Community School of the Arts


Community Outreach for Developing Artists


Since its inception in 2006, CODA’s mission has been to seek out and give artistic access to young, underexposed talents in our community who might not otherwise have the opportunity to develop their creative abilities.

One of the primary ways in which Community School of the Arts (CSA) serves the local community is through our Community Outreach for Developing Artists (CODA) program. CODA currently provides no-cost music instruction to over 900 at-risk children in DuPage County who lack exposure to the arts due to financial and demographic barriers.

Partners in Outreach

CSA provides weekly music instruction at nine locations.  

Community School of the Arts at Wheaton College - CODA

District 16 – Queen Bee

As of January, 2015, CODA has entered the Queen Bee District, providing weekly general music instruction to 91 students in pre-school and kindergarten. The two locations served are Glen Hill School and Pheasant Ridge School. 64% of the children in District 16 come from low-income homes.

District 33 – West Chicago

At District 33 in West Chicago, 508 children receive weekly or twice a week general music classes. Additionally, 109 children receive Suzuki violin lessons. West Chicago locations include: the Early Learning Center, Gary Elementary where we house most of the violin program, and Educare of West DuPage where we serve preschool children, infants and toddlers.
Over 75% of students in District 33 come from low income homes and nearly 70% of incoming kindergarten students are limited English proficient.

CODA general music class instruction includes basic musicianship skills taught through singing, moving, playing instruments, and focused listening. Language-rich songs, patterning activities, and discerning aural tasks provide benefit across the curriculum. After successful completion of one or two years of CODA general music class instruction, students who demonstrate special musical ability and interest are eligible for semi-private violin or recorder lessons with a CODA faculty member. Currently 109 students are enrolled in lessons. As the children become increasingly competent, they participate in large-scale performances both in District 33 and at Wheaton College. 12 CODA violin students have joined the West Chicago Beginning Orchestra Program, and bring musical benefit and early expertise to the larger community!

World Relief Dupage Preschool – Wheaton  

At World Relief DuPage Preschool in Wheaton, CODA exposes immigrant and refugee children to music classes. Children develop English skills through language-rich song experiences. We are thankful for the opportunity to bring the soothing and welcoming spirit of music to these families in transition. We presently teach 87 children in general music classes. 24 of these children also receive instruction on recorder.

District 15 – Marquardt

District 15 welcomed CODA this fall to two locations where we provide general music classes for 124 children weekly. At Black Hawk Elementary, where we teach the Kindergarten children, 69% of the families are low income.
At Winnebago School, CODA brings music instruction to the at-risk early childhood program.

Coda Faculty

Kathy Cathey, Janine Means, Carol Ourada, Anne Sullivan, Joyce Anne Wilder, Lisa Hirschmugl, Ann Storm, Judy Stoner, Jane Sundberg, Rebecca Weddle, and Carol McNeil, CODA Administrator.

Goals of CODA

  • Provide a window of opportunity for young, underserved students to experience music and become more culturally aware.
  • Assist students with limited-English proficiency through music. 
  • Make available high-quality music lessons to students with demonstrated ability.
  • Contribute to improved student academic achievement through disciplined musical training. 
  • Play a strong role in character building and enhanced emotional well-being for at-risk children. 
  • Support area school bands and orchestras by offering long-term instrument training for low-income students.


Questions can be directed to Carol McNeil, CODA Program Administrator, (630)752-5923.

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