How does Save The Music (STM) work? How does STM restore music programs in schools?

We believe every child in every public school should have the opportunity to make music as part of their education and that this is an achievable goal in our lifetime.

To get there, we are investing in community-centered projects that increase access to in-school music programs for public school students.

School and community leaders co-create each community-level program, based on the local school districts’ need and readiness for music education investment.

Specifically, when a partner school district commits to providing teachers to teach music during the regular school day, STM:

  • Provides each qualifying school with the capital investment of instruments, technology, and other resources they need to get the program started
  • Supports music teachers with professional development, research, and classroom content
  • Advocates for music as a necessary component of every student’s education

K-12 program options range from elementary school (general music with an emphasis on early childhood development), to middle school (band, strings, mariachi, electronic music), to high school (our J Dilla Music Technology Grant for producing, songwriting, recording, DJ’ing and beat making).

In the past three years, we have added a dedicated program staff member responsible for teacher-focused programs, created a teacher training budget as a component of each school grant, and developed and implemented a teacher professional development plan with input from each partner community.

Learn more here

How does Save The Music select partner school districts and communities to receive grants?

Save The Music operates primarily at the community level, building on the culturally rich foundation of American music in places where we see an opportunity to invest in dozens of K-12 schools across several years.

Our goal is to build out sequential, standards-based K-12 music education as a universal offering for all students in the communities we serve.

We build community-level partnerships with school districts, educators, local music advocates, and artists. Then we co-create a plan and select individual school grantees via thorough needs assessments from those partners.

When successful, this approach catalyzes growth across a community music ecosystem – creating impact for students, schools, and other arts & music non-profits.

Learn more about our approach here!

How does Save The Music raise money?

Save The Music raises funds from a combination of sources to support our mission to help students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music.

In 2023, our donations came from:

38% In-kind donations*

25% Charitable Foundations

22% Corporate and Brand Partners

9% Individual Donations

6% Fundraising Events

*STM receives in-kind support primarily from partnerships with instrument manufacturers who provide discounted pricing and donations of new instruments and equipment.

View Our Financials – Save The Music Foundation

Does STM provide cash grants to schools?

STM does not provide cash grants to schools. Instead, STM’s program model combines a one-time capital investment of instruments, technology, and resources to public schools with ongoing program support, measurement, and evaluation services. To qualify, school districts commit to provide music instruction from a certified music educator, schedule music as a class during the school day, and dedicate a room in the school for music.

Is Save The Music Foundation the same as the old VH1 Save The Music?

Save The Music Foundation (STM) was founded at a school in Brooklyn in 1997, as part of a pro-social initiative at VH1, the cable channel. Save The Music has operated as a standalone non-profit organization since 2008.

What is the impact of Save The Music’s programs? Do you have Case Studies?

We’ve proven in communities nationwide that we can significantly increase students’ access to music education by partnering with public school districts, building local coalitions of music advocates, and making investments of instruments and equipment in multiple schools in specific communities.

Adding music education programs to schools positively impacts several measurable outcomes including student academic success, student emotional well-being, and teacher satisfaction, as well as the overall success of the school and the community.

Read more about our impact in partner communities:


New Orleans

West Virginia

Read more about the impact of our J Dilla Music Tech Grant.

Read more about the research into the benefits of music and music education.


How can I help?

Take Action to support Save The Music’s mission to help students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music.