Category Archives: music education

A Closer Look At MUST

You have probably seen the MUST logo dancing around SVR’s website, but are probably wondering, what is this organization?  Music in Schools Today was born when citizens of San Francisco, members of the San Francisco Symphony, and Sir Yehudi Menuhin, former violinist with the  Symphony, rallied to combat the elimination of elementary music from San Francisco Unified School District in 1980.  Thanks in part to Sir Menuhin’s rousing speech, the school board enthusiastically restored the music budget.  The original coalition became a non-profit in 1983 and then Music in Schools Today (MUST) in 1989, instituting music and arts programs for children and youth around the Bay Area.


In 1990, MUST began accepting donations of “gently used” musical instruments under its Adopt An Instrument program to put them in the hands of school children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to play them.  MUST also began offering free long-term planning to start or strengthen Bay Area school music programs.  Over the next ten years, the organization grew to serve at-risk children and youth in the greater Bay Area and Los Angeles.  MUST is working change public opinion about the need for music education, restoring it as an indispensible part of the school curriculum.

Music In Schools Today reaches over 21,000 students annually, and children directly benefit from every dollar donated to the organization.  $25 covers the cost of rhythm sticks for 20 children.  In other words, the cost of an average meal in San Francisco supplies 20 students with countless lessons on rhythm, a foundational concept in music knowledge.  $75 provides an hour of music instruction for that same class of 20 children, and $1000 supplies that class with music instruction for an entire semester.  For $1000, an at-risk youth also has the ability to attend a drum facilitation and group leadership workshop. 

MUST targets our most at-risk youth: programs serve at least 80% at-risk youth, some with severe learning and emotional disabilities, exhibiting high incidences of sexual abuse, suicide, violence and other related behaviors. MUST balances teaching music enrichment with music integration into core curriculum, making a powerful impact on California schools.

Basic instrumental and vocal music programs include band and orchestra, hip hop, rap, choir and glee club.

Achieving Through Music, which began in 2000, supports at-risk children and youth through therapeutic music intervention, typically using percussion circles. The purpose of the program is to lower incidence of youth violence and other at-risk behaviors, and to improve academic performance and life skills, leading to improved educational and employment opportunities for these underserved youth.   Understanding Culturesalternatively offers an accessible and sophisticated introduction to basic music and movement, while integrating science, reading and social studies with world music. MUST believes that children can learn to respect themselves and others of diverse cultures through the lens of music, exploring music, discovering their own talents and learning life skills.

MUST’s research demonstrates how children learn through music, providing the ammunition needed for groups advocating for music education.

MUST offers professional development to schools and districts, helping teachers to meet the Core Curriculum Standards by teaching them to integrate language acquisition, language arts, science, math and social studies into the school day.

Silicon Valley Rocks! is proud to support Music in Schools Today again in 2012, and is grateful for your help in providing children with life-changing music education!  See you on November 29!

Marshall Lamm supports music in the schools, and whatever MC Hammer wants

In addition to being a longtime board member of Music in Schools Today, Marshall Lamm was the publicist of the renowned west coast jazz club Yoshi’s for eight years before launching Marshall Lamm Promotions and Public Relations in January of 2006.

Prior to Yoshi’s, he founded Astor Place Recordings in New York, an imprint of Profile Records, the home of famed rap group Run DMC. He was also director of publicity at GRP Records, which included Impulse!, Chess, Decca, Blue Thumb, and other labels, and he began his career as a publicist at Verve Records.

SVR: Do you have a favorite story about your career in the music business?

Marshall: There are so many! From backstage at Metallica in Dallas with the Moss Brothers to making a CD with Jason Newsted to seeing all of the great jazz artists, but one that my friends sure like is this one. I helped start Astor Place Recordings with Profile Records in New York, the home of Run DMC and other rap artists. On several occasions, rappers would come up to the office and have a beef with someone, or there were threats and the like. One day, MC Hammer and Eric B, the DJ, came up to the office. I was a big Eric B and Rakim fan, so I went to introduce myself to them and as I got closer, MC Hammer looked at me and motioned into his jacket like he was pulling a gun out to shoot me or something. It was more funny than scary. At that time Hammer was on Death Row; they wanted to talk about Run DMC with the label owner. Turned out that a few days later Tupac Shakur was killed in Las Vegas, on the way from the Tyson fight to a Run DMC show at a local club. I have now met Hammer a few times and I did bring this up with him. He certainly remembered me!

SVR: Tell us about your work with young people in your business.

Marshall: I try and do so much with young people, from my involvement with several local organizations including SFJAZZ, Yerba Buena Gardens, Union Square, Music In Schools Today, and the Oaktown Jazz Workshop. When I was at Yoshi’s I created the very popular and ongoing Sunday matinee series to create an environment for families and to cultivate the future jazz lovers. As the publicist for SFJAZZ, families are very important and the organization presents family matinee programs; some have included the amazing Orff programs. I have worked with the Young Musicians program at Cal and have worked extensively as a board member of the Oaktown Jazz Workshop. I also book and promote the annual Jazz on 4th Street festival in Berkeley that benefits the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble. I am most proud of my work with the Moss Brothers, Reuben and Evan. I produced their two albums, the second of which included Jason Newsted. Reuben is now a sophomore at Stanford and Evan is a senior at Cal.

SVR: Why should music and art be taught in schools?

Marshall: If music and arts are not taught in school, where else can they be taught? Kids need active programs from recess to arts and music. It is imperative that creativity is fostered and nurtured not only at school but also at home.

SVR: Based on your experience mentoring young people, how does music education help kids academically and personally?

Marshall: It helps by giving kids discipline, goals, and the courage to overcome difficult obstacles, and to conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges in life.

SVR: Was there an important person in your life who provided a positive influence on your becoming involved in music?

Marshall: Duke Dubois at GRP Records. He passed away several years ago, but he had a profound effect on my life, as well as the lives of many others.

SVR: Tell us why you support Music in Schools Today.

Marshall: MuST is one of the best youth music programs that I have worked with. The people involved truly care about the future of the arts and are committed to seeing that kids can realize their dreams.