Welcome parents! As we work to build out this brand new parent resource center, please know that you can email us any time at MBMusicCoalition@gmail.com. We’d be delighted to hear from you!

Manhattan Beach public schools offer music education beginning in elementary school. Third grade students participate in dedicated general music classes, which includes introductory instruction in band, choir and strings. Fourth and fifth grade students receive music performance instruction in their selected concentration (band, choir or strings). Find out more about the elementary programs at:

Students are able to continue their music studies through elective offerings at Manhattan Beach Middle School. Find out more about the middle school music program at:

Mira Costa High School is home to the Grammy Award winning MCHS music program. Students electing to take music courses receive advanced music instruction. Elective options include assessment-based band, choir and orchestra classes, as well as PE credit classes such as Marching Band & Colorguard, Winterguard and Indoor Drumline. Find out more about Mira Costa’s musical arts offerings at:

The website ManhattanBeachMusic.org also has a wealth of information about music programs in MBUSD.

Articles & Information on Purchasing an Instrument

  • If you are in the market for an instrument, you may find this article helpful. Its contents are universally agreed upon by the MB music educator community.
  • “Beware of Instrument Shaped Objects” – Read it here.
  • “ISO’s (Instrument Shaped Objects) Can Be The Downfall of a Student’s Band Career” – Read it here.
  • “Instrument-shaped Objects: Knock-Off Brand Instruments” – Read it here.
  • “Warning: VSO: Violin Shaped Object” – Read it here.
  • “Do You Suffer from ISO? (Instrument Shaped Objects)” – Watch it here.

Information on Cleaning/Disinfecting Instruments

For guidance in cleaning or disinfecting an instrument, please see this link.

Parents can face particular challenges when music class moves from school to home. We hope the resources below are helpful to you.

Virtual Arts & Education Resources

If there is a particular issue that has come up in your home that you’d like help with, please email us at MBMusicCoalition@gmail.com and we will find the resources, help or information you need. 

Richard Gill Explains the Value of Music Education

Please watch this delightful video from TEDxSydney on the Value of Music Education.

“Structures on which other structures have been imposed. This is the creative process. This is the process which starts with an idea which comes from the imagination. The musical imagination. And when the musical imagination is ignited in a group circumstances we have the most extraordinary power to change lives with music and to involve people in music. And it should start with very, very, very young children.” ~Richard Gill

Music “is the right of every child no matter where and no matter what the circumstance. Every child, I believe, should have access to properly taught music in the hands of a properly taught teacher.” ~ Richard Gill

Dr. Miguel Cardona on the Power of Teaching Music and the Arts

Read this interview with Dr. Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education, on the importance of teaching music in schools.


“In fact, music probably does more to develop critical thinking skills and analytical thinking and improvisation more than many of the other topics we spend time on in school. For me it’s an integral part and one of the best ways we can nurture the natural talent students have which might not have been exposed or realized yet.”

“Music and the arts are the anchor to so many students engaging in school. But I want to go deeper than that. We are underestimating the power of music and the arts to provide what our country needs right now, which is healing.”

Paolo Bortolameolli on Why We Connect with Music

Hear Los Angeles Philharmonic Associate Conductor Paolo Bortolameolli’s TED Talk, on what connects him, and us all, to music.

Social & Emotional Benefits

The National Association for Music Education offers an extensive library of resources documenting the benefits of music education. Here is their brochure entitled Music Education and Social Emotional Learning:

Music Education Plays a Crucial Role in a Well-Rounded Education

Hear Andrea Custer chat on the Jason for MBUSD podcast about the role music education plays in our schools, and how it is a positive, long lasting effect on many levels for students. Listen now: iTunes | Spotify

Neurological Benefits of Music

Discover the science linking brain health and music in this overview course offered by The Great Courses: Music and the Brain.

