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A musical knowledge-sharing community...

What is the GSBTB - Open Music School?

The GSBTB - Open Music School is a 100% free, volunteer-powered, knowledge-sharing community with a focus on the inclusion and empowerment of new migrants, marginalised people and those seeking a positive social network in Berlin. We create spaces that are open to anyone, in which participants can develop real relationships that break isolation, cross cultures, encourage self-expression and inspire community engagement. We see the person for who they are: an individual with endless potential if given equal opportunities. 

Are the music lessons really free?

Yes, to ensure that they are accessible to everyone, all of our events are FREE and always will be. This is possible due to our teachers being talented volunteers. They share their time, expertise and passion for many different reasons, but all of our teachers are aware of the personal and social benefits of playing music with others and want to share that. A spirit of equity and solidarity runs through everything we do. We believe that music tuition should not only be available for people who can afford it. Whether learning or teaching, the Open Music School is the first step into Berlin’s musical landscape for a lot of newcomers. If you want to know more about learning or teaching, check out our contact page


Is the Open Music School for me?


Yes, it is. While we do focus on the inclusion and support of refugees, people with difficult migrational backgrounds and other marginalised groups, the Open Music School is for everyone. We recognise that there are few places in modern society where people can go, at no cost at all, to meet and get to know people of many different cultural backgrounds. Many people come to the Open Music School to learn an instrument, but stay because they make friends and enjoy being part of this community. 


What does GSBTB mean?


Give Something Back To Berlin is an award-winning social engagement NGO. It works hard to connect interesting, friendly and talented people with meaningful and sustainable volunteering opportunities in Berlin. The Open Music School is one of it's internal projects.

How does it actually work?

Every week we offer a variety of completely free classes, workshops and social groups (guitar, piano, bass, drums, singing, electronic music production, etc.) run by active and passionate musicians. These groups focus on providing supportive and creative environments for people of any gender, nationality, ethnicity or migrational status to learn together. Although there is structure to these groups, there is very little hierarchy. Participants who are more musically advanced are often encouraged to act as helpers and/or translators, thus creating a skill-sharing group where everyone has something to offer. 

We also organise concerts, parties and other events. Our "New City Sounds" concert series promotes musicians from often under represented communities to attentive audiences in Berlin. The musicians performing at our events reflect the cultural and gender make up of the audience. We strive to break down the barriers to performance opportunities and level the playing field for all musicians who call Berlin home.

The OMS is more than just a music school. It is more than a "Refugees Welcome" sticker on the wall. It is a community of people working together, on a grass-roots level, to welcome newcomers and contribute to their community in a meaningful way. It is a place where people meet new friends, build networks and discover their own creativity.

Participants in the Open Music School standing together
Six people singing in a group, smiling
Working with music production software
People playing the piano
Three people gathered around the same piano
A teacher and students at a piano
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