What We Do
The Tucson Youth Music Center is a nonprofit music center answering the call for music education. We offer music lessons free of charge to underserved youth. All TYMC families are classified as low-income, according to HUD guidelines. Qualifying students are provided with group and/or private instruction as appropriate, music books, necessary supplies, and loaner instruments, all at no charge. Students learn to play an instrument, as well as proper technique, repertoire, sight-reading, music theory, ear-training, performance, improvisation, and music appreciation.
Our amazing Teachers
TYMC is fortunate to be affiliated with music instructors who are musicians and educators of the highest caliber. Our teachers are accomplished professionals in their respective fields, bringing compassion and understanding to their lesson plans and interactions with our students.
A Committed Board
Community leaders who join the Tucson Youth Music Center Board share an enthusiasm for the TYMC Mission and Vision, are able to meet the time commitment of Board membership, bring previous experience with nonprofit fundraising and administration to their roles, embrace diversity and inclusion, and have the capacity to generate or influence private support.
TYMC Past Board Chair
TYMC Teacher Representative
Owner, Fini's Landing
Owner, Assured Partners of Arizona
TYMC Past Board Chair
Senior Director with a Large Health Insurance Company.
TYMC Parent Representative
TYMC Immediate Past Board Chair
Financials & Strategic Plan
TSWA FormedIn 1952, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra founded a women’s auxiliary known as the Tucson Symphony Women’s Association. The purpose of TSWA was to raise funds for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO).
Putting Down RootsIn the late 1970’s, TSWA purchased three buildings on East 15th Street in Tucson, between 6th Avenue and Stone Avenue. After repair and remodeling, these buildings served as an antique shop (The Treasure Shop), the Encore Boutique (a high-end resale shop), the Second Fiddle (a thrift store), and an office building for TSO. The retail activities provided a revenue stream to benefit TSO.
Fulfilling a NeedFrom the mid-80's through the early 2000's public funding for music education, meanwhile, was in a decline. TSWA Member and University of Arizona Music Professor Edna Church, Ph.D., observed that children attending school in low-income areas were particularly hard hit. School administrators confirmed this troublesome trend. TSWA’s team of volunteers, led by Professor Church, embarked on the creation of a free piano program targeting children of limited means. The program started modestly enough, with Professor Church as the teacher, using paper keyboards in the backroom of The Treasure Shop. She recruited some of her graduate students to help with lessons, two pianos were donated, and the program took hold. In order to accommodate more students, Professor Church instituted a piano lab with eight Yamaha Clavinovas and a camera-equipped console that allowed the teacher to monitor each student individually and also help them play together.
TYMC Turns 50!After a bit of moving around, the piano lab found its home in the TSWA building on the southeast corner of East 15th Street and Stone Avenue. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of TSWA, the corner building was dedicated in 2002 as the TSWA Music Education Center. That same year, another instrument was added – the folkloric marimba under the direction of TSO’s principal percussionist Homero Ceron. As well, in memory of former UA School of Music faculty member and world-renowned TSO principal clarinetist John Denman, TSWA started the Kinder Klari program. Kinder Klari is an Eb clarinet designed by Mr. Denman for younger players whose fingers are not yet big enough to hold correctly a traditionally sized Bb clarinet. Unlike other beginner clarinets, Mr. Denman’s was a fully authentic clarinet.
Through the PandemicIn the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the talented and flexible teachers of the Tucson Youth Music Center transitioned with nearly seamless precision to a remote learning music education format. In spite of the challenges of online education, TYMC children were able to evolve as musicians, improve their skills, advance through their lessons, and exercise problem-solving in their coursework.
Funding the FutureToday, funding for the arts, including music education, has nearly disappeared from public school budgets. The program, now called the Tucson Youth Music Center, has become even more integral to young musicians searching for access to music education.