Music for Minors: Educating elementary schoolers through hands-on participation

Courtesy of Music For Minors
Founded in Los Altos more than 40 years ago, the nonprofit Music for Minors trains docents to teach music education in local schools. Representatives estimate that educators are teaching in more than 900 classrooms every week.

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

• 2019 update: Music for Minors provides a foundational music education program for 25,000 students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade throughout the Bay Area. The organization’s educators are teaching in more than 900 classrooms every week – in 70 schools in 14 school districts.

The unique Music for Minors curriculum integrates state and national standards and offers a culturally diverse repertoire of songs and activities in 30-minute sessions.

Each class encompasses a variety of experiences through hands-on participation in singing, movement, theory, dance, musical games and the use of rhythm instruments. The recorder is introduced in third grade.

Music for Minors is providing a fifth-grade instrumental music program in partnership with the San Mateo-Foster City School District that reaches 1,200 students with instruction in choir, flute, violin, trumpet and clarinet. 

This year’s theme, “Growing Our Lives Through Music,” celebrates the lifelong impact of music promoting healthy, successful individuals and communities. Music education has been documented to boost academic achievement and foster 21st-century workforce skills. Specifically, it improves language, reasoning and listening skills; engenders teamwork; develops discipline and a sense of accomplishment; encourages respect for diversity; and promotes creativity and self-expression.

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: Music for Minors relies on donations and partnerships to fulfill its mission. Support from individual and institutional donors helps fund all programs and extend music education to socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. With 50 percent of its service devoted to under-resourced schools, Music for Minors aims to level the playing field for children from low-income families who have little to no access to music outside of school.

Music for Minors

Location: 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 10, San Carlos

Founded: 1976

Annual budget: $1.8 million

Staff: Management team of 10; 50 part-time music educators


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