About Us

Our Story Begins With A Violin

When Chicago violinist Sarah Dupuis discovered a handful of used, child-size violins at a local music store, she decided to put them to good use. In 2011 she partnered with social worker Joi Truman and co-founded Music in Urban Schools Inspiring Change (MUSIC Inc), a program that combines high-achieving music education and character development for students in Chicago’s west side communities.

It soon became clear the love each student had for their instrument and the positive impact on their vision for the future. MUSIC Inc is rapidly growing and continues to find new ways to meet the unique needs and challenges of Chicago’s underserved communities.

In partnership with KIPP Ascend Primary School, a Chicago Public Charter School, the MUSIC Inc pilot program engaged 23 first-grade students in Suzuki-style, small group violin curriculum.


Empower All children through music education


Empower underserved youth through world-class music education, while building character, promoting academic excellence, and fostering community.

Our Values (A.C.E.)


Eliminate the accessibility gap to world-class music regardless of socio-economic status by providing tuition-free orchestral instruction, available in schools and community centers.


Foster community through collaboration and mentorship, by building lasting relationships with students, families, teachers and community leaders.


Empower youth to reach their full potential in music, academics and beyond by encouraging responsibility and accountability.



Students in Chicago schools face barriers to music education

Research shows students do better in school when they’re involved in music education from an early age. However, in the 2015-16 school year many Chicago Public Schools (CPS) did not have equal access to music education.

  • 41 percent of CPS schools did not provide 120 minutes of weekly arts instruction on average
  • Chicago’s west and south side communities had lower average ratios of art teachers to students

Source: Ingenuity “State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools Progress Report 2015-2016”




Our mission is more than just music. We know strong social support can make all the difference in a student’s future. That’s why we’re there—physically and mentally—to make sure our students are heard. We understand the unique challenges our students face, and we work side-by-side to make sure students succeed.

1:1 mentoring with students and families

Goal-setting with students to improve school attendance and grades

Relationships with families to build trust and teamwork




  • 90% retention rate (2011–15) for MUSIC Inc students, with weekly attendance for MUSIC Inc after-school programs at 93%
  • 85% of MUSIC Inc. students meet the 90th percentile requirement for academic grades.
  • 99% of MUSIC Inc students meet the school attendance requirement


**MUSIC Inc. is committed to every student’s success providing individual intervention plans for students who are not meeting goals in homework or school attendance.

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