Merit Is A “No Barrier Zone”

“I’ve made a lot progress in my technique. I’ve only been playing a few years now, and I’ve made massive jumps – moving from Suzuki Book 1 to the Saint-Saens Concerto.”

Meliza Castrejon, Conservatory cellist

Meliza Castrejon Conservatory

Merit Establishes COVID Relief Fund Thanks to Support from RALLA Klepak Foundation

What do you think is one of the top three reasons why parents do not enroll their children in music lessons? Can you take a guess? Learning music is expensive! Across the board, whether you take up guitar, violin, or want your child to learn to sing – providing those music lessons can be a significant line item on the family budget. On average, it costs anywhere from $100-300 per month for just one child’s weekly lessons. What if you have two children? Or three? That can break the bank for most families.

Here at Merit School of Music, core to our mission is removing the barrier of cost to the best of our ability by providing financial aid to families. Merit was founded on this basic principle in 1979, and it remains encoded in our DNA to this day: ALL children should have access to music education regardless of cost, geography, or transportation. Fortunately for Merit, we have wonderfully generous donors who support the Duffie A. Adelson Financial Aid Fund by which hundreds of students gain access to high-quality music education every single year.

One of these students is Conservatory senior and cellist Meliza Castrejon, who actively plays in Merit’s cello choir and chamber music. When asked how learning music at Merit has helped her to grow as a musician, Meliza said, “I’ve made a lot progress in my technique. I’ve only been playing a few years now, and I’ve made massive jumps – moving from Suzuki Book 1 to the Saint-Saens Concerto.”

Meliza loves playing alongside Merit students from all different places and connecting with others through music. She hopes to become a music teacher some day and we couldn’t be more proud of her!

None of this is possible without the generous Merit supporters who contribute to our financial aid fund. And today, as we recently passed the year anniversary of the arrival of the pandemic, we are especially grateful to the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts for the way they have partnered with Merit and supported our families at this particularly vulnerable time. Thanks to a generous gift of the Foundation, we were able to establish a special COVID Relief Fund that has made a positive, life-changing difference for our students and their families by allowing continued musical study to offset the isolation and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts is leading the way for Merit to further embolden its efforts to meet today’s challenges so our students can keep learning music. We are indebted to them – along with all those who support financial aid for our families – for their generosity.

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