New Article: “The Brain is a Prediction Machine, and Music Reveals How it Works” – Read it Here

New Article: “Music Gives The Brain a Crucial Connective Advantage” – Read it Here

New Article: “The Argument for Music Education; Musicians’ brains show striking benefits” (American Scientist) – Read it Here

New Study: “Musical expertise shapes functional and structural brain networks independent of absolute pitch ability” – Read it Here

The Science on Music Education and Healthy Brain Development:

The National Association of Music Education

Read NAfME’s Position Paper on the Value and Quality of Arts Education HERE

Other Articles of Interest

  • “Music and the brain: Why schools should really fund music education more” – Read it Here
  • “The Brain is a Prediction Machine, and Music Reveals How it Works” – Read it Here Smarter Kids? Teach Music, Not Coding, According to MIT- Read it Here
  • “The Brain is a Prediction Machine, and Music Reveals How it Works” – Read it Here
  • “Music Gives The Brain a Crucial Connective Advantage” – Read it Here
  • “The Argument for Music Education; Musicians’ brains show striking benefits” (American Scientist) – Read it Here
  • “Musical expertise shapes functional and structural brain networks independent of absolute pitch ability” – Read it Here


Music Subcommittee Report & Recommendations to the School Board of Trustees

Read the Report and Recommendations from MBUSD’s Music Subcommittee to the Board of Trustees (February, 2021) – Download or View Here

Position Papers

Fact Sheets

  • Fact Sheet regarding MBUSD’s Position on the Role of Arts Education in our Schools – Download or View Here
  • Fact Sheet regarding Relevant Laws and Authorities (federal, state and local) on Arts Education as a Component of a Well-Rounded Education – Download or View Here

The Benham Report

Read the report prepared by national expert, Dr. John Benham, “Music in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District” (April, 2020) – Download or View Here

MBUSD’s 2007 Arts Education Plan

Read MBUSD’s “Arts Plan” approved by the Board on May 16th, 2007 – Download or View Here

Every Student Succeeds Act

  • Find ESSA – “Every Student Succeeds Act” – adopted December 10, 2015 HERE
  • Read NAfME’s Legislative Analysis of ESAA HERE
  • Read NAfME’s ESSA Fact Sheet HERE
  • Read Arts Education Partnership’s paper “ESSA: Mapping Opportunities for the Arts” HERE.

California Education Code

  • Read California Education Code section 51210 “Course of Study, Grades 1 to 6” HERE.
  • Read California Education Code section 51220 “Course of Study, Grades 7 to 12” HERE.

Standards-Based Instruction

President’s Committee on Arts & the Humanities

  • Read the President’s Committee on Arts & the Humanities publication “Reinvesting in Arts Education” HERE.
  • Watch NAfME’s Webinar on the Reinvesting in Arts Education report HERE.

California Department of Education’s Guidance on Social and Emotional Learning

• Read It Here – https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/se/index.asp

Declaration of Student Rights

  • Declaration of the Right of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning, unanimously adopted by the LA County Board of Supervisors in April of 2017 – Download or View Here
  • Adoption of LA County’s Regional Arts Blueprint – Download or View Here


NAfME Position Papers

  • The Value and Quality of Arts Education – Read HERE
  • Early Childhood Music Education – Read HERE
  • Equity and Access in Music Education – Read HERE

Arts, Creative Health, and Community Well-Being

  • “Creating Healthy Communities Through Cross-Sector Collaboration” (2019) – Read HERE
  • “Arts, Health, & Well-Being in America” (2017) – Read HERE
  • “The Arts Play an Important Role in Improving Well-Being, According to a WHO Report” – Read HERE
  • “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing” (2017) – Read HERE

