Our history

Conceived in the 1970s as a stopgap solution to keep music programs in local schools, Music for Minors is now transforming 25,000 Bay Area children’s lives through music education.

The 1978 California tax initiative (Proposition 13) had a significant, negative impact on state funding to schools. An early casualty was music education. In response, co-founders Grace Johnston and Dr. G.G. Fitzmaurice created Music for Minors to prevent music from disappearing altogether from local elementary schools. Both Grace and G.G. brought significant expertise to the program: Grace with a BS in Elementary Education and a Minor in Music from University of Missouri, and G.G. with a PhD in Music Education from Stanford University. Together they developed an intensive training program for volunteer instructors and an outline for a high-quality, affordable, and sustainable program to fill this important community need.

Grace Johnston and Dr. G.G. Fitzmaurice

Founders Grace Johnston and Dr. G.G. Fitzmaurice

Initial supporters were the Palo Alto/Mid-Peninsula Junior League, the Los Altos Elementary School District, and the Los Altos-Mountain View branch of the American Association of University Woman (AAUW). Early collaborators included Nancy Hanna Enright, Mary Jane Garden, Iris Moran, Robert Reasoner, Rachel Wagner, and Nancy Wilde.

Today, Music for Minors is a leading provider of comprehensive, sequential, school-based music education that aligns with the California Content Standards for Music. Demand for our program is increasing as schools continue to experience budget pressures. And we are rising to the challenge! For example, we expanded our educator team to include Music for Minors professionals as well as trained volunteers. Our curriculum ensures quality and consistency as we increase the reach of our programs. Since 2010, we tripled the number of children to whom we provide music education, bringing us closer to our goal of creating a world where all children receive music education.

To learn more about our recent history, read our archive of quarterly newsletters.