LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Comprehensive Music Education Program for Under-Resourced Schools

ETM-LA's Comprehensive Music Education Program for Under-Resourced Schools provides high-quality, comprehensive music education to students in low-income area elementary and middle schools across LA County. The program reaches all children regardless of race, class, or ability and is set apart by being part of the school day. Our core belief is that all children deserve a well-rounded education, one inclusive of the arts, to ensure their holistic development.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles


In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

10% of jobs in California -7.8% of the state's GDP- are linked to the arts. While CA once led the nation in arts education, a 1970 state law and Prop 13 eliminated arts requirements and funding. While Prop 28 (2022) guarantees state public school arts funding, critical challenges of implementing music programs and recruiting qualified music teachers remain. Schools need guidance to build long-term, comprehensive music programs amidst "a huge hole of qualified arts teachers" (capradio, 6/23). Research shows students enrolled in school arts programs have higher attendance and reading levels, fewer discipline problems, higher graduation rates, and stronger social-emotional skills. Unfortunately, music education continues to be fragmented in approach. "It's a moral issue...a huge equity gap." (Laura Smyth, CA Alliance for Arts Ed). Students can go K-12th grade with no arts education, and "many administrators don't know how to get it back," says Patricia Wayne, Former Prog. Dir., Create CA.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

ETM-LA began in 2006 with 2 partner schools, teaching 800 students. In our 17th year, we have grown to 41 partner schools, reaching 18,500 students across LA County. ETM-LA works closely with school district leaders to provide a solution to address fragmented arts instruction and the lack of music teachers by: implementing sequential, comprehensive programs; fostering a culture of support for the arts towards long-term sustainability; and ensuring top-notch instruction by recruiting, training, and placing dedicated music teachers/interns who use music to nurture character development, self-esteem, and social-emotional skills. Music classes align with state/national core standards using a culturally responsive approach. We listen and respond to our partners in real time to meet our schools' needs. This includes STEAM-focused lessons, multimedia, music tech, strategies for students with special needs, music therapy, and healing-centered practices. Furthermore, we make the programming unique to the community and its specific needs, reaching every student in the school. We also give professional development for school teachers to integrate music with the core curriculum, guidance for principals, and parent workshops to share the importance and benefits of music education. ETM-LA continues to successfully advocate for the increase of full-time music teachers in school districts as showcased through partner schools graduating from our model and hiring our music teachers.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our vision of success through 2024 and beyond includes the following intended impact: - Increased student performance in and attitudes toward both the arts and school. - The ability of music teachers and classroom teachers to integrate music with other subjects. - Broadened and deepened school/community understanding of and support for arts education. - School efforts toward sustaining programs independently. - Support emerging practitioners in the music education field through workforce development. For our students-the majority of whom come from marginalized communities-the benefits of music are critical and life-changing. After one year of implementing ETM-LA, McKinley went from last (21 of 21) to 1st in attendance; by year two went to 1st in math and reading. Providing equity, access, and inclusion are vital to ensuring that children have a healthy, bright future so that they-our future leaders-can make Los Angeles the best place to create, play, connect, live, and learn in 2050.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

ETM-LA's impact is measured in part through teacher/parent/principal surveys, student journals, and attendance rates. 2023 Survey data shows: 94%+ of school leaders witnessed improvement in students' attitudes towards school/the arts; 91%+ witnessed an overall increase in students' confidence, which they believe music learning supported; 90%+ of classroom teachers used music/arts to support learning. This year, 4 partner schools will graduate from the program (9.8%). "ETM-LA is a great program...amazing and has done wonders with our students. ETM-LA has truly changed the culture of our school [and] boosted the confidence of our middle school; [it] has engaged our little ones to be energetic and enjoy playing instruments." ETM-LA will further invest in our professional development and training of current and emerging music teachers/interns, including expanding our internship program, administering scholarships, and building relationships with agencies committed to workforce development.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 21,500

Indirect Impact: 31,500