Our Mission

Our welcoming community and faculty of teaching artists nurture the joy of learning music in people of all ages, abilities, and aspirations.

Director's WelcomE 2021-2022

Dear Students, Families, and Friends,

Welcome to another season at St. Joseph’s School of Music!  

2021-2022 is a year of rebirth for St. Joe’s as we embark on new adventures.

We have all learned so much in the past 18 months about flexibility, resilience, and courage.  St. Joe’s is still learning and growing as we adjust to new developments with Covid and online learning, and as we listen to our community. From the spring community survey we learned, for example, that the pandemic has given many families a moment to take a deep breath and slow down. You told us that you appreciated the flexibility and convenience that accompanied online lessons without the commute. At the same time, we learned that students crave expanded curriculum and ensemble opportunities.

In response, we are delighted to present programming and calendar changes beginning this fall. In September we will transition to a 17–lesson semester, with a flex week at the end of each semester. (Each teacher will communicate to their studio how the flex week will be employed.)  We have also adjusted the calendar to offer a break during MEA, while also keeping the regular vacation weeks at the holidays and in the spring.  Faculty and staff also agree that online learning should remain a regular fixture in our offerings, so that students can log on for their lesson in case of mild illness, or in case of bad weather and driving conditions. 

Also new in 2021-2022, SJSM introduces EXPLORATION MONTH. Twice per year, near the end of each semester, SJSM students and their families will delve into new realms via the unique Exploration Month experience. Students and their families are invited to challenge themselves in new ways, learn about new subjects, participate in ensembles, perform in community recitals, and develop firsthand skills and knowledge that they would not otherwise gain in the private lesson setting. All will have the chance to discover new interests and benefit from a better understanding of themselves as musicians and their place in the community. All Exploration classes, seminars, and ensembles will be included in tuition. Exploration Month opportunities are available to not only SJSM students - but to their entire family -with a design to develop well-rounded musicians, enrich families, build community, and spark curiosity. 

The capstone of St. Joe’s Renaissance, I am thrilled to announce that we will be moving to a new home! Beginning in early 2022, our new home will be at 1619 Dayton Avenue, a historic St. Paul public school building, formerly the Richards Gordon School. SJSM has secured a spot in this grand building that retains an inspiring original charm, and is one block from the exciting bustle and bloom at Snelling and Selby. (The building has its own convenient free parking, and is close to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, retail, and more.) 

St. Joseph’s School of Music began over fifty years ago, and we now mark a new chapter, as we embark on the next fifty years as your community music school.  With a mission to serve and educate through high quality music instruction, we are passionate about providing lessons and enrichment, knowing it is an essential part of a community's health and well-being.  

Thank you for being a part of the SJSM community, as we celebrate an exciting renaissance, and the next chapter in our work to enrich our community with music education and performances that uplift, sustain, and empower.


Madeline Cieslak
Executive Director


As an organization with a long legacy of work in social justice and equity, St. Joseph's School of Music renews our commitment to be steadfast in identifying, discussing, and challenging issues of race and color and the impact they have on our organization and its people.

  • We reaffirm our commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • We are resolved that our anti-racism commitment be reflected in the life and culture of the school through our policies, programs, personnel, and practices.
  • As we continue to learn, and with the help of our community, we will challenge ourselves to continue the ongoing work to further this goal.
  • We embrace our role as musicians and teachers to help our community heal and grow. We proceed with gentleness and compassion, and resolve to listen and respond to what our community needs.
  • We remain committed to making SJSM a place where everyone can flourish.


A proud nonprofit organization with strong roots in community outreach and accessible education, St. Joseph's School of Music positively impacts lives through the study, exploration, and love of music. Providing musical and educational experiences for every person who wants them is our priority, and we truly have something for everyone—from babies to retirees.

St. Joseph’s School of Music was founded in 1970 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet through the merger of the St. Joseph’s Academy Music Department and St. Agatha’s Conservatory. Our CSJ legacy connects us deeply to our community, with a history of providing music education to the Twin Cities for 140 years. Initially resident in the Carondelet Center adjacent to St. Catherine University, the School’s growth in enrollment and faculty necessitated more spacious accommodation in the historic Brown and Bigelow Building at University Avenue and Syndicate Street. In early 2022, the school will move to 1619 Dayton Avenue, into the historic Richards Gordon School in the heart of St. Paul.

Today we are a vibrant organization serving a diverse community of students of every age, background, and income-level with excellent music education.

Our students, from beginner to advanced, in instrumental and vocal music, have the advantage of one-on-one instruction from highly-trained and accomplished faculty. Students enjoy participation in early childhood music, our dynamic Suzuki program, and they excel in school and area student orchestras, bands, and in state and national competitions.

We perform all over the Twin Cities, offering abundant performance opportunities to our students at community venues, churches, and senior residences, as well as premier concert spaces.

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450 North Syndicate St.
Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 690-4364

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