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Musical Arts Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Music

Mission: MAI is a nonprofit, 501 c 3, community-minded organization, that assists local schools and other community organizations with goal of providing exceptional music instruction. Through our extensive outreach program, we provide performance opportunities to students to engage in intensified music studies. MAI is located on the south side of Chicago where music lessons are unavailable or unaffordable.

Target demographics: students discover their self expression through the power and disipline of music

Direct beneficiaries per year: 430 students.

Geographic areas served: The South Side Of Chicago

Programs: Private one on one instruction in all instruments and voice. Group instruction in piano and guitar. We also offer a school Orchestra, Jazz combo, Choir and Drum Line (marching percussion ensemble).

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute is a premier music arts program, specializing in providimg expert and professional music instruction and training to students who would otherwise be unable to get this rhpe of trainimg in all forms of music expression, particularly to classical and jazz music. Its instructors are some of the best in the city, who give extensive and in depth trainimg to each student. Mike and Lana Manson have established this school as the place to go to for launching students into successful careers in the arts.

They insist on excellence and demand of each student, their best. Students ger to travel and compete in various competitions and the country, performing at some of the toughest places to play and sing. This school shows to young African American music students, what's possible and that their dreams of becoming successful, professional musicians can be more than just dreams.

I applaud every effort they give to making students top notch performers and educators

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute (MAI) is a great music school. It provides intensive private and group music training to underprivileged youth and adults in a positive learning environment. Over the past several years, MAI has grown their community engagement efforts to include a number of dedicated school outreach programs.
MAI students and music ensembles have many opportunities to perform in recitals as well as at schools, libraries, churches, senior centers, and other venues throughout the Chicagoland area. Their instructors are all university trained and/or have 15 years or more of performance experience. I highly recommend Musical Arts Institute to those who love music and are dedicated to learning.

Neila A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've seen the faces of our children shine. Their spirits have been uplifted and confidence levels have raised considerably. MAI's directors have given of themselves unselfishly. I am encouraged to promote this organization because I see the positive change in the students they serve.

Patricia S.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute does an exceptional job for youth and adults interested in the performing arts. Not only do they offer a diverse mix of instruction on instruments and vocally but also real performance opportunities. It’s a wonderful organization to be a part of and to support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love the experience of lwarning with others and having a great instructor, Michael Manson, to guide me along the way.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Musical Arts Institute has been a blessing! When my grandson entered high school two years ago, his misic class was the introduction of his first hands on experience with musical instruments. He chose the violin but his class was not enough. He really wanted to play the violin. I searched websites and asked friends about where he could take violin lessons. The Musical Arts Institute came highly recommended and I could not be more pleased. I am amazed at his progress since being a student at MAI. He has had excellent instruction and scheduling of sessions, particularly make up sessions, are accommodating. Individual instruction is awesome, but being able to participate in the ensemble on Sunday evenings is priceless. At MAI you walk into an atmosphere of professionalism, calm, and a since of belonging. If you desire to learn how to play an instrument or develop your voice to become the vocalist you image. I recommend the Musical Arts Institute.
Karen Green

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This has been a wonderful experience for my daughter to be apart of. She has always had a love of playing the violin but playing with this elite group has tripled her enjoyment. The dynamics of instruction and talent combined is phenomenal! This organization has been a blessing to be a part of in addition to the wonderful sounds they produce.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined MAI about a year and a half ago, and I have to say this has been the best musical experience I have ever had. Before MAI I had never played a musical instrument. Now I am progressing in my music and becoming better and better as the days go by. None of this would’ve happened without MAI. The instructions at MAI are amazing, and really pushes MAI students to make the best out of their music.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Musical Arts Institute -
Michael and Lana Manson, have successfully created the right formula, to address inner-city youth issues, here in Chicago. The experience of a musical education, helps students to better prepare for college! In fact many students, have chosen other professions, as other career choices of interest, after entering into college. However, this option is provided by way of the motivated efforts of the Musical Arts Institute experience. With precision focus, a musical education, has a proven pathway in helping to guide our missed guided, and under-educated youth of today! These students, who are engaged in music, are well motivated and prepared through the Musical Arts Institute, holistic experience.
Last, The Musical Arts Institute, can not do this alone.
We need, Sustainability, Partnerships, and Corporate, entities, to continue our successful mission, in helping our inner-city youth, to become great agents of change...
Erick Nickerson -

