The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music delivers a broad range of services to underserved children, youth, adults, and musicians, many of whom are from neighborhoods battling poverty and social injustice.

Designed under the guidance of our namesake, Ellis Marsalis, Jr., our programs leverage music as a catalyst for social change, offering a safe and supportive environment where young people can develop musically, academically, and socially.

Read on to learn more about how we serve our students and our city!

Youth Programs

At the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, we believe in music’s power to transform young lives. We see music lessons and arts education as tools that help young people learn dedication and collaboration and allow them to explore their creativity. 

We offer holistic, world-class arts programming to any child who wants to learn—regardless of ability to pay. Fall, spring, and summer sessions include four elements. At just $30 per student per session, our students have access to these exceptional programs and many other benefits! We offer scholarships to support students facing challenges, guaranteeing all kids have access to a high-quality music education.

A child sitting and smiling.

Our youth music education program offers after-school programming, Saturday classes, and summer sessions to students ages 8 to 18. All students learn piano and music theory in addition to instruction in a primary instrument of their choice, which we supply. Disciplines include strings, percussion, bass, guitar, brass, woodwinds, dance, and vocals.


Thanks to Apple, Inc.’s generous support, all EMCM students take classes introducing them to coding and music technology. Using the latest hardware and software, our students explore exciting STEM and music technology pathways, important steps toward closing digital learning gaps.

Our music production and audio engineering classes are offered to students ages 13 and up. Music production students learn basic music technology using software including Garage Band and Logic Pro X. Audio engineering students have a unique opportunity to learn the elements of live sound, studio recording, and communications skills, which will prepare them for the City’s bustling cultural economy. 

Two children standing next to a box full of milk cartons.

As part of our commitment to nurturing students’ overall well-being, the Center offers wrap-around services. Through our “Healthy Habits” initiative, students can access behavioral and mental health counseling, as well as nutritious meals and snacks that contribute to their mental and physical wellness.

Within our academic enrichment program, we offer educator-led homework assistance throughout the school year and engage students in reading and math activities during the summer to ensure their readiness for the upcoming school year.

Audio Engineering Program

The Center offers hands-on training in the fundamentals of audio engineering, giving students the opportunity to learn the technical aspects of live sound set-up, such as microphone placement, monitor settings, live sound mixing, and stage set-up. Students also have hands-on training in our recording studio learning: signal flow, audio patch bay, and audio mixing on our state-of-the-art console.

Participants also learn studio management, studio protocols, client relations, session setup, and the interpersonal skills necessary to run a successful recording session.

High school juniors and seniors are encouraged to register for the Audio Engineering course offered in the fall, spring, and summer.

Sound board.

Four adults wearing headphones and playing electronic pianos.

Adult Programs

It’s never too late to reconnect with your talent or make music a part of your life! The Center is currently enrolling community members for adult piano classes. Register via the button below, and we’ll send you more information.

Community Programs

The Center regularly opens its doors to the community for opportunities like holiday events, music business courses, computer literacy classes, and resume-building workshops. If you want to be informed of future community offerings and opportunities, join our mailing list, and follow us on social media!

Person raising hands to clap at a performance.

Frequently ASKED Questions


April 30

Last Day of Spring Session

May 1

M/W Beginner’s Recital (5:00 pm)

May 2

T/TH Intermediate & Advanced Recital (5:00 pm)

May 4

Saturday Students Recital (10:00 am)

May 28

Summer Session Begins

June 19

Juneteenth – NO CLASS

July 1

Fall 2024 Registration Begins 

July 3

Summer Recital (10:00 am) and Last Day of Classes