At Merit School of Music, we believe that studying music should be readily available to every child, because music changes lives! But, for many parents across Chicagoland, the barriers to enrolling their children in music classes are just too great. Low-income families are oftentimes excluded from music education due to a lack of access, resources, and funds.
The questions for parents begin to mount: Where can I send my child for lessons? How will I afford the cost? Can I find the time between school and work to take my child to and from lessons? Will renting an instrument be too expensive? Merit steps in to solve these questions, and we are so fortunate to have thoughtful and effective allies in our mission, eliminating barriers to access and equity in music education.
This month, we are tremendously grateful to the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts for being a part of Merit’s solution to these challenges for families. Thanks to a generous grant of $250,000 from the foundation, students in our Merit Music in Communities (MMiC) programs at five elementary schools in Chinatown, Humboldt Park, North Austin, and West Town have new and exciting program offerings this year. With the support of the foundation, we have been able to expand our string programs at Ward Elementary, Nobel Elementary, Chopin Elementary and Burbank Elementary, and launch a new voice program at Otis Elementary.