Beyond the Grade – Keeping Music Alive in Austin Schools

Did you know that living in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ is not just an awesome treat for grown-ups but also for kids of every age, every background, and every ability? In addition to many music events and kids concerts throughout the year, Austin has a plethora of businesses and organizations that allow and help children to enjoy their natural birthright as musical beings. Kids can enroll in Choirs, Instrumental Lessons, Music & Movement Programs, Music Production / DJ, Orchestras, and Voice Lessons.

Beyond the Grade, one of Austin’s many nonprofit organizations serving children in the 512, made it its goal to “Keeping Music Alive in Austin Schools” and to provide music educational opportunities to students beyond the traditional classes offered in schools.

Programs and Classes

Classes are taught by local music professionals that are working in the Austin music scene, which allows students to gain insight into the “real world of music”, into different music genres, as well as into education and career opportunities in the field of music.

Programs offered include:

Rockadoodle-Preschool Music
Early childhood program teaches preschool-aged students musical concepts such as rhythm, pitch, and melody, and exposes them to real instruments.

Guitar class
Students learn basic through intermediate guitar skills incl. parts of the guitar, tuning, strumming, chords, and songs.

Drum kit class
Students learn basic through advanced drum kit techniques.

Keyboard class
Students learn basic through intermediate piano and keyboard skills.

Rock Band class
Students form their own band and work together to learn song arrangement, performance, and instrument of choice.

LifeWorks program
Beyond the Grade partnered up with LifeWorks and offers classes to kids who are facing life’s most difficult challenges, including homelessness, trauma, and abuse.

Watch testimonials and Beyond the Grade students in action and listen to local musicians why they support Beyond the Grade.


The following schools in the Austin Independent School District and Austin area private schools have partnered with Beyond the Grade:

Palm Elementary
Houston Elementary
Mendez Middle School
Paredes Middle School
Bedicheck Middle School
Dawson Elementary
Travis Heights Elementary
Berkman Elementary
Akins High School
IDEA Allan
Rising Stars Preschool
Rainbow Station
Beth Israel Child Development Center
Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center

Get Involved

If you’re interested in getting involved in Beyond the Grade programs, here are some ways to do so:

Provide snacks.
“You'd be surprised to learn how many of our students are hungry,” says Mark Turk who founded Beyond the Grade in 2014 to support the needs of at-risk students in the Austin area school districts.

Donate instruments and music equipment.
In addition to monetary donations, Beyond the Grade welcomes in-kind donations incl. musical instruments from cymbals to guitars to keyboards to drum sets, as well as  equipment and accessories such as drum and guitar foot stools, microphones and microphone stands, PA systems, or other equipment. Review their specific program needs here.

Beyond the Grade also participates in the Amazon Smile and the Give as you get programs

If you are a music professional and would like to teach a class, please contact Mark at

Upcoming Events

You may also show your support at the following upcoming events:

Amplify Assembly @ Austin Public

March 2, 2017, 6-9pm
Austin Public, 1143 Northwestern Ave, Austin, Texas 78702
Visit the Beyond the Grade booth at the annual Amplify Assembly @ Austin Public, the official kick-off event for Amplify Austin Day.
Enjoy live music and entertainment, food trucks, beverages, photo booth, and donation stations.
You may also donate online at:

Lava Mae Pop-Up Care Village Goes to SXSW
March 11, 2017, 10am-2pm
700 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
The event is a one-stop shop to provide people moving through homelessness with essential services incl. mobile showers, food, haircuts, clothing, dental and medical care, and more.
Beyond the Grade will provide music clinics and performances.

2nd Annual Beyond the Grade Benefit Concert
April 15, 2017, 5-9pm
Threadgill's, 301 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78704
Featuring Beyond the Grade Student Bands. Headliner will be Tasty Face, featuring Papa Mali and Angelo Moore of Fishbone. Silent auction and great prizes.

Do you know Beyond the Grade?

Share your experience with Beyond the Grade's music classes or volunteer opportunities and rate and review Beyond the Grade on the bottom of their listing.
By on
About Birgit Sund
More in music classes