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Music's Positive Impact: Meet 7th Grader Isaac

“I would be emotional and sometimes I would take it out on the wrong people. But when I’m doing music it calms me down, and it helped…”




From everyone at Education Through Music-Los Angeles, we thank you for your deep commitment to furthering equity and access to quality music education in under-resourced schools.

McKinley School 7th Grader Isaac (pictured left) was spotlighted on the TODAY Show in November featuring ETM-LA. According to Isaac, he was failing school with four F’s across his classes, while also dealing with anxiety “because school can be kind of stressful.” Isaac struggled with expressing his feelings, especially when dealing with anger. His mother confided, “When Isaac was just 1 & 1/2 years of age, his father was incarcerated. And over the years, this seemed to trigger his emotions and anger.”

Isaac added, “I would be emotional and sometimes I would take it out on the wrong people. But when I’m doing music it calms me down, and it helped, so that hasn’t happened in a long time. Music has changed my life in many ways.

Learning music regularly in school continues to generate positive outcomes for Isaac. Not only does he participate in weekly classes, but Isaac also joined the Rock Band and plays piano and guitar. On the TODAY Show, he talked about how his Rock Band and music class have changed his life. He loves to listen to Pop and Latin music with his family to relax and enjoy their time together. Isaac has found motivation in something he loves and is now receiving “straight A’s.”

“[Music’s] made my anxiety better, because school’s kind of stressful.  I had like 4 F’s…[now they’re] straight A’s.” 

“Music is really a huge part of his life, as it is with all of us. I do see that music has, and does, help my son. Isaac enjoys coming home and sharing his experience of the different instruments and friends he has made in music,” Isaac’s mother stated. Because of your unwavering support, students like Isaac are provided with the life changing benefits of music education. Watch the Full Story:

2021 has been a one-of-a-kind year, both globally and for music education. With schools across Los Angeles County moving from virtual learning to hybrid to in-person, our dedicated staff and teachers persist in staying innovative and responsive to our communities. Thanks to your support, Education Through Music-LA achieved such milestones this past year:

  • Over 19,000 students last year received quality, sequential music education.
  • As part of an external evaluation study, 95% of ETM-LA partner school teachers believe music education should be offered as part of the core curriculum.
  • Teachers reported a 40% increase in student engagement at ETM-LA partner schools, compared to only 7% in other schools receiving no or intermittent music programming.
  • Elysian Heights Elementary graduated from ETM-LA’s Partner School Program, hiring a credentialed Music Teacher to fully sustain their own music program.
  • In November 2021, ETM-LA Students & Music Teachers were featured in U2’s music video for “Your Song Saved My Life,” connected to Universal’s new film, SING 2.

Thank you for helping to further the mission to ensure that thousands of children across Los Angeles County continue receiving the life-changing benefits of music education.

This 2021-22 school year, Education Through Music-LA will partner with 49 schools and serve over 21,000 students.

Help us Keep the Music Playing today! To support more students like Isaac, visit