Open Music School


The Open Music School is a musical skill-sharing community with a focus on the integration of less-privileged newcomers into Berlin’s diverse and world famous music scene.

We believe in the power of music to create meaningful relationships that cross cultures, while encouraging healing, self-expression and community engagement. We don’t believe that learning a musical instrument is only for those who can afford private tuition, or that performance opportunities should only exist for those who know the “right people”. We see value in every individual as part of our community, and if music is something they wish to pursue, we want to encourage that… And making music together is simply fun!

How does it work?

1. Music Tuition

We offer a variety of completely free, weekly group classes run by talented volunteers who are musicians themselves. These groups focus on providing supportive and creative environments for people of any gender, nationality, ethnicity or migrational status to learn together. More advanced students are often encouraged to act as teachers’ aids and/or translators, thus creating a communal skill-sharing group free from hierarchy, where everyone has something to offer.

We currently run groups and workshops in Acoustic Guitar, Piano Keyboard, Bass-Guitar, Social Singing and Open Music Lab (all things electronic), and this list grows every month.

Our offering of music classes are open to all:

  • Guitar on Monday evenings at 19:00 at Sharehaus Refugio, Lenaustrasse 4
  • Piano/Keyboard classes on Tuesdays at 18:30 and 20:00, Sharehaus Refugio, Lenaustrasse 4
  • Bass Guitar on Wednesdays at 19:00, Sharehaus Refugio, Lenaustrasse 4
  • Social Singing on Tuesdays at 19:00, Solinar, Hertzbergstraße 1
  • Open Music Lab (electronic music workshops), Mondays at 17:30, Donaustrasse 115

All classes are taught by volunteers and are ALWAYS FREE.

2. Meet-Ups for Musicians

In addition to these weekly classes, we also work in collaboration with other initiatives from the music industry and civil society to organize events and concerts. We seek to create opportunities that focus on people forging new connections and sharing information about all things musical in Berlin. There are a lot of talented musicians living in refugee camps and other isolated parts of this city and we want to empower them to become active participants in this city’s music scene. A regular meet-up called The Tent was founded in collaboration with Syrian musician, Nabil Arbaain, and CreAid. This happens at  different locations across the city (such as the Klingendes Museum in Wedding and Noize Fabrik in Alt-Treptow) to support newcomer musicians in accessing Berlin’s multi-layered cultural scene.

3. Open Music Platform & Band Support

Over the last 4 years we have met and supported many newcomer musicians from the refugee community. Among the many individual musicians we have supported in their professional development in Berlin, we have collaborated and supported the bands Lomnava – Refugees & Friends, Wulaba – Refugees Voice as well as recent groups such as GRV – Global Refugee Voice and 143 Band. We continue to connect musicians from all over the world to each other and make it our priority to connect them to mainstream industry opportunities such as concerts and gigs as well as professional development. Last year many newcomer musicians from our network played at the Eastside Music Days Festival, Popraci Festival Rixdorf, Sommer für Alle Festival Neukölln as well as countless smaller gigs across the city and at our GSBTB events.

4. Advocacy

We are creating a database of recording studios, music venues, professional music schools, private tutors, youth centres and other people and organisations that we can collaborate with to empower Berlin’s musical newcomer community. We want to be ready and able to advocate for individuals with anything music-related as quickly and effectively as possible. Through our work and by connecting and partnering with industry organisations such as the Berlin Music Commission, CreAid and venues such as Klunkerkranich we facilitate the information flow and exchange between newcomer musicians and the Berlin music scene.

5. Workshops

Our ever-growing Open Music School network has helped us to understand that there is a further need for specific one-off and on-going workshops on a number of niche topics. In the future these will include hip-hop and rap workshops where newcomer artists can connect with established Berlin artists for advice and skill-sharing. Other topics such as how to find jobs within the music industry, funding, more music genres and technical specialties will follow as we listen and develop along with our community.

How do I become part of this project?

Become a teacher!
We are always looking for friendly, passionate and patient people who have a reasonably good understanding of their instrument to join our pool of teachers. You do NOT have to be an expert or have years of teaching experience. Contact Tom Young.

Sign up as a student!
EVERYONE is welcome to join our classes. We have people from so many nationalities and cultural backgrounds sharing and learning with us. Its really a beautiful thing. If you are shy, you don’t have to speak. If you are looking for new friends, you might find them here! Our classes are relaxed, social, and a safe place for all. Contact Tom Young.

Donate instruments!
The GSBTB – Open Music School could not have begun without generous donations of instruments from some awesome people. We are constantly growing and changing to meet the needs of our community and instrument donations help us to offer free tuition to more and more people.
NOTE: We are currently in need of old Laptop Computers for our Open Music Lab! Any condition considered.

 Tom Young
Or send/drop off donations to:
Give Something Back To Berlin e.V.
Lenaustraße 4,
12047 Berlin

Read more about some of our music projects:

An interview with Ben and Rachel, who run the Open Music Lab

GSBTB Open Music School puts on its first Student Performance Night

GSBTB meets Fête de la Musique 2017

GSBTB Open Music School hosts the Yale Spizzwinks 

A huge thank you to our Partner and Supporter Anschutz Hilft e.V.

Thanks to Allianz Kulturstiftung for the support in 2016!

Thanks for the support Creaid!

Thanks for the support East Side Music Days!