Give In-School Music Classes to Los Angeles Youth

by Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA, Inc.)
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Sunny is all smiles after a violin performance!
Sunny is all smiles after a violin performance!

In our 10th anniversary year, thanks to your support, Education Through Music-Los Angeles was able to reach over 10,000 students with weekly, yearlong music education as part of the core curriculum. The music programs at our Los Angeles partner schools this school year generated positive outcomes for children and school communities. 

Now entering the 9th grade, Sunny was just a 2nd grader when we first met her at our Partner School, Castelar Elementary. We recently caught up with Sunny as an alumna of our programs, and are excited to share through hers and her Grandma’s eyes how music has changed her life. 

Her Grandma’s initial reaction to Sunny’s interest in playing an instrument six years ago was - “tremendously shocked.” There was musical history within the family. However, it had not been handed down to Sunny, or so they thought. Sunny’s first interest came when she was introduced to the violin. She quickly excelled with her raw talent, hard work and guidance. “Sunny improved not only in her grades but as well in her ability to communicate. With her ability to be able to play music she began to improve on her speaking grammatically correct, an improvement in listening, and being able to have more focus when it came to class and homework.” In addition, Sunny’s Grandma stated that she “advanced to the top through music.” She is able to feel “capable” of handling any challenge that is thrown at her.

From her own words, Sunny articulates, “Playing the violin has opened up new horizons for me and given me the opportunity to meet and experience many different cultures from all backgrounds. One thing that I really love about playing the violin is how students unite together through the sound of music. When I am missing my parents I turn to music and prayer. I truly feel that music is the bridge to stop war and hate among all people and bring peace and joy to the world.” “Music is healing,” says Sunny’s Grandma, “and brings people together, unites them, and forms a sense of connectedness.”

We are thrilled Sunny has been accepted to a top arts magnet high school in Los Angeles, and will continue to pursue her dream of being a lawyer and violinist! 

Furthermore, school communities have responded to the impact of music education: Parents, teachers, and principals observed that music contributed to overall improvements in students' ability to think outside the box, stay motivated in school, self-confidence and self-esteem, and ability to pay attention and focus (Community Partnership Survey 2016). When asked on a survey, “Do you think music education is important for the school and community?” -100% of surveyed parents replied, “Yes.”

Thank you for your continued partnership to create lasting change and impact for students like Sunny so they may have equal opportunities for a successful future!

A Look Back at Sunny
A Look Back at Sunny's 5th Grade Graduation
ETM-LA Partners Up with LAUSD for a Music Festival
ETM-LA Partners Up with LAUSD for a Music Festival

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Candace proudly smiles after a performance (2016)
Candace proudly smiles after a performance (2016)

Jennifer, mother of Candace, has seen the important role music plays in her daughter’s life. “Music has enhanced Candace’s life and has helped her in math and reading. She loves to sing and gets involved in music as much as possible,” shares Jennifer. For Candace, music has become an essential part of her life. “I love music class because we get to participate in a lot of different things; we play instruments and sing songs,” shares Candace.

This year, Education Through Music-LA provides Candace with weekly, yearlong music education at Cleveland Elementary School in Pasadena. Through her hard work, she was chosen to sing solos to “Glory” from the Motion Picture, Selma – for which artists John Legend and Common won Academy and Golden Globe Awards. When speaking about music, Candace relays her joy for singing, along with music’s tremendous power and impact: “We are united by the beat we hear and the rhythm we sing…It unites us with hope, joy, courage, and good will.”

“We have to find a way to continue music education.  She will miss Cleveland Elementary and ETM-LA when she leaves 5th grade.  We don’t want it to stop,” says her mother.

Thank you for helping us bring music education to Candace and approximately 10,000 disadvantaged children in 20 schools across Los Angeles in our 10th year of programming. Music has transformed our school communities. Thank you for making this change possible.

Teachers also see the impact of music, with 100% of classroom teachers recognizing that music is a vital part of the curriculum and 94% observing that music supported overall improvements in students’ self-confidence and self-esteem (Partnership Survey 2015).

Yet, there are still hundreds of thousands of children not receiving comprehensive music education in Los Angeles County alone.

With your partnership, we can continue to change the tide and provide hope and joy to children like Candace, who hopes to be a scientist or musician when she grows up. With quality music education in school, we believe Candace will have an equal opportunity to achieve her dreams. 

Candace Performs Glory (Selma) at the Skirball
Candace Performs Glory (Selma) at the Skirball
Students from across LA are united through music
Students from across LA are united through music

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ETM-LA Music Students
ETM-LA Music Students

Education Through Music-Los Angeles culminated another successful year in December through a whirlwind of winter concerts and special performances that recognized holidays from around the world.

On December 6th, ETM-LA celebrated 10 years of quality music education at its Benefit Gala, which featured beautiful performances by our strings, band and vocal students and such artists as En Vogue, Michelle Branch, Eric McCormack (Will and Grace), John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Our students performed the Academy Award® and Golden Globe-winning song "Glory" from Selma. "It was such an honor to have the children perform 'Glory,' along with Bob Marley's 'One Love,'" said Common, who gave the students a standing ovation.

When asked what it felt like to sing “Glory,” 8th grade student Gabriel shared, “Powerful. Like you just got through something hard.” Our students will remember performing at the gala as one of their forever memories, and we thank you for making this moment possible!

