Help Support Free Music Education in Chicago with The People's Music School


For the 2015-2016 school year our programs serve over 500 students in the Chicago metropolitan area, resulting in over 100,000 hours of instruction. We have program sites in the neighborhoods of Uptown, Albany Park, Back of the Yards, Evanston and the south side neighborhood of Greater Grand Crossing. 

We believe that excellence achieved through music translates into excellence in other areas of life. All students embark on a four-pillar program that builds skills transferable to all areas of life. These four pillars (individual instruction, group instruction, music theory and performance) are designed to build a specific set of intellectual and social-emotional skills. Individualized instruction builds persistence, group instruction builds teamwork and listening, music theory builds analytic and critical thinking skills, and performance builds confidence and accomplishment.

Our impact and mission delivery is measured both by building musical proficiency and by fostering life skills that will lead to sustainable success. We measure musical proficiency through jury reviews. Every semester, each student must perform in front of a panel of judges who grade performances and the student’s confidence on stage. We also assess musical progress through theory exams and feedback from each student’s individual lesson instructor. Over 90% of our students advance to the next level of curriculum each semester. Select alumni go on to join renowned performing ensembles such as the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra or top-level high school orchestras, such as Lincoln Park High School. Compared to Illinois state standards and goals for Fine Arts Education, each of our student age groups are performing at one level higher than their grade level. Our high school aged students are doing music theory at a level equivalent to at least freshman year in college.

TPMS is lean, efficient and delivers results at 1/3 below market rates due to a lean administrative staff and a volunteer strategy that utilizes 300+ parent volunteers annually. Opportunities abound for parents to engage their children in music education, but they typically exceed the budgetary constraints of low to moderate income families. Scholarships, where available, are limited – and often require auditions predicated on previous study. TPMS opens doors for students who would otherwise not have access.

Contact us to learn more or how to get involved