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

Dear Students, Families, and Friends,

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

2020 has been an extraordinary year, and continues to offer challenges and opportunities to all of us. The months ahead will present more moments for SJSM to show you who we are:

  • A Faculty of excellent musicians and teachers, who care deeply about sharing the gift of music.
  • A nurturing and supportive community, helping develop bright, curious, and creative thinkers and musicians.
  • A school with a legacy of work in equity and social justice, resolving to listen with compassion and gentleness to what our community needs, and responding as musicians and teachers, to help our community heal and grow.

St. Joseph’s School of Music began in 1970, and we now mark fifty years as your community music school. Since then, more than 500 faculty members have taught over 25,000 students. Today, our learning community spans all ages--from infants and toddlers, preschoolers, K-12 children, to adults. With a mission to serve and educate through high quality music instruction, we are passionate about continuing to provide lessons and enrichment to our students during the pandemic, knowing it is an essential part of a community's health and well-being.  

We have been heartened to hear from our students how successful online lessons have been in helping students continue to achieve goals, and in providing outlets for connection and music making. Our faculty will work hard to bring you the excellence in music instruction that you know you can count on from us, in formats that uplift, sustain, and illuminate, from our homes to yours. 

We will continue to consult with students, parents, faculty, and experts to assess the viability and timing of our return to in-person instruction, and look forward to the time when we can gather again in person, especially for the live concerts and ensembles that we all miss.

The coming days will bring many meaningful moments - of learning, of music making, of humor, and of reflection. It is the task of artists and teachers to share the tools of communication of our shared human experience, and we humbly offer this to you.  In the process, we will discover surprises and breakthroughs that sometimes only appear when we look at the world from a new perspective.

If you are new to us, I invite you to reach out for a conversation about your goals, or take a trial lesson.

Here's to another year of growth for our community, our students, and our friendships. Come make some music!


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.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a lesson and a class?

How often do I take a lesson and how does scheduling of private lessons work?

How do I choose an instrument for my child?

What is a good age for a child to start private music lessons?

How do I choose between Suzuki and traditional lessons for my child?

How often should a child practice?

Any tips on motivating a child to practice?

What can you try before you allow a child to quit music lessons?

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

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