Education Through Music, Inc.

Education Through Music (ETM) was formed in 1991 with a mission to promote the use of music in inner-city schools and schools in disadvantaged areas, as a means of enhancing students' academic performance and general development. At ETM, we believe every child deserves a well-rounded education: one that includes music both as a subject in its own right and as a means of supporting learning in other areas. ETM makes music education a reality for thousands of children who would otherwise have limited or no exposure to the arts, uses music instruction to strengthen students' ability to learn in all areas, and works to build schools' capacity to sustain programs.
Jun 4, 2014

Music helps students shine on stage, and in the classroom and life

Pictured: First year partner students singing
Pictured: First year partner students singing

Thanks to your support, seven schools that just one year ago lacked comprehensive, school-wide music programs are today offering every student weekly music instruction. The change in these school environments is most palpable when the students take the stage, smiling with confidence, to perform in front of their family members and classmates at their spring concerts.  Last week’s concert at PS 175 provides a glimpse of what is happening in partner school communities around the city thanks to your involvement:

At PS 175, the Lynn Gross Discovery School, a first-year partner school in Queens, Principal Patricia Cooper welcomed parents, guardians and other family members who packed the school’s auditorium:

“Thank you so much for coming. I’m so fortunate to be the principal here and be able to bring in a variety of programs to our students…music being one. Music fills a void, a place of hunger and is vital just as breathing fresh air is to our children. This is our second concert of the year since introducing the music program. [ETM music teacher] Mr. Kanakaris, who came to us by way of Education Through Music, has been a phenomenal addition to our school. We are happy the music program has been received so well by the students.”

Part of building a brand-new music program also includes educating audience members so they understand how music fits into their child’s education and development. Before beginning the concert, Principal Cooper and Mr. Kanakaris also encouraged parents to cheer on their children, but refrain from causing distractions during the pieces. The goal of every concert is to ensure all students receive a full and positive experience, which enables them to feel proud of their accomplishments on stage. A part of this experience is being able to share their joy with their parents and peers.  Mr. Kanakaris promised parents an opportunity, after each grade’s section of songs, to take photos of their child on stage to capture the special occasion; an offer that parents proudly accepted.

Titled “Spring Memories,” the concert boasted a range of tunes—from patriotic pieces like “America, the Beautiful” to warm-weather numbers like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and nostalgic hits like “In My Life” and “Blue Skies.”

At the end of the performances, Mr. Kanakaris announced that PS 175 hopes to add an elective band program for 5th graders next year, following the model ETM has established in several other partner schools. When band is added as an elective, it has been shown, to reinforce general music class, support learning in other academic areas, and improve students’ self-confidence and sense of responsibility.  As PS 175 continues to incorporate music into its school community, we know that the benefits of music education will continue to unfold.

Success at PS 175, and our other first-year partner schools, is possible due to your support. Thanks for helping ETM get music into the hands of students throughout New York City!

Unfortunately, many more students lack music instruction than we currently serve. If you’d like to help us expand our programming to keep the music playing in these new partner schools and others, please consider forwarding this report and ETM’s information to a friend or colleague who might also provide support. 

Students singing confidently and proudly.
Students singing confidently and proudly.


May 15, 2014

Better Than I Already Am

Singers perform at the 2014 Children
Singers perform at the 2014 Children's Gala

“I feel a sense of accomplishment when a specific part of my music gives me trouble and I finally get it right…I am always learning and finding out new ways to be better than I already am…”     –Raven*, Partner School Student

We at ETM thank you so much for your past support! Throughout this school year, students like Raven have attended weekly music classes, and participated in holiday concerts and community performances, while receiving the quality music education they deserve. The ETM music teacher at P.S./M.S. 7, Jason Atkinson, for example, provides a glimpse of how the students have responded to the program you are supporting. He writes: 

It was Monday morning and a class of fourth graders passed by me, asking, “We’ve got you this Friday, right?” Later that afternoon I saw another student who beamed, “See you Friday!” even though it was only Monday. Though I liked to think of myself as a good teacher, I knew that it was not me they were looking forward to seeing; it was the drums.

When the drums arrived, all bright and decorated, I stacked them in the corner of my room like a tower of color. When they were passed out, the sound was powerful and cathartic, washing away the day to day stress of life in East Harlem.

The best part about the drums has been that everyone was starting from the same level, which has been a great equalizer for the students. This was, I imagined, a welcome break for people who have just moved here from foreign countries, like Celine* who just moved here from Mexico, and would not talk in class, or express her opinion. 

As we worked through drum grooves, I saw her confidence grow. She was counting out rhythms a little more assuredly and hitting the patterns with a little more confidence. We have repeated these patterns again and again, making sure everyone really gets their part and, as we say, “locks deeply into the groove” As I said goodbye to my students last week, Celine put her away her drum, and came up to me and said, “See you next Friday.”

This type of hands-on learning has allowed students to develop their music skills, self-esteem and confidence. Now that the school year is coming to a close, teachers and students are gearing up for their end-year concerts, and for our third annual ETM Festival, to be held at Marcus Garvey Park in June. Your support has made a positive difference in the lives of our students, and if you are ever interested in visiting a school, feel free to contact our office for further details.

Thank you again for helping our kids to become better students, musicians, and learners!

Our music programs are reaching over 15,000 students during the 2013-14 school year, with plans to expand to reach even more children this fall. Please consider sharing our program with a friend or colleague to ensure that NYC students can continue to have these rewarding experiences through music.  


*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the student


Band students showcase their skills
Band students showcase their skills
Students prepare to step on stage
Students prepare to step on stage
Jazz band students entertain the audience
Jazz band students entertain the audience


Mar 6, 2014

Gaining Confidence Through Songwriting

Students practice rhythms with hand bells.
Students practice rhythms with hand bells.

Dear Project Supporters:

          Students at our first-year partner schools are continuing to benefit from the materials and supplies funded by this project. With your help, music teachers can make their instruction more engaging and enriching for these students. ETM music teacher Erin Giacinto, at PS 42 in the Bronx, provides a glimpse of the wonderful things the students are doing thanks to your support. She writes:

          “Students in the 4th and 5th grade have recently started an anti-bullying program. We were spending a lot of time in the classroom working on chord progressions and playing accompaniments on classroom instruments…Some of the students got together during their recess time and began writing their own song, based off of what we had learned in music, about the harmful effects of bullying. [They] wrote their own original lyrics [to] a popular song using the chords that we learned.”

          The students went on to perform their original composition for Ms. Giacinto, and then the entire school during a morning student meeting. “The confidence that the students built just by knowing that they [wrote]… their own music”, Erin says, “and the courage it took to perform it in front of the whole school, made a big difference for some of the students in the group who are affected by bullying. I have seen these students grow so much from the confidence of being an independent musician.”

          Your support is making a lasting difference in the lives of all of our students. In addition to the 4th and 5th graders described by Ms. Giacinto, our younger students have also been enjoying their new music instruction. The ones pictured above are using some of their new classroom instruments as they prepare for their school’s winter concert. 

          Success at P.S. 42 and other first-year partner schools has been possible with your support. Yet, there are more students and schools we hope to reach. Won't you consider forwarding our project to a friend or colleague who you think might be interested in donating? Your support is greatly appreciated!

With sincere thanks,

The ETM Staff 

A student describes the joy of performing.
A student describes the joy of performing.


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