About the Ellis Marsalis Center After-School and Summer Programs

At the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (the "Center") we believe in music's power to transform young lives. We see music lessons and arts education as tools that help young people learn discipline and dedication, and allows them to explore their creativity. Plus, research shows that music education correlates to higher proficiency in reading and math as well as improved engagement with school.

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, audio, video, and lighting production as well as reading and math enrichment.

Course Offerings

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

·         Music Theory and Piano (both required for all students as part of our base curriculum)

·         Strings

·         Percussion

·         Woodwinds & Brass

·         Vocal

·         Jazz Band (traditional big band, improvisation, and New Orleans jazz)

·         Orchestra

·         Computer Literacy (weekdays only)

·         Homework Assistance (weekdays only)

·         Music Production (Saturdays and Summer only)

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

·         Audio and Lighting Production

·         Dance

·         Mardi Gras Indian Beading

Students participate in recitals at the end of each semester.

Students who demonstrate a high level of proficiency on an instrument may be eligible to receive private instruction - at no cost to the student.

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


EMCM proudly serves the 9th Ward and New Orleans East communities. Registration is now open with priority given to students living in the following zip codes: 70117, 70126, 70127, 70128, 70129, 70032, and 70122. Students living outside of these areas may contact the Center to determine eligibility.

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

Students must be at least 8 years old and no older than 18 years old.

No prior musical experience is required.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Vaccine Requirements

EMCM follows the vaccine guidelines established by NOLA Public Schools and requires students to be in compliance with school district regulations which include proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. In alignment with NOLA Public Schools, EMCM families may now claim a COVID-19 vaccine exemption for medical, philosophical, or religious purposes. If you would like to request a COVID-19 exemption, please provide us with a copy of your approved exemption from the school district with your registration form.


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

The registration fee is non-refundable.

The Center accepts cash, credit card, or money order. Money Orders are payable to EMCM or Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. (We do not take personal checks.)

How to Register

  • CLICK HERE to complete a registration form electronically. To complete the form, please begin by clicking “start”. Fill in all required fills and check any boxes that apply to your student. Once you’ve signed the form electronically, you will be prompted to submit your form. A confirmation of your submission will automatically be sent to the email you provided on the form.
  • 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, please call us at 504-940-3400 or email 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 an important center of culture. Our music library and resource center provide 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.

Master classes are offered throughout the year to all students by a variety of local, national and international professional musicians. This is an exciting way for students to interact with professional musicians, and to be exposed to a variety of music genres.

Students also participate in off-site field trips to cultural activities held in the city throughout the year.

Healthy Habits Program

The Healthy Habits Program at the Center provides students 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. The Center 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, the Center 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.