Music Will

aka Little Kids Rock   |   Montclair, NJ   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Music Will

EIN: 94-3396568


Music Will transforms lives by transforming music education. Founded in 2002, Music Will is an established music education nonprofit that has reached more than a million kids and teachers in over 5,000 schools across the country.

Ruling year info


Interim Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Janice Polizzotto

Chief Visionary Officer

Mr. Dave Wish

Main address

P.O. Box 43369

Montclair, NJ 07043 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Little Kids Rock Foundation



Subject area info

Arts education


Performing arts education

Youth organizing

Population served info

Children and youth

Ethnic and racial groups

Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Music (A68)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Kids who learn to make music do better in school—and life. So why do schools still teach music-making only to a select group of kids, using hidebound methods and a repertoire their great-grandparents would recognize? Why don’t they see themselves and their culture reflected in their music programs? The revolutionary Music Will approach revolves around music that kids know and love, and it uses the tools that motivate them, from instruments to voice to computer. It’s creative, inclusive, and relevant to kids’ lives. And like popular music, it moves at the speed of culture and technology. Through professional training, tools and resources—and groundbreaking programs like modern band—Music Will helps teachers draw the music out, rather than drum it in.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Modern Band Programs

Music Will launched the modern band movement, which has become widely embraced and has drawn millions of kids to music-making. Our approach lets kids learn the music they love on instruments they want to play (including voice and digital tools). It’s a fun and collaborative approach that’s for all students. We offer method books, classroom tools, videos, and other assets that easily integrate into existing music education programs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship 2005

Draper Richard Kaplan Foundation

Goldhirsh Social Entrepreneur Award 2007

Goldhirsh Foundation

Social Entrepreneur Award 2009

The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation

ASHOKA Fellowship 2011


Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Modern Band Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Number of students served nationwide (i.e. participating in a Modern Band program at their school) as reported by teachers teaching Modern Band

Number of products distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Modern Band Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Number of Modern Band instruments (i.e. guitars, keyboards, bass guitars, drums, etc) distributed nationwide for use in classrooms

Number of teachers trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Modern Band Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Number of teachers teaching Modern Band in classrooms across the country (i.e. current number of classrooms offering Modern Band programs coast to coast)

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Music Will, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, is leading the charge to bring the inherent benefits of music-making to all students—regardless of background, family income, or grade-level.

We believe every kid is a music-maker, and that music education is a right, not a privilege. By removing traditional barriers, we bring access to music-making to schools and students that may not have it, thereby democratizing music education. We aim to expand music education access to every student in the U.S.

To support our ambitious goals, we launched the modern band movement in public schools and colleges and universities, transforming the way students and music teachers are being taught. Our play-first philosophy invites students to begin making music without having to first master scales or traditional music notation, and our student-driven approach fosters collaboration and brings the joy of experimentation.

As a result, teachers report greatly enhanced participation in music programs, far beyond the
20% or so that traditional programs attract. Our teachers also report improved outcomes not just in music but in students’ total academic performance.

Music Will is distinct as a systems-change organization because we leverage existing infrastructure while building new capacity in ways that enhance and expand the current system. No other service provider combines teacher training, instruments, curriculum, and community and offers them as a direct investment in a school or school district. As a result, our approach is implemented by full-time district employees, offered during the academic day or as a sustained after-school program, and is made available at no fee to the students, teachers, or schools.

Since 2002, Music Will’s program impact has grown exponentially having reached more than 1,200,000 total students, trained more than 5,000 teachers, and distributed more than 95,000 instruments to classrooms across the country.

