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Why we partner

The Full Story

Cost was just one of the many struggles my musical parents overcame in their dream to provide their eight children with the best musical education. I'll never forget Mom loading all us kids into the van each week and driving 3+ hours so that my sister could find a good cello teacher, the hours she and Dad spent sitting in our lessons or teaching us at home, the many recitals and rehearsals they drove us to in the Twin Cities or practicing my violin and packing my bags for All State Orchestra while we lived in our 30 ft camper because we could not afford anywhere else to call home. 

I share all of this because growing up in rural MN as the oldest of 8 with two music educators for parents, I understand all too well the difficulty of accessing music lessons & also the struggle to earn a living as a music teacher. If not for the generosity of many teachers and applying for a thousand financial aid dollars, my parents would never have been able to access violin lessons for me.


Our goal at the Southern Minnesota School of Music is to work tirelessly to solve problems of accessibility so that ALL students can afford & find excellent instruction CLOSE to where they live. That means partnering and writing grants. It also means attracting the best teachers by offering a competitive living wage that is in keeping with the national average for music instructors, providing a wide variety of instrument and teaching methodologies, mentoring teachers straight out of college, giving each instructor a steady amount of work and creating a collaborative & nurturing environment so instructors will want to remain in the area. 

We are incredibly grateful to the programs and communities that have partnered with the Southern Minnesota School of Music. These locations share our vision and mission.  Together, we are able to make music lessons accessible to hundreds of students in Southern Minnesota, helping them achieve their goals so they can in turn bring the gift of music to others. 

Mary Flanagan

Executive Director, SMSM

Let’s Work Together

If you have a vision to partner with the Southern Minnesota School of Music or wish to learn more about the process of becoming a partner location, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! 

Our board evaluates and selects partner programs based on how your mission and vision align with ours. 

Thanks for submitting!

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