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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Education Through Music, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Music

Mission: Education Through Music, Inc. (ETM) makes music education a reality for thousands of children who would otherwise have limited or no exposure to the arts. ETM partners with schools that lack sufficient funding for school-wide music programs, and ETM ensures that every student enrolled in these schools receives weekly music instruction. Since 1991, ETM has harnessed the power of music to enhance the academic performance and general development of its students. Our work provides these children with the skills to become better learners and the confidence to live in an increasingly challenging world.

Results: Findings indicate that students in schools that receive ETM perform better academically than students in schools with similar demographics that do not receive ETM. Students’ participation in ETM music class and school concerts contributes to creativity as well as to social and emotional capacities. The program encourages motivation for school in general. Previous findings include: • ETM supports students’ social and emotional development. All surveyed classroom teachers believe the ETM program positively impacts students’ attitude, creativity, effort, self-esteem, and cooperation with their peers. • ETM positively impacts students’ academic achievement: 84% of ETM students reported on surveys that music class improved their focus; 76% of middle school students said that music class increased their desire to go to school; upwards of 96% of classroom teachers believed ETM has enhanced students’ math, literacy, and critical thinking skills. • Students in longtime ETM partner schools earned higher scores on the New York State Math and English Language Arts assessments compared to students in peer schools (schools serving similar demographic populations). • Special need students in longtime partner schools earned higher Math scores than their peers in non-ETM schools. • The ETM program promoted stronger relationships between schools and parents and supported community engagement; 64% of ETM parents reported that they have been more involved in the school community since their children started ETM. • Partner school leadership highly rated the overall program: 97% of principals and 98% of classroom teachers evaluated the ETM program positively. Reports are available at ETMonline.org/evaluation.

Target demographics: low-income children in grades Pre-K through 8th grade

Direct beneficiaries per year: 27,000 kids

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: In 2016-17, ETM's partner school program provided music education to an estimated 27,000 economically disadvantaged students in 46 schools in NYC who would who would otherwise have limited or no arts exposure. ETM provides music as a core subject to every student. We hire music teachers; we train these teachers so they can be eligible to be hired by schools as part of a long-term plan for sustaining programs. We conduct outreach to classroom teachers and parents to build understanding and advocacy for music education. By providing quality music education to 27,000 students and building support within school communities, our programs: provide students with musical skills and knowledge; support growth in students' self-confidence and self-esteem; support improved achievement in other academic areas; support community involvement; and increase the capacity of partner schools to sustain music programs on their own so that the benefits of music education can continue beyond the life of ETM.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ETM's good goes beyond just what they advertise on their website. As a former employee and then eventual partner teacher of theirs for many years I have come to see many of the levels of good they do.First is the obvious one of providing an experience for inner city students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity at all. The stories go on and on, year after year, about the student who was exposed to an ETM program at their school and are now either performing better overall or are taking it a step further as to be at high schools like Laguardia. These countless success stories would not have been possible without ETM.Second is the opportunity it offers its teachers. I was well prepared coming from my undergrad to take on the world as a music educator, but I would not have been nearly as successful in those first few years had it not been for the support from ETM. The professional developments, the resources, the advice, the counseling... it was almost like student teaching 2.0. I soaked up everything I could and adapted to become a better music educator.I don't know where I would be today without ETM, and thousands of new students every year say the same thing.


Rating: 5

Education Through Music is a true asset to the underprivileged school community in New York City. The passion for music and children that the Music Program staff showed for the cause was truly impressive. Innovative music programs and concerts were being planned to show case the school children where ETM has a presence. Each staff member is there because of these children and the overall message of ETM - that music education helps nurture children so that they can excel not only in music but in science, math, and then further in life. Music builds confidence, strengthens friendships and expands horizons - Education Through Music builds their programs around those initiatives.

The fundraising staff at the charity is equally as dedicated to the cause. Everyone works very hard by securing grants, planning elaborate charity events, and thinking of strategic fundraising initiatives for the future to ensure that ETM continues to expand to other schools.

I was a part of ETM this past Spring as a volunteer event planner for their gala. Although my time there was short, due to school needs, I took away so much - the effects a sound music education has on children, the care and compassion it takes from everyone in an organization to produce outstanding results, and to always keep those who are being helped first in mind when making executive decisions. If it were not for grad school full time, I would have been honored to be a part of Education Through Music. The organization's work touches so many of the city's children, and the children greatly benefit as a result.


Rating: 5

I was a part of the Education Through Music team for two years. After graduating from college, I was looking to work somewhere that was mission-driven and that made a meaningful impact on the lives of disadvantaged children. I was fortunate to find my way to ETM, an organization that showed me all that is possible through high-quality music education. My colleagues at ETM were all passionate about the work and tireless in their efforts to constantly improve the music programs and the efficiency of the organization. It is remarkable that ETM is able to provide an entire year of music instruction to a student for just $150. There are few organizations that can claim to do this at such low cost, and it is proof that the mission to provide all children with a great education is an attainable one. My time at ETM was inspiring because I got to see how music education helped students and schools, and because I was in the company of talented , knowledgeable, and passionate people.


Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer with Education Through Music for about five years and have had nothing but great experiences with the organization. When I joined ETM I was looking to work with a cause that I could identify with on a personal level, and have never been let down by the work we do. For those who are not in the know, ETM partners with under-funded / inner-city schools to provide comprehensive music education to children who would otherwise have no access to arts education. When I was growing up, music was a huge part of my upbringing, and I love that I am able to work with an organization that provides children with access to this field. Moreover, I have always been impressed by ETM's level of dedication to their cause in that their programming is unique to each school's needs and is by no-means cut-and-paste. ETM's staff is incredibly profession and committed to their work, as are other volunteers with the program. And, as an added bonus, we typically have a lot of fun together! Please help in supporting this amazing organization!!


Rating: 5

Education Through Music is one of the most incredible organizations I have had the honor of being involved with. I have seen first hand, for the last three years, how the organization has enabled students to feel great about participating in music and how students participation has impacted their overall education. In a world where arts education is increasingly being cut, ETM offers a complete solution - teachers, instruments, curriculum. It's a much needed service in a world where we continue to devalue the arts.


Rating: 5

I volunteered with ETM in Fall 2010. ETM is dedicated to bringing music education to inner city schools in New York City. The majority of the children ETM serves would not otherwise have access to music education or exposure to some of the great artists, like Joshua Bell, that ETM provides.

ETM spends an enormous amount of time and effort ensuring that the have funding for its programs and that the music programs are of an extremely high caliber. The music teachers employed by ETM are gifted musicians and gifted teachers. ETM ensures that its teachers have access to the latest technology, like SMART boards, and training.

ETM's programs have an positive impact on the children they serve. Music gives the children something to feel positive about during the school day.