Merit Music in Communities

Merit Music in Communities provides transformative music education in schools and community centers across the city.

Launched in 1984, Merit Music in Communities (MMiC) provides high-quality music education at 25 schools and community centers throughout Chicago.

In many cases, the MMiC program serves as a student’s first step on a lifetime journey of musical appreciation. Motivated students are encouraged to continue their studies by enrolling in Merit’s group classes and private lessons, or auditioning for the Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory.

merit music in communities choir 2021


Merit offers a wide variety of programming options for our community partners. We work with each school or community center to tailor programming to their individual preferences and resources.

Program line-up

MMiC offers group instruction for:

  • General music
  • Band
  • Strings
  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • World percussion

Ensembles & Private Lessons

Our most intensive programs provide:

  • Large ensemble rehearsals (band/orchestra/choir)
  • Smaller sectional rehearsals
  • Individual lessons

Removing additional barriers

In order to further reduce financial barriers to music education, in some cases, Merit offers:

  • Low-cost or free instrument rentals
  • Discounted music supplies
  • Transportation assistance

Program impact

MMiC programming continually engages children and families in under-represented and often under-resourced communities where the need is greatest and access the most limited. Merit and MMiC have filled this need for tens of thousands of children over the last 35+ years.


school & community sites




average value per student



Give the gift of music

Your support helps provide high-quality music education in schools and community centers across Chicago.