Los Altos-founded Music for Minors: Bringing harmony to elementary schools

Courtesy of Music For Minors
Music for Minors docent Lydia Ruiz, above, leads a music class.

• Mission: Music for Minors aims to nurture in children a lifelong love of music by providing music education programs in elementary schools.

• 2018 update: Founded in 1976 in Los Altos, Music for Minors was originally a stop-gap solution when public funding for in-school music programs was cut in California. More than 40 years later, the nonprofit organization continues to fill the growing need for quality foundational music education throughout Silicon Valley. Each week, Music for Minors teaches more than 25,000 transitional kindergarten through sixth-grade students in an estimated 900 classrooms in 68 schools in 13 districts.

Nearly 50 percent of the students attend underserved, disadvantaged schools.

New developments include a full redesign of the Music for Minors’ music curriculum (in progress) that draws the best from a range of pedagogies and approaches, and embraces the global community. Local students are growing up in a diverse environment, and the new curriculum incorporates extensive learning about other countries, cultures and languages.

Music for Minors also is updating its curriculum content delivery systems, creating complete digital accessibility for its music teachers and, longer-term, for all participating students.

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: Music for Minors relies on support and partnerships to put music into classrooms. Holiday Fund donations help close the gap between the real cost of a music program and what the schools can afford. The support specifically allows the organizations to refine and further develop the teaching content of its programs, obtain and upgrade musical resources (percussion instruments, visual aids, recorders, etc.) and recruit, train and retain outstanding music educators.

“Year after year, the investment from the Town Crier Holiday Fund and the generosity of the Los Altos community support our ability to deepen the educational impact of music in substantial ways and in the lives of an ever-expanding community reach,” said Sonja Wohlgemuth, Music for Minors executive director.

Music for Minors

Location: 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 10, San Carlos

Founded: 1976

Annual budget: $1.5 million

Staff: 2 full-time and 8 part-time employees; 65 music teachers


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