Music First Logo

Our Mission

Music First provides inspiration and guidance to help every music student realize their full potential expressed through music, by creating and fostering relationships between students, educators, parents, musicians, and the communities to which they belong. We are dedicated to forwarding music education in public schools by uniting teachers, students, parents, and local communities to provide the best possible experience for our children and young adults. Learning music helps to unlock an individual's potential, and creates an opportunity for something that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, not only by the person who plays music, but those who experience their music as well.

Our Approach

Music First works with students at every grade level, in collaboration with the educators involved in each school and district. We have two approaches to this work; educational focused performances for school student bodies and/or music students, and mentoring within the music classroom.

At the elementary school level, Music First, in coordination with music teachers, administrators, and parent teacher organizations, sponsors groups to perform in schools at school assemblies, lunchtime, or after-school activities. This provides exposure to different types of music, and depending on the group and performance environment, a learning opportunity for the style of music being performed and the instruments used. The intention is to provide inspiration and encouragement as students are presented with their first opportunities to participate in school music programs.

Music First also sponsors mentors at the elementary level, with the goal of assisting students as they encounter challenges by providing instruction from professional musicians who play the same instruments or voice. This mentoring results in encouraging the continuation of music study as the students move from elementary school to middle school. Collaboration with middle school music teachers is a key component to improving the percentage of students that continue on with music after this transition.

At the middle school level, Music First focuses on in-classroom activities; performance clinics, coaching, and master classes for the existing music curriculum within each school. When possible, the mentors that worked with students at the elementary level continue working with those same students at the middle school level and into high school, to provide the continuity that sets a solid foundation for successful continued participation in music. We work with the music teachers in the high schools that students will move on to in order to answer questions, and provide a clear path and encouragement during that transition.

In high school, programs within the classroom continue. As students are completing their education, they are provided with information on what opportunities are available once they finish high school. Not every student may intend to study music after high school, however there is a large community of musicians and musical organizations outside of higher education where students are able to continue to perform and develop their skills as musicians. And the opportunities within various higher education institutions will be outlined so students are aware of all options that are available.

Music First provides matching funds for these activities, and in some instances low or no-cost services depending on the needs of the school and community. We are committed to increasing participation and availability in underserved communities, and are committed to providing students with the opportunity to experience the difference music can make in their education and lives. Music First currently serves schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, but we anticipate expanding our services to all regions within the state of Washington.


Founded in 2018, Music First, a Washington State 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, provides the opportunity for students to experience live music and have first-hand demonstrations of various musical instruments and styles. Performances allow working musicians to connect to existing and potential young musicians, where the students can experience first-hand the beauty, challenges, and fun that music provides not only during their time in school, but throughout their entire lifetime. Professional musicians also act as mentors to students of all ages, providing the enouragement and inspiration required to help students continue in their growth as musicians.

Our Board

Jim Cutler

Todd Crooks

Mike Mines

Lori Shepherd

Daniel Barry

Philip Demaree

Paul Gillespie

Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more about Music First or volunteering to assist us or work with music students, please email us at You can also donate via PayPal. All donations are 100% tax deductible.