Photo courtesy of Laura Patterson

Make Music NOLA’s Story: Make Music NOLA (MMN) is a music-for-social program in New Orleans, LA. The program was about to have a strong finish to its ninth year of programs when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our community. Founded in a converted Walgreens after Katrina, Make Music NOLA’s story is one of continued resilience. The 2019/2020 school year was our biggest class of string students and our strongest group of teachers. Our students were scheduled to perform at French Quarter Fest for the first time, and at the Tulane University Book Festival’s Family Day. They were even in the process of writing original music to accompany two children’s books when the festival was cancelled. As a community-based program located in the heart of the Treme, our focus had to shift quickly from group classes and rehearsals to seven online video lessons, forty zoom private lessons, zoom music theory tutoring, and two virtual recitals. Additionally, we quickly had to find a way to keep in touch with over 180 students and continue to pay our eight freelance musicians to teach virtually, even though not all of our contracts were going to pay out through the end of the year. Our virtual programs were up and running the week after in-person instruction stopped. Some of our teachers are working less hours than normal and we are still looking for funding to compensate them for what they would have normally made, especially after all their other gigs were cancelled. Our K-4 general music program stopped completely due to lack of communication from the school. We are looking for a way to keep our teacher working. We are fortunate enough to still be able to do some work during this time, although we have no idea what the future will hold. If you would like to support our teachers work during this time you can donate at If you would like to join us for a virtual recital, you can do so on April 26th at 5pm or May 9th at 6pm. More information will be available at