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute is doing great things for youth in and around the communities of Chicago. I have two children that are currently enrolled and they love it. The teachers are very knowledgeable, always professional, and very compassionate toward not only my children but every student that comes through the door. Thank you MAI!!!!!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have two children that currently take lessons at the Musical Arts Institute. The have been enrolled for three years and have benefited tremendously from the instruction they are receiving. I love the instructors and the relationships they have formed with their teachers, staff, as well as their peers. I highly recommend MAI. The experience has been most enjoyable and opened up wonderful opportunities for our youth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been studying as a violinist at the Musical Art Institute for 6 years and I have grown so much as a artist and person since studying there. The attention and instruction I have received as a student has been extremely helpful and meaningful.

Client Served

Rating: 4

I've taken been apart of Musical Arts Institute for about 3 years and it has been a great way to build upon and refine my musical skills. The string ensemble is one of the best black youth chamber groups in Chicago and I'm glad to be apart of it. The teachers here are great and very inspiring. This school certainly is up there rank wise in terms of music schools in Chicago.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute has been a great help to me. I have met some of my best friends here and played music with them around the city of Chicago. It has helped me with my life goal of becoming a great musician that travels around the world. Without this school, I would not be the musician that I am today. Musical Arts Institute will always hold a special place in my heart.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been taking piano lesson for five years. It's been a great experience working with the Musical Arts Institute. All the instructors are very knowledgeable in their field and supportive to the students. I recommend the school for anyone interested in learning any musical instrument.

Client Served

Rating: 5


The arts play such an important role in the development of our children--their thinking, problem solving, self esteem and even the way they present themselves to the world. Unfortunately, because it is so misunderstood, the arts are also one of the first things to be cut from our schools' curriculum.
The Musical Arts Institute has brought not only an otherwise missing art form to our children, but instills the importance of excellence that translates into all the other areas of their lives--I've seen it in my own child! MAI is a jewel in our community. I hope that they will be here to enrich our children for many years to come!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My family loves Musical Arts Institute. All of our children have had lessons (piano, violin, and voice) and thrived with the excellent instruction and comfortable atmosphere. I have also used MAI students to provide music for the Illinois Judicial Council and other professional organizations and they were as good if not better than the professionals that we have hired in the past.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Musical Arts Institute is an amazing place. The instructors are high quality, caring and sincere.
The teaching artists are involved with the growth and success of the students and school. The school is a gem to the community. Students are encouraged and pushed to excel in the music arts. I am proud to have two children at the school.

Client Served

Rating: 4

My 16 year old took an interest in lead guitar from a video game. I decided to have him take lessons from MAI and and I have known the owner Mike Manson for years as the baddest bass player ever. There was no doubt in my mind that having my son take lessons at MAI would be a great decision. I have not been disappointed and the progress my son has made over the past few months is phenomenal I would recommend this school to anyone who is the least bit interested in music for any instrument and even vocal..

Client Served

Rating: 5

The experience here at the Musical Art Institute has been a most wonderful journey in the music field for my grandson to bring out the musical creativity that is in him. If you are planning or looking for a music school I recommend MAI.
Jacqueline Warford

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Musical Arts Institute really helped me become a much more proficient trombone player and I really needed it especially since I go to ChiArts, which is a performing arts high school here in Chicago. The help I receive from my private lessons teacher helps me with all the music I see from school. Me, family, and friends all noticed improvements in how I play and thats because of my work, but also the environment here at the Musical Arts Institute.