Enriching Lives Through Music in the Canal of San Rafael

Enriching Lives through Music program

Enriching Lives Through Music (ELM) began in 2008 when founder Jane Kramer purchased 15 soprano recorders and began offering music lessons for elementary school students in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood. Today, ELM reaches more than 120 Canal-area students, but Kramer’s mission remains the same: to promote confidence, resilience and community inclusion through music. ELM was founded in the image of Venezuela’s El Sistema, a free classical music initiative created in 1975 by conductor Jose Antonio Abreu to benefit children in impoverished communities. “When children learn that they can be really good at music, they transfer this knowledge — they realize they can be good at anything they want,” Kramer says. Students ages 4–15 can partake in ELM’s Saturday classes (organized by skill level), instructive summer camp, after-school program and family music workshops. Whether a child gravitates toward choral, orchestral, chamber music or jazz, ELM provides an environment for mastering skills that extend far beyond the music room. Kramer is quick to quote Abreu as the visionary behind this approach: “‘If you teach the children the beauty of music, the music will teach them the beauty of life.”