Don't like to read?
MUSIC Inc. is a tuition-free orchestra program based in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. They began 10 years ago when Sara Dupuis received a donation of child-size violins. She connected with a school in North Lawndale and was able to start a class of 25 1st grade students learning violin.
After a year of working with these young students and their families, it became painfully obvious the lack of opportunities for music education on the West Side. It was then she decided to crate MUSIC Inc to start addressing the clear inequities in this area.
Over the next 10 years, MUSIC Inc. expanded to six different schools. Their programming lengthened from violin classes for young beginners to full after-school orchestra and band programs serving students through 8th grade. MUSIC Inc.’s work is driven by the student’s and family’s need for access to high-quality music education. Students can no longer learn an instrument of their choice as part of their regular school-based education.
Pricey music lesson programs are often out of reach for our families. MUSIC Inc. was designed to put the students and families first. They work hard to build relationships and support students in all areas of their lives. Their tuition-free program, offered in the community, provides students an instrument, materials, and 100 plus hours of instruction each year. Removing so many barriers that create this inequity.
We are most proud of how our students create a lifelong love of music. Many of our students go on to play their instruments in their high school band or orchestra program. Students participate in our program an average of 3-5 years and we get the privilege of watching them grow into strong and confident young adults.
MUSIC Inc. has the potential to change the conversation around music education on the West Side of Chicago. A change that goes from outsiders imposing programs that fit their needs to a Youth Orchestra that is created for the community and within the community.
Their approach directly addresses systematic racism that has stripped the community of musical resources and education. MUSIC Inc.’s relationship-based approach will serve as a model of how to listen and create mindful engagement to help communities overcome decades of challenges.
Written by Sara Dupuis
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Images Courtesy of TNS Photography