Joy of Music School Executive Director, Francis Graffeo, is available to consult with anyone interested in starting an organization like the Joy of Music School. Feel free to contact him to arrange a consultation. He is available to travel to your site to meet with your board, or organizing group if you prefer an more comprehensive consultation.

Start Your Own School

Want to start an organization like the Joy of Music School where you are?

The following FAQ’S might help.

What should I anticipate for an annual operating budget (assuming we don’t own a building)?

Like any new business, you will need to do a complete business plan, including anticipating the needs of a paid staff, insurance, marketing, fundraising, and the cost of the program.

How much can I expect to raise in grants vs. fundraising?

Grants will be difficult. Individual fundraising will be the key to success in the early going. Foundations and government granting agencies typically like to see momentum before they provide major support. But there are still opportunities for an organization positions itself properly from the start.

What would our minimum staffing needs be?

You will need to determine that based on the number of volunteers you can get in the beginning. Typically, a nonprofit can start with one executive director to run the business on a part- or full-time basis, a bookkeeper (either part-time or contracted), and a program director to manage the music, volunteers, students, and logistics.

How do you determine which students are eligible?

At the Joy of Music School we use the guidelines for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program in public schools to determine financial eligibility. There is no audition for admission.

How do they sign up?

That requires filling out forms that establish the household income and indicate the child’s specific musical interests.

Do you buy most of your instruments or are they donated?

Over 90% of our instruments are donated. We spend considerable resources refurbishing and maintaining our instruments. We have a commitment to our students that if their instrument becomes unplayable, then we will have another one ready for them right away.

What’s the best way to recruit volunteer teachers?

There are various methods at your disposal, depending on what your organization decides the type(s) of volunteer teacher you want to attract.

How “expert” do teachers need to be?

We have teachers ranging from high school students teaching third graders, to PhD’s from the University of Tennessee volunteering their time. Teachers with less experience are usually assigned beginning students. We provide a variety of first-rate materials, books and resources necessary for teaching