NCMC was founded in 1986 by Bill Feinstein in cooperation with a small group of parents concerned by the passage of Proposition 2 1⁄2 which dismantled many of the music education programs in Northampton’s public schools.

After eleven years of operating out of limited, temporary spaces, NCMC finally moved into a home of its own – the historic South Street School building – in 1997, which it currently leases from the City of Northampton. A two-phase capital campaign paid for renovations to the first and second floors of the building, for which NCMC received a Historic Preservation Award from the Northampton Historical Commission in 1999. In 2012, a third capital campaign completed renovations to its lower level, offering in total 14 teaching studios, 2 recital halls, a music library and a recording studio.

NCMC has in a very short period of time grown into a vital cultural resource for Western Massachusetts, employing more than 50 professional faculty members and providing music lessons and classes to more than 800 students annually.