About the Ellis Marsalis Center After-School and Summer Programs

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (EMCM) is a place where children are at the heart of our mission of training the next generation of New Orleans musicians. We see music lessons and arts education as tools that help young people learn discipline and dedication, and allows them to explore their creativity.

In the Fall and Spring, we operate an after-school and Saturday program that focuses on teaching the fundamentals of instrumental music, dance and music theory, in addition to computer instruction and homework help.

In the Summer, we engage our youth through a wide variety of music, dance, reading and math instruction to enhance and cultivate their creativity.

Course Offerings

Enrolled students are provided with an instrument, and all have the opportunity to take beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons in:

·         Piano (mandatory for all students except those taking Dance or Saturday classes)

·         Strings - Violin, Viola and Cello

·         Guitar - Acoustic and Bass Guitar

·         Percussion and Drums (weekdays only)

·         Woodwinds

o   Clarinet

o   Flute

 o   Saxophone

·         Brass

o   Trumpet

o   Trombone

·         Music Theory (mandatory for all students except those taking Dance or Saturday classes)

·         Dance

·         Voice (weekdays only)

·         Computer Literacy (weekdays only)

·         Homework Assistance (weekdays only)

·         Mardi Gras Indian Beading (Saturdays and Summer only)

·         Music Production (Saturdays and Summer only)

·         Video Production (Saturdays only for ages 13–18)

·         Audio and Lighting Production (Summer and by select engagements only)

·         Intern Opportunities (available year-round)

All students have an opportunity to participate in recitals at the end of each semester.

In addition, the Center is equipped with four practice rooms that allows students to sign up for times to practice in private, soundproof booths.

Enrollment Requirements

EMCM proudly serves the 9th Ward and New Orleans East communities. As such, new students must live in one of the following zip codes: 70117, 70126, 70127, 70128, 70129, 70032 and 70122.

Students must be at least 7 years old and no older than 18 years old.

No prior musical experience is required.

Priority is given to students living in Musicians' Village and the surrounding Upper 9th Ward neighborhood.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is based on full payment of registration fees.


The registration fee for the Spring, Summer and Fall programs is $30.00 per student.

The registration fee is non-refundable.

EMCM accepts cash, check or money order. Checks are payable to EMCM or Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

How to Register

  • Registration forms are available at the Center or by request. To request a copy of the registration form, please contact 504-940-3400 or email emcm@ellismarsaliscenter.org.
  • Fill out one form per child, and submit it with the $30.00 registration fee in person at the Center.
  • If the classes are full for the session, please consider joining our Waiting List. To be added to the Waiting List, please email your child's full name, address, phone number, email address and the class you are interested in to emcm@ellismarsaliscenter.org.

For more information on enrolling in classes, please call us at 504-940-3400 or e-mail us at emcm@ellismarsaliscenter.org.

Academic Enrichment

At the Center, we believe that intellectual and academic enrichment are key components of our mission, and that music education can help students succeed in other academic subjects. Moreover, we believe that the unique range of musicians who live in Musicians' Village provides our young people with a great opportunity to talk to, study and write about the people who have made New Orleans such a culture capital. Our music library and resource center provides the computers and internet access that are so integral to contemporary learning.

Cultural Enrichment

We offer Dance classes for children and teenagers in Ballet and Modern Dance. 

Students may also enroll in Saturday classes to learn the history and origin of Mardi Gras Indian Beading in New Orleans.  Each semester, students are taught the fundamentals of beading Mardi Gras Indian designs under the direction a Village resident and Mardi Gras Indian Chief of the White Cloud Hunters Tribe.

During the Spring, Summer and Fall sessions, master classes are offered to all students through a variety of professional musicians visiting internationally, nationally and from the local community.  This is an exciting way for Center students to interact with professional musicians, and to be exposed to a variety of music genres.

Students can also participate in off-site field trips to cultural activities held in the city throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall sessions.

Healthy Habits Program

The Healthy Habits Program at EMCM provides students enrolled in our after-school and Saturday music education programs access to healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. Our goal is to increase our parents' and students' knowledge and appreciation for healthy eating, and to develop our students' social skills enabling them to feel confident in varied social and professional situations as they mature. The National Institute for Health and the National Cancer Institute's 5-A-Day for a Better Health Program serves as the basis for our nutritional program. EMCM provides a nutritious snack or meal each day. The snack offerings regularly include fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh cheeses, yogurt, multigrain crackers and other healthy treats.

Counseling Program

Youth are experiencing trauma through what they see on the news, what they see in their communities, and what they experience at home. To address some of those concerns, EMCM has developed a holistic program that focuses on the intersection of music, counseling and other wrap-around services, and currently has two licensed counselors on-site to address any emotional or behavioral concerns that may arise. We also connect families with additional resources if needed.