Support Silverlake’s Musical Scholars

By Giving List Staff   |   October 1, 2021

Silverlake Conservatory of Music (SCM) was founded in 2001 by Flea (real name Michael Peter Balzary) of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who first became interested in music through his stepfather, a jazz bass player in New York City. Flea’s lifelong passion for playing music blossomed in the 1970s, through the music program at Fairfax High School.

But Flea’s dedication to music didn’t end with rock stardom. He was determined to create a nonprofit music conservatory in Los Angeles that would provide access to music study for any child with interest, whether they had the means or not. In 2001, motivated by severe cutbacks to arts education programming in L.A. public schools, including Flea’s alma mater, he and longtime friend and fellow musician Keith “Tree” Barry founded SCM.

The school offers private one-on-one music lessons on all orchestral and band instruments as well as voice, as well as an array of specialized ensemble classes. Over time, the school grew to serve as many as 1,200 students per week with a robust choir program and its famous Live Wire band program, which develops group live performance skills. 

SCM first opened its doors with a location at Sunset Junction, where the school’s founders recruited its first young musicians by distributing flyers at a local arts festival. Thanks to personal and corporate contributions, musical instrument donation and in-house fundraising activities, it boasts a proven track record of developing talented young artists, thus ensuring a lasting commitment to the enrichment to L.A.’s broader cultural community.

In October 2016, the Silverlake Conservatory moved to what Executive Director Jennifer Rey calls its “forever home” at 4652 Hollywood Blvd, a 1930s brick building featuring well-appointed art lesson studios, a recital space, and retail store all beautifully redesigned by Barbara Bestor. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the school’s student body spans L.A.’s socioeconomic demography. It also offers scholarships to qualifying young musicians, providing free lessons, classes, and instruments for each student.

“Most of our students on scholarship are from low-income families who qualify for free lunch programs,” Rey says. “Our goal is to keep 250 students on full scholarship. We fully subsidize their instruments and supplies, and they have access to all ensemble practices and summer programs. There is no division. It’s just a community of people who value lessons and practice and all the things that come along with the study of music.”

Flea says that the school depends on its annual fundraising efforts and the generosity of donors to do its work. “We are an important element of the community,” he says. “I promise you with all my heart, we will continue to teach music like our lives depend on it. We live for it.”


Silverlake Conservatory of Music

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Matching Challenge

Through January 15, 2022, the first $1,500 donated will be matched thanks to The Giving List’s novel matching program.

Give the Gift of Music

The Silverlake Conservatory of Music’s (SCM) mission is to facilitate a dynamic music education and to teach beginning and accomplished musicians of all skill levels. 

At the heart of our organization is the conservatory’s thriving scholarship program. SCM grants music scholarships to children whose families would otherwise be unable to provide lessons, providing free private lessons, instruments, and supplies to over 200 students per year. 

Given the decrease in arts education in schools, SCM strives to make music education accessible to the L.A. community at large.

SCM seeks $1 million to support the cost of its annual operations.

Thanks to The Giving List’s novel matching program, all donations up to $1,500 will be matched.


Our mission at Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is to facilitate a dynamic music education and to teach beginning and accomplished musicians of all skill levels. Our primary focus is on the youth of the community, but all are welcome and encouraged to participate. We offer private music lessons on all orchestral and band instruments including voice, as well as a variety of ensemble classes at a reasonable cost. We grant scholarships to children who qualify, providing free lessons and instruments. Performances and recitals put on by the Conservatory are a fulfilling experience for the students and a beautiful outreach to the community. Our goal is to keep our standard of teaching at the highest level while maintaining a friendly, fun and nurturing environment. The study of music enriches not only the lives of the student and teacher, but the community and society as well.
O: (323) 665-3363 | C: (213) 399.0981 
Director: Jennifer Rey

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We at Silverlake Conservatory have been doing everything we can to navigate through all these twists and turns over the past year and a half, keep our school going, take care of our teachers and staff, and keep steadily teaching students. We were closed down for the first few months of quarantine, but were able to open our doors and teach socially distanced private lessons. As a nonprofit organization, we’ve always operated at a financial loss, but our annual fundraising efforts and the generosity of our board and people like you have enabled us to grow the school since 2001. So, on behalf of all of us at Silverlake Conservatory of Music, I humbly ask of you to join in our efforts and donate. We are an important element of the community. I promise you with all my heart, we will continue to teach music like our lives depend on it. We live for it.

Key Supporters

Patti Smith
Tracy Chapman
Shepard Fairey
Raymond Pettibon
Cecily Brown
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Barbara Bestor
Joe Braun
Bo Gardner
Eric Greenspan
Michael Lerch
Ian Montone
John Silva
Susan Wiesner
Gary Leonard
Mitch O’Farrell
Laura Friedman
Warner Bros. Music