Community School of the Arts at Wheaton College

CODA - Community Outreach for Developing Artists

Providing music education for the underserved in our community since 2006


"Particularly impressive is CSA’s CODA Program . . . . Often functioning in minority and/or underserved neighborhoods, CODA is a clear demonstration of Wheaton’s mission in action."  Visiting evaluators from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

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 700 at-risk children in DuPage County who lack exposure to the arts due to financial and demographic barriers. Since 2006 the mission of CODA has been to seek out and give artistic access to young Hispanic, African American, and underexposed talents in our community who might not otherwise have the opportunity to develop their creative abilities. We view this outreach as one of the most exciting developments at our school.

Partners in Outreach

CSA provides weekly music instruction at five locations. These are children who face serious challenges at school and at home. 

District 33 – West Chicago

At District 33 in West Chicago, 639 children are involved in music classes taught by a CSA faculty member. This number includes general music instruction plus violin and recorder pull-out classes. Our West Chicago campuses include: The Early Learning Center, Turner Elementary, Pioneer Elementary, and Educare of West DuPage.

All schools in West Chicago qualify for our no-cost music instruction because of financial and demographic barriers. 69% of students in the district come from low income homes. (

After successful completion of one or two years of CODA class music instruction, students who demonstrate special musical ability and interest are eligible for semi-private violin or recorder lessons with a CODA faculty member. Currently there are 80 students who have graduated to semi-private violin or recorder lessons and many of these have begun participating in repertoire classes and large-scale performances on the Wheaton College campus. 

World Relief Dupage Preschool – Wheaton  

At the 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 serve 100 children at World Relief. 

Coda Faculty

Kathy Cathey, Carol Ourada, Anne Sullivan, Joyce Anne Wilder, Lisa Hirschmugl, Ann Storm, Judy Stoner. 

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 wellbeing for at-risk children. 
  • Support area school bands and orchestras by offering long-term instrument training for low-income students.

Media Center