Other Articles & Links

  • “Teaching Music” magazine’s interview with Dr. Cardona, US Secretary of Education, August 2021 – Read it Here
  • NAfME’s “Arts Education is Essential” Open Letter – Download for View Here
  • NafME’s “Music and Social Emotional Learning” Brochure – Download or View Here
  • MBEF’s article “Making Music in MBUSD for Over Twenty-Five Years dated December 10, 2019 – View Here
  • Otis’ Report on the Creative Economy – Download or View Here
  • NAfME’s “5 Ways to Support Your Music Program – Read it Here
  • Want Smarter Kids? Teach Music, Not Coding, According to MIT – Read it Here
  • Music and the brain: Why schools should really fund music education more – Read it Here
  • “Why is Music Education in Schools Important?” – Read it Here
  • “How to Secure Funding for Music Education for Public Schools” – Read it Here
  • “The Value of Music Education” by Richard Gill, TEDxSydney – Watch it Here
  • “The Argument for Music Education; Musicians’ brains show striking benefits” – Read it Here

General Guidelines for Submitting Public Comments to the School Board

  • While there is no minimum length, your submission should be no longer than 400 words. Succinct letters might have a greater impact.
  • Please note on your comment that it is being submitted in support of the Music Program.
  • The deadline to submit your letter is normally 1 hour before the meeting. However, please submit as soon as practical and, ideally, by 2pm on the day of the meeting.
  • Please do not include any negative comments levied toward any board members, administrators, teachers or other programs. The focus of your letter should be constructive and reflect the positives of the music program. As Dr. Benham reminded all of us, and which is included in his report, a strong music program also strengthens other programs. Its strength does not need to come at the expense of any other program.

School Board Public Comment Letter Template

Paragraph 1

State who you are and your connection to the music program (Student, Parent, Former Student or Parent, Community Supporter). Please use the umbrella term “music” rather than band, choir or orchestra in this opening section. 

Paragraph 2

Share your personal experiences with the music program, or why it is of value to you, such as:

  • How you/your child has benefitted from the music program (personal growth, development, academically, social wellness, college applications);
  • How you/your child learned other life skills such as better time management that has helped in other areas of life;
  • Other benefits you/your child derived from the music program ~ how it helped you/your child in other areas of his/her/their life.

In this paragraph, it is certainly appropriate to name the specific music program(s) you have experience in (band, choir or orchestra). 

Paragraph 3

Let the board know how you would like them to proceed. For example, “We are asking that no cuts be made to the music program, and that every available resource be used to reverse the past damage that has been done, and set the program on a road to recovery.

MBUSD’s Board of Trustees empaneled a Music Subcommittee in the spring of 2020. The committee was given the following charges:

  • Examine and discuss the Status Report prepared by John Benham and Associates for the Manhattan Beach Music Boosters
  • Examine patterns in music enrollment and how to best utilize our excellent music program
  • Review the structure and pathways of the music program, research best practices in other California districts with successful music programs
  • Recommend ways to maintain a strong K-12 VAPA program within the confines of our budget constraints
  • Submit recommendations to the Board of Trustees as soon as reasonable, but no later than December 1, 2020

The Committee submitted its report to the Board of Trustees on February 3rd, 2021. Read the Report HERE.

In January of 2021, the School Board of Trustees included a Music Committee as one of its standing committees.

Work Done Within the Music Subcommittee (Updated 1/17/21)

The Music Subcommittee began its work in the early days of the pandemic. Even as substantial time, effort and resources had to be diverted to grappling with the question of reopening schools and distance learning, the members of the committee did not falter in their charge to look closely at the issues facing the music program.

Throughout the spring, summer and fall, the committee:

  • Researched best practices and explored how they paired with our district
  • Compiled and examined relevant current research
  • Researched and discussed alternate sources of funding
  • Surveyed students and parents to discover what was working and what wasn’t
  • Met regularly for in depth discussions
  • Considered past efforts within the District
  • Created a blueprint and timeline

California’s Joint Committee on the Arts

Home Page

Visit the California Joint Committee on the Arts home page by clicking HERE.

Hearing on “Visual and Performing Arts: Arts Education Code Compliance”

Watch the Joint Committee’s Hearing on “Visual and Performing Arts: Arts Education Code Compliance” (November, 2015) by clicking HERE.