It took us 20 years to reach our first million students. By building systems to sustain our exponential growth pattern with students and teachers, we believe that we can reach our next million students in half that time. To do this we will:
- Provide ongoing professional education for public school teachers through live and remote classes, online resources, and an annual summit.
- Work with colleges and universities to incorporate our approach into music-ed curriculums.
- Work to engage more teachers of color and diverse backgrounds, who are traditionally underrepresented in music education.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.03 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 17% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Music Will

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Music Will

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Music Will

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Music Will’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$133,539 $1,243,765 $769,327 $1,377,422 $1,005,595
As % of expenses -2.0% 20.5% 8.6% 26.7% 17.2%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$133,539 $1,243,765 $769,327 $1,377,422 $1,005,595
As % of expenses -2.0% 20.5% 8.6% 26.7% 17.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $7,748,909 $6,045,947 $8,042,046 $6,635,771 $6,118,295
Total revenue, % change over prior year 0.0% -22.0% 33.0% -17.5% -7.8%
Program services revenue 0.0% 5.3% 3.9% 1.4% 1.1%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.7% 9.5%
All other grants and contributions 99.5% 94.6% 95.8% 89.8% 89.4%
Other revenue 0.4% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $6,617,567 $6,071,863 $8,922,528 $5,164,106 $5,831,694
Total expenses, % change over prior year 0.0% -8.2% 46.9% -42.1% 12.9%
Personnel 52.0% 58.4% 40.1% 62.4% 56.9%
Professional fees 4.6% 1.2% 1.8% 3.5% 5.6%
Occupancy 4.2% 3.2% 2.2% 1.1% 0.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 39.2% 37.2% 55.9% 33.0% 37.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $6,617,567 $6,071,863 $8,922,528 $5,164,106 $5,831,694
One month of savings $551,464 $505,989 $743,544 $430,342 $485,975
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $579,707 $579,707
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $7,169,031 $6,577,852 $9,666,072 $6,174,155 $6,897,376

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 2.1 4.5 4.6 10.1 10.1
Months of cash and investments 2.1 4.5 4.6 10.1 10.1
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 0.7 3.2 3.2 8.8 9.9
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $1,138,360 $2,288,982 $3,414,600 $4,367,240 $4,927,596
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $4,451,490 $2,951,077 $1,653,818 $1,865,336 $1,268,763
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $31,147 $31,147 $31,147 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 10.4% 6.7% 20.1% 11.7% 5.8%
Unrestricted net assets $393,695 $1,637,460 $2,406,787 $3,784,209 $4,789,804
Temporarily restricted net assets $4,905,646 $3,635,965 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $4,905,646 $3,635,965 $1,986,156 $2,080,399 $1,368,530
Total net assets $5,299,341 $5,273,425 $4,392,943 $5,864,608 $6,158,334

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Interim Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Janice Polizzotto

Janice Polizzotto joined Music Will in 2017 and brings more than 25 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors with an emphasis on social impact, nonprofit management, fundraising, event planning, and strategic partnerships. As Interim Chief Executive Officer of Music Will, Janice is managing the organization’s operations by delegating and directing goals and objectives, supporting revenue generation to achieve financial sustainability, managing organizational structure and strategy and communicating with the board. She’s also forging new relationships with major donors and partners and stewarding educational leaders to support the organization’s continued growth and expansion. Janice’s years of experience in start-up ventures, corporate philanthropy, fundraising, strategic partnerships and stewardship will serve to further the impact and mission of Music Will.

Chief Visionary Officer

Dave Wish

Dave Wish has distinguished himself as a dynamic and visionary educational leader. In 2005, Dave was awarded a fellowship by the Draper Richards Foundation to support his work as a social entrepreneur. Before founding Music Will in 1996, he spent ten years as an elementary school teacher, serving his peers as a master teacher, clinician, and trainer. He has also worked as a Spanish bilingual teacher, a school music teacher, and a professional musician. Dave has used his hands-on experience as an educator to develop the innovative methodology that enables Music Will programs to transform music education in public schools. Dave is a credentialed teacher in the state of California and holds B.A. in Sociology and History from Brandeis University.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Music Will

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Music Will

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Music Will

Board of directors
as of 08/11/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Jay Vyas

Vyas Capital Management, Co-founder

Term: 2023 - 2025

Jay Vyas

Vyas Capital Management

Cheryl Zimlich

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Bob Flaum

PwC (Retired)

Farid Naib

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Nicole Crystal

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Chris Donohoe

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Craig Kallman

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Joseph Laska

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Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/9/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/20/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.