The С槼ֱ’s philosophy is that all who desire to study music or dance should have access to top-level instruction. Each year, more than 2,000 students from around the world come to Colburn to benefit from the renowned faculty, unparalleled facilities, and focus on excellence that unites the community.

Colburn traces its beginnings to a small preparatory school established by the University of Southern California in 1950 which offered piano lessons to school-aged children. In 1980, Richard D. Colburn’s California Foundation re-envisioned the school to further its efforts as an independent, not-for-profit institution. This created the Colburn Community School for Performing Arts, which ensured that children and adults throughout Los Angeles had an opportunity for exemplary performing arts education.

The Colburn Conservatory of Music was created in 2003 with a unique all-scholarship model, attracting the highest level of talent from around the world. Each student is admitted on the basis of talent and potential alone, and given full scholarship for tuition, room, and board. Conservatory students graduate debt-free and ready to embark on professional careers.

In 2008, Colburn added the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, a comprehensive dance program from beginning through pre-professional, including a Dance Academy that develops talented young dancers between the ages of 14 and 19 into professional dancers and artistic leaders. Two years later, the Colburn Music Academy was established as a highly selective training program for gifted young pre-collegiate musicians, designed to prepare students for conservatory study and performing careers at the highest levels of achievement.

To help prepare students for sustainable careers and nurture the passion and ability to serve their communities, the Center for Innovation and Community Impact was created in 2018. Serving all units of the School, the Center promotes creative thinking among musicians and dancers in a supportive environment that embraces the development of new ideas.