An After-School Music Program

Nutrition for the Mind and Soul

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An After-School Music Program

Nutrition for the Mind and Soul

Music for Life YouTube Account Music for Life Facebook Account Music for Life Twitter Account Music for Life LinkedIn Account
DonateNow to Music for Life National Capital Area
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An After-School Music Program
Nutrition for the Mind and Soul

Provides after-school
music programs for
at-risk youths.
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Guitars not Guns NCA How to Help
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Metro Area Classes

Class schedules are
dependent on student
and teacher availability

Guitars not Guns NCA Photo and Video Gallery

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from past events.

Glen McCarthy, Grammy Nominated Music Educator, Guitarist and Music
for Life Board Member on the importance of music education.

Image result for music teacher imagesMeet Our Teachers

Music for Life has excellent teachers providing lessons on Band & Orchestra instruments to youth who otherwise cannot afford them. You can learn about some of them here.

Mary Riddell is a freelance oboist and teacher in the DC area and a regular substitute musician with the Akron Ohio Symphony Orchestra. She grew up in Fairfax County; earned her Bachelor's degree in oboe from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music and her Master's degree in oboe performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mary moved back to the area after her schooling to give back to her hometown music community. 

“I chose to become an instructor for Music for Life to reach kids who I wouldn't otherwise get the opportunity to teach. I've found that some of the most dedicated students are the ones whose parents can't necessarily afford private lessons or top-of-the-line instruments. It is a fulfilling position because the students are very eager to learn and value their time with you. “


Originally from New Hampshire, Josh Wolfe grew up experimenting with a variety of instruments including trombone, piano, voice, and tuba. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in Music Education.  After graduating he taught elementary school general music, band, and chorus to K-5 grade students for 5 years in Athol, Massachusetts. He returned to school to earn a Master of Music degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland in College Park Maryland. He has performed professionally as a trombonist in wide variety of musical venues including classical, contemporary, jazz, gospel, opera and musical theater productions. Josh has taught students from age 5 - 95 a variety of instruments including trombone, trumpet, euphonium, tuba, saxophone, clarinet, flute, recorder, voice and piano. In his spare time, Josh enjoys cooking, reading and learning new things.

Why did Josh choose to become an instructor for Music for Life? “Every new teaching opportunity helps to improve my ability to be the most effective teacher I can be.”

What is your fulfillment as a person helping these children?  “ I want to make music easily accessible for as many people as possible regardless of age, resources, previous experience or talent. If I can foster confident, independent life-long musical learners, then I believe I have made a positive impact on somebody’s life and our world.”


Ben Lostocco is a freelance trumpet player and teacher based in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. He earned a B.M. in trumpet performance from the University of Maryland where he was a student of Chris Gekker and Steve Hendrickson.

Ben regularly performs in a variety of settings and styles including orchestral, chamber, jazz, theater, church, and solo. Groups include Symphony of the Potomac, Georgetown Chorale and National Christian Choir, plus a feature with Jazz One in “A Tribute to Miles Davis” at An Die Musik in Baltimore. In addition, Ben appears frequently with the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra, a group hailed by the Washington Post as “the premier American ragtime orchestra.” He can be heard playing cornet on Peacherine’s forthcoming album, Elite Syncopations (July 2017). Outside of his active performance schedule, Ben maintains a private studio of trumpet students aged beginner to high school.

“I chose to become an instructor for MFL as it gave me an opportunity to connect with students from varied backgrounds. I always felt very fortunate to have grown up taking trumpet lessons. It is fulfilling to try to pass on this good fortune to young, aspiring students. “


Cristiana Tudor is a Violin Artist. At just 26 years of age, she is a fast rising star in the classical music world.  Ms. Tudor was born in Bucharest, Romania and attended The National University of Music in Romania where she received a Bachelor Degree in Performing Arts (Violin Performance). Internationally, she has performed with the European Royal Orchestra, Baroque Orchestra of St. Joesephs Cathedral, Romania and the Bayerischen Philatmonie of Germany. She also has performed with legendary pan flutist, Gheorghe Zamfir.

Ms. Tudor has performed numerous recitals and concerts in Romania's finest concert halls to include the Romanian Opera, Romanian Athenaeum,” Dimitrie Cantemir” University, Parliament Palace, Romanian Athenaeum, Radio Hall, American School, Children’s Palace, and ” Maria Filotti” Theatre-Braila.

Competitively, Ms. Tudor has won several prestigious competitions: 2010, Third Prize in the 18th Annual George Georgescu International Music Performance Copetition; 2009, Second Prize, Timotei Popoviciu National Instrumental Performance Competition; 2008, Second Prize, Timotei Popoviciu Violin and Grave Strings Contest; 2008, Second Prize, G. Avachian National Performing Contest. Currently, she performs with Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic and the McLean Symphony.

“I choose to become an instructor for Music for Life because I wanted to share with students the ability to create music and to convey emotions. “


After moving to Northern Virginia, Zachary Barnes wanted to put his music background and JMU music education degree to good use. He found that the instruction opportunities Music for Life offers matched perfectly with his interests; he’s thrilled to be part of our program.  Zachary has always enjoyed interacting with fledgling musicians because he, as a young trumpet player, learned all the wrong habits. His goal is to help beginners avoid those same pitfalls and remain interested in music by working with them to create a strong foundation for later growth.


A Los Angeles native, Carol Joe joined The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in 2016. Carol received her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied with Jill Felber and graduated with distinction in the major. She received her Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees in Flute Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Dr. Bradley Garner. Prior to attending CCM, Carol has competed and received prizes from competitions such as the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, the Chicago Flute Club’s Young Artist Competition, the Music Teachers National Association’s Young Artist Competition and Young Artist Chamber Music Competition, and has been featured as a concerto soloist with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Philharmonic Orchestra. Carol has spent her summers participating in music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, the Brevard Music Festival, the Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. When Carol isn’t playing her flute, you can find her on her yoga mat, hiking in mountains, or testing out new recipes in the kitchen.

“I chose to become an instructor for Music for Life because I wanted to be part of an organization that provides a musical outlet for those who cannot afford lessons on their own. I receive a sense of fulfillment knowing that I'm doing my part to help promote arts education in public schools.”


Charles Quinlan has been teaching in Fairfax County Public Schools for the past five years. Prior to that, he majored in Music Education at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he studied flute, voice, saxophone, and piano with esteemed private instructors. He earned his Master's in Education from Concordia University on 2014 and works every day to become a more effective teacher.

He joined Music for Life in order to make music accessible to students who love it and want to grow as musicians. When a student has an, "Oh! I get it!" moment, the success is infectious and makes the job that much more enjoyable. 


Chris was born in Newark NJ; his love of music began at a young age. Chris’s formal education was at Catholic University where he studied Piano, Sight Singing, and Music Theory as well as learning percussion to include Marimba Bells, Tympani, etc. He’s played gigs at Howard University, The Old Post Office, and Constitution Hall under the baton of world famous Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.  After Catholic University, Chris moved back to New Jersey to play with the hard rock band, Blessed Fury. He continued his studies with studio and Steve Via drummer Pete Zeldman as well as with Dave Brubeck Quartet drummer Joe Morello. After studying with Joe for four years, Chris went back to Virginia and spent two years as the drum chair for New Potato Caboose. After that he spent the next eight years teaching and continuing his studies with Tony Martucci. Currently he performs as well as teaches percussion, Beginner Piano and Beginner Guitar in the metropolitan DC. Area. To quote Chris:

“To give back to the community is an important gesture in life. Working with Music for Life allows me to give back while earning a living doing something I love to do”.

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