While students were on winter break, music teachers participated in rigorous training sessions that shared effective teaching pedagogies for ukelele, recorder, strings, and band instruments. In breakout sessions, music teachers discussed ways to improve student engagement. Field Supervisors Alex Collie-Hartmann and Irene Navarro presented best practices for classroom management and curriculum mapping. They shared how clarifying goals and expectations helped to create a vibrant environment for learning.  “The whole experience was a good model for us to apply to our own teaching style,” shares a music teacher.

Principals and leaders from partner schools also gathered at the ETM-LA headquarters to discuss ways to advocate effectively for music education.  Rio Vista Elementary School Principal Sadaqatmal and PTA President Melissa Lynch shared how open communication with parents was a valuable component of building a strong, sustainable music program.

We are thrilled to announce that we will be beginning two new partnerships with McKinley Elementary School in Compton and Normandie Elementary School in South Central LA – bringing our services to approximately 10,000 this year.  These partnerships are possible because of your incredible support, and we thank you for helping us come one step closer to bringing music education to every child in Los Angeles.  We are making systemic progress in Los Angeles County schools, and thank you for making this change possible!

ETM-LA Music Students Perform "Glory"
ETM-LA Music Students Perform "Glory"
Paramount
Paramount's Randy Spendlove Visits Rio Vista Elem.

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Mario, Student at partner Guardian Angel School
Mario, Student at partner Guardian Angel School

Education Through Music-Los Angeles kicked off its 10th year of providing quality music education in schools by adding new partner schools, offering professional development workshops, and presenting community events in our new office space.

Through your support, ETM-LA will serve a planned 20 schools and approximately 10,000 children this school year. We will be expanding our programs in the Burbank, Compton, Pasadena, and LA Unified School Districts, as well as parochial schools across LA County. Among the new schools, we began music programming at Hooper Avenue Elementary, a low-income South LA school in which approximately 96% of 975 students qualify for Free/Reduced Price Lunch. We will also be partnering with McKinley Elementary, a Compton school that is in critical need of a music program. Every child in our partner schools will receive comprehensive music instruction because of your incredible support.

The fall has also brought wonderful community events and learning opportunities in ETM-LA’s new office space.  Students and community members attended a special meet and greet with composer Patrick Doyle (Cinderella, Brave, Sense and Sensibility). Mr. Doyle played memorable excerpts of his work on the piano, and took students on a journey behind the music of Cinderella through a lively Q & A.  Music teachers also participated in the August professional development workshops at the new office space, and began utilizing the brand new Resource Library to plan lessons for the fall.

Music is changing the lives of students, and motivating them to go to school. Cynthia, a parent of music student Mario shares, “I have seen music impact my child by way of personality, opening up to others, being able to express emotions, participating in school, and having the confidence to answer questions.” Mario is one of 10,000 children who we will be serving this school year, and we are so grateful for your support during this stage of major program expansion. We would love to hear from you on how we can make the greatest impact in serving school communities with the greatest need. 

Thank you for joining our mission and providing children with hope for a brighter future through music education!

Music Teachers Participate in Training
Music Teachers Participate in Training
ETM-LA Students
ETM-LA Students
Music Teachers Participate in Training
Music Teachers Participate in Training

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String Students Perform on July 27th
String Students Perform on July 27th

Our summer at Education Through Music-Los Angeles has been a time of community building and cool concerts! 

Through your support, ETM-LA Music Teacher Christa Camilleri began teaching two years ago at partner school KIPP Iluminar in East Los Angeles. The music program has helped build a vibrant school community – one in which students have gained life skills such as cooperation and being good listeners. “Music education has helped my students become more aware of their surroundings,” shares Camilleri. We are thrilled to see KIPP Iluminar’s school-wide program flourish, so much so that they are able to sustain their program through hiring Camilleri on full-time onto their staff. “Besides reaching underserved populations of students who may not have access to music education, ETM-LA provides quality professional development for teachers and enables them to grow as well.  I am a better teacher now because of my involvement with ETM-LA,” said Camilleri. 

The summer also brought a splash of cool concerts which included a special performance on July 27th featuring ETM-LA violin and cello students from Providencia Elementary, other young accomplished artists and Los Angeles Philharmonic Concertmaster Martin Chalifour. Chalifour, who has held his role as Concertmaster for 20 years, performed two movements from the popular Bach Partita for Violin No.3. Typically only being able to see him from afar at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the audience cherished the experience of hearing him up close at the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank. Teenager Maya Paredes, a talented pianist and cellist, both produced and performed at the concert.  She had mentored the Providencia Elementary students this past year and wanted to support ETM-LA in some way. “I have seen first hand the work Education Through Music – LA does in our local schools and wanted to encourage people to donate and help support music education in public schools.” 

This coming school year we plan to expand our reach from 16 to 20 schools serving approximately 10,000 children. We’d love to hear from you on how we can make the greatest impact in serving school communities with the greatest need. 

Thank you for joining our mission and providing children with hope for a brighter future through music education!

Students perform at a Compton School Board mtg
Students perform at a Compton School Board mtg
LA Phil Concertmaster Martin Chalifour Performs
LA Phil Concertmaster Martin Chalifour Performs

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Organization Information

Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA, Inc.)

Location: Burbank, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.etmla.org
Project Leader:
Victoria Lanier
Executive Director
Burbank, CA United States

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