Bridges: Partners in Music

Bridges Community Names ImageIn 1984, Merit responded to requests from Chicago Public Schools to create an in-school music education program, resulting in the formation of Bridges: Partners in Music. Today, the Bridges program serves more than 2,000 students each year, bringing the highest caliber music instruction to dozens of public and private schools, and community centers throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Merit teaching artists work within these sites to offer group instruction in strings, band, choir, piano, guitar, early childhood, and general music.

Merit employs a faculty of passionate and highly-skilled music educators committed to helping young people succeed in reaching their full musical and personal potential. Faculty members hold advanced degrees, many from major conservatories and music schools from around the world.

In many cases, Bridges: Partners in Music serves as the first step for students in Merit’s comprehensive continuum of instruction. Motivated students are encouraged to continue their studies at Merit’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center by enrolling in private lessons, the Instrumental Music Program or by successfully auditioning into the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Merit School of Music opens these doors for students by providing over $2.5 million in support each year, often through generous need-based scholarships. Become a part of the Merit School of Music community through the Bridges: Partners in Music program where your students can develop their unique musical talents.


Special thanks to the following program partners…

  • El Valor Community Center
  • Chicago Youth Centers



Merit School of Music is an approved vendor of Chicago Public Schools. CPS Vendor #33278


Merit School of Music is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

Lisamarie, horn

"I enjoy attending Merit because everyone is so welcoming and they have made a difference in my life by bringing me closer to what I love doing!"

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