Samuel G.

“Teacher Mathew has patience with kids, he’s funny and makes me easily understand the instructions.” –Ricardo B.