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Neighborhood Music School Community Performance Series

Neighborhood Music School


With the support of the LA2050 Grant Challenge, the Neighborhood Music School Community Performance Series will provide the underserved neighborhoods of eastern Los Angeles with equitable access to free, high quality, public performances. The performances will serve as a connection point for our students and neighbors, resulting in increased social capital spheres and reinforcement of the community driven arts ecosystem of Boyle Heights.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

The Neighborhood Music School inspires minds and enriches our community through music education. We have served as a bellwether for arts equity and community engagement in eastern Los Angeles for 106 years.

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

  • East LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Neighborhood Music School (NMS) is responding to the need for high quality public performances produced and performed by community members for community members. NMS serves students from Boyle Heights and the communities of eastern Los Angeles where public art is rarely experienced. These neighborhoods are severely underserved and often overlooked. Students are taught violin, cello, piano, drums, guitar and more by NMS teaching artists. The students and teachers are the core of the project as they are the performing musicians at the concerts. The series includes Concerts in the Parlor, Ensemble Performances, Recitals and Master Classes. The Community Performance Series will support the social and emotional health of the individual as well as the community by showcasing the talents of community members and creating opportunities, pipelines and collaborations inside and outside of the Boyle Heights arts ecosystem. The project promotes a positive image of music and arts in eastern L.A.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Neighborhood Music School was founded in 1914 as a Settlement House to teach one on one music instruction to the immigrant communities that had settled in Boyle Heights. 106 years later, NMS provides low cost/high quality one on one music instruction and mentorship to students of all ages. NMS serves as an artistic home and anchor in the community.

Although Boyle Heights is a neighborhood within the city of L.A., the median income can be 73% lower than more affluent areas of the city. NMS believes that music education is a right and not a privilege and removes the cost prohibitive barriers the community encounters.

NMS is uniquely suited to provide public performances since the students are highly trained and prepared to share their talents with the members of their own community and beyond. NMS holds deep relationships with many city and county offices and entities and is perfectly positioned to leverage those relationships to provide free public concerts.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

The broader impact of NMS Community Performance Series is to foster autonomy and a sense of community pride for communities in eastern L.A. These neighborhoods are not thought of as vibrant, creative hubs but each day neighbors are creating and sharing art. NMS is committed to developing Latinx representation in the music industry by cultivating transferable skills and serve as the starting point for careers in the creative economy. Similar neighborhoods can learn by NMS’ 106-year commitment to equity and access. Median income and property values aren’t the only indicators of a healthy community. Deep-rooted relationships, connections, and a sense of community pride can be instilled in all neighborhoods, regardless of socio-economic status.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success will be defined in 5 key areas; performance quality, attendance, variety of community locations/venues, increased social capital of students including new partnerships and increased awareness and support of Neighborhood Music School’s mission and goals.

The quality of performance will be measured by teaching artists evaluations and self-evaluations by the student musicians. Rubrics and scales will measure increased technical and performance proficiency.

Well attended performances will be measured by total number of audience members. Audience feedback surveys and interviews will provide information on attendee demographics and quality of experience.

Increased social capital will be measured by additional opportunities offered to students and establishment of new relationships with community and audience members. For example, a locally owned business owner may request a performance in her shop, or an audience member may invite the ensemble to attend a master class or workshop. The number of new partnerships with NMS will also measure the success of the project.

Finally, increased awareness and support of NMS’s mission and goals will be measured by an increase in social media followers, increase in financial donations, establishment of new relationships with city offices, local business and corporate entities and an increase in NMS student enrollment.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Public arts and cultural events

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff