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Rating: 5 stars   2 reviews 1,538


582 Market Street Suite 213 San Francisco CA 94104 USA


Music in Schools Today is a non-profit organization that supports and develops music education programs that increase student achievement. Music nurtures the human spirit, promotes personal development, and is central to learning and the creative process. Music and the arts are as essential to a well-rounded education as literacy, math and science. Music, both in and out of the classroom, promotes physical well-being and social understanding and helps build bridges within local and global communities. ​In 1980, the San Francisco Board of Education was planning to eliminate the elementary school music program. Several concerned citizens, including music critic Robert Commanday, approached Sir Yehudi Menuhin and members of the San Francisco Symphony to make a presentation to the Board. After Sir Menuhin’s inspired address, the Board gave a standing ovation and restored the music budget. San Francisco Instrumental and Theatrical for Youth Fund was formed by members of the original coalition shortly thereafter, including founding President Alden Gilchrist, Louise McTernan and Joan Murray. In 1983, we began funding choral programs in the San Francisco public schools. ​In 1989, we changed our name to Music in Schools Today (MUST) and began supporting music programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, including establishing and supporting many choral, instrumental and comprehensive arts programs. MUST responded to changing school needs by increasing in-school artist programs to reach 21,000 children and youth annu​ally throughout the Bay Area, developing instrumental music, opera, theater and visual arts programs and returning to our original role in advocacy. In response to requests from teachers and parents, MUST is currently developing multicultural and ecological curricula that tie music and arts into other core school subjects like social studies and science, and is establishing programs that are national in scope. ​MUST champions arts education as a rich source of creativity, self-discipline and cooperation for America’s children and youth. MUST has enlisted enthusiastic supporters in the arts, business, education, government and the media to guarantee that some day every child will receive a meaningful arts education.

Target demographics:

improve education through music. We build long-term relationships with districts and schools serving low-income children, connecting them to community resources. We bring children the joys of music making, offering substantial teacher and artist training in curriculum integration, hand-tailoring programs to school needs, reaching over 28,000 pre-K 12 Bay Area children and youth annually.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

28,000 students and raised over $1 million in instrument donations

Geographic areas served:

Financial District, San Francisco


Music Enrichment music classes help at-risk youth improve school performance and build life skills. Our most popular program provides hand-tailored music classes to schools and community centers. Our trained Teaching Artists can teach during the school day or as part of an after-school program: Groove Lab, Drumming, Glee Club, Chorus, Hip Hop Dance, Salsa Dance, Beat Boxing and Hip Hop Music, Theater, Orff and Murals and visual Arts. Currently serving individual Bay Area sites, music enrichment is available to requesting districts, schools and community centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. MUST offers teacher training and free consulting to help teachers place music in the core curriculum and to help schools start new programs that are resistant to budget cutbacks and to enrich schools with new and reinvigorated music and arts programs. Workshops and training help classroom teachers implement the new Science and Core Curriculum Standards. Most teachers have never been taught how to integrate curriculum-we show them how! We offer professional development workshops as well as year-long programming during which teachers explore music’s connection to cultures, science, math and language. Our Music Integration experts provide one-on-one trianing and support in the classroom for teachers. Currently serving the districts of San Francisco through TEAM (TEAching through Music) and Oakland through Jazzocracy, music integration is available to requesting districts and schools in San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Adopt an Instrument is the original, year-round instrument donation program. This widely emulated recycling program provides roughly $1 million worth of instruments to Bay Area schools and community centers annually. Our Music First! Residency is designed as a music integration curriculum that teaches toddlers and young children in grades Pre-K through second grade. We offer language acquisition and literacy skills through the lens of music education. Music First! enhances school readiness skills, such as social and emotional development, problem solving and the ability to work independently and with others.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Just wanted to share and say what a wonderful experience I had working with MUST. The staff was incredibly attentive to our After School Program's needs, and selected a music teacher that was a wonderful match for our community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the fun the children have in the music class

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not make any changes.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

MUST programs, designed for tough times, are extremely cost-effective, as we constantly weight cost-of-service against impact. We emphasize teacher training as well as providing teaching artists, and we avoid “break-out” classes, which can be more easily cut than programs that are integrated into the school curriculum.

We teach teachers how to integrate music into all subjects through basic musical concepts like rhythm and melody, and how to use simple rhythm instruments. Then we help them to make the connections between music and other curricula. For instance, we teach children songs about ecology, to observe in a garden setting and to set their observations to music.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in turning around the lives of at-risk children and youth. The Achieving Through Music program combines discipline with opportunities to cooperate, lead and teach, so students build self-confidence and life skills while improving attendance, grade point average, and avoiding violence.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it available nationally. One of the wonderful things about this time is the rise of electronic communication, making it possible to teach from a distance, and to involve constituents in advocating for music education at local, state and national levels.

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