This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Filling a gap left by budget cuts, Chicago school offers coveted music education

From Muddy Waters to The Smashing Pumpkins to Kanye West, Chicago’s rich and varied musical tradition is well-known to most Americans.

There is, however, at least one aspect of that tradition that is less famous — but no less important. In an age when so many communities are forced to cut music education programs, the People’s Music School has become a lifeline of sorts.

The tough part? Getting in.

  • thumb
    Memorial Day every day
    Beyond the backyard BBQ: Honor and aid those who have served.
  • Fast and too furious?
    Can accuracy and the demand for instant information coexist in the media?
  • thumb
      Steinbeck's Salinas Valley
    John Steinbeck's hometown came to worldwide notice through the Grapes of Wrath. Not all city fathers were pleased by the portrait. Explore what has changed and what remains the same in Salinas.


  • Julieslama

    nice lead, no article?

  • Donal R.

    The “Filling a gap left by budget cuts,” piece provides stark example of why wealth distribution within a country matters. The current trend in the U.S. toward concentrated wealth in the hands of a few will manifest in even longer lines at The People’s Music School in Chicago.

    As we saw in Playing for Change, music plays an important role in connecting people and provides significant developmental benefits for our children. Do we really want to limit the opportunity to explore our youth’s potential to a decreasing number of U.S. families? We are certainly headed in that direction.

    Don R.
    Seattle, WA

  • Ophidiaparaclete

    Loved the definition for democracy that we should all have access to the bounties of life. Why then do we buy into a scarcity model?

  • MinaM

    I am in the process of starting a creative arts program in my hometown in Florida. The arts are something I have always felt strongly about because my parents took the time to make sure I was exposed to a wide variety as I was growing up; not everyone has that advantage. Watching this story just broke my heart, but it also provided a whole new reason for me to do what I am doing. Thank you.

    Mina M.

  • Kenneth Franks

    Music education is very important for young students. It is both math and art and helps develop the part of the brain that enhances the ability to learn foreign languages and do well in other subject areas. Music is something that can be played for an entire lifetime and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn to play several musical instruments. They are all over my house to pickup, play, and enjoy.

  • S. Hoasjoe

    I was fortunate enough to receive some music education in the 1980s when music education was still available in the public school system. I think learning to play an instrument should be available and free to those who wanted to learn.

    I find it disgusting for people to have to line-up for hours for a spot. At the era of program cuts, governments don’t like to raise taxes to appear you are taxing the rich to subsidize the poor. The best compromise would be to set up extracurricular programs supported by private donations. Rich people often become patrons of the arts so why not include them in the funding formula for music education as well?

  • Anonymous

    It’s not an article, it’s a video. Put your cursor over the picture and an arrow will appear. Click that to see the story.