MCCM Mission 


Mid-City Community Music is dedicated to changing lives through the power of art and music in San Diego’s Mid-City neighborhoods


Our Story


Since its inception as the House of Strings in a craftsman bungalow in 1974 the organization that would become MCCM has been a torchbearer of traditional music. Through various incarnations (House of Strings, Acoustic Expressions, Old Time Music, New Expressions Music), MCCM has been host to San Diego Folk Song Society, San Diego Bluegrass Society, San Diego’s Old Time Jam, the New Expression Mandolin Orchestra, San Diego Songwriters Meetup, and various other San Diego folk music groups.  In 2013, the retail portion of the business closed and MCCM became a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to serving those who may have no access to music education, community music making, or live music performance.


Today MCCM offers performance workshops, group and private lessons, weekly jam sessions, quarterly community concerts, online instruction and a robust teen program serving urban teens at half a dozen sites (see more about our teen programs below).  Events are offered on a low-cost, sliding-scale basis in some of San Diego's most ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to community members who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, sing and play in a group, or perform on stage.


Youth Programs


Since 2017, MCCM has been providing free year-round art and music workshops to teens in San Diego’s urban Mid-City neighborhoods.


Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS)

In cooperation with the San Diego County Office of Education, MCCM offers daily art and music workshops to justice involved youth at two JCCS sites:

• Bayside Community School in Barrio Logan

• 37ECB Community School in City Heights

JCCS serves students who are wards of the court, have been referred by social services, or are on probation.

Services are provided to students who are incarcerated, pregnant or parenting, in foster care, expelled, chronically truant, in drug treatment centers and group homes for neglected or abused children, or experiencing homelessness.

MCCM teaching artists provide in-school and after-school workshops in a variety of artistic disciplines including: 


• Guitar 

• Ukulele

• Bass Guitar

• Drums and Percussion

• Entrepreneurship

• Live DJing and Music Production

• Drawing and Painting

• Poetry and Creative Writing

• Movement and Dance

• Jewelry Making


After-School Workshops

With the support of the California Arts Council and the Parker Foundation, MCCM also offers after-school workshops for all teens in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhoods. Known as the “Ellis Island of San Diego” due to its high refugee populations, City Heights is a dense urban community of 102,000 people living within 6.5 square miles of each other. The average household income here is half that of the rest of San Diego, while the unemployment rate is double.  Teaching artists meet with students at the City Heights YMCA and local coffeehouses to provide workshops in drawing, DJing, ukulele, and jewelry making.


Teen Performance Workshops

MCCM provides free year-round performance workshops for local teens.  Instruction is provided for students on a variety of instruments including guitar, electric bass, drums, voice, and keyboards to play together in a band. Students rehearse pieces to perform at MCCM’s quarterly community concerts. 

Youth Scholarships

In addition to group workshops, MCCM also provides one-on-one instruction MCCM teaching artists focused on developing social and musical skills for qualifying teens. Students are encouraged to prepare a piece for performance each quarter.

Board of Directors

Mark Hill, President

Serving Since 2014


Catherine Clark, Board Secretary

Serving Since 2018


Bryan Willson, Board Treasurer

Serving Since 2018


Frank X. Nageotte, Attorney at Law

 Serving Since 2019

Drew Decker, Executive Director

Serving Since 2014





Advisory Board

Jessica Baron, MA

Guitars in the Classroom


Judith Coker, J.D.


Fiona Chatwin, DMA

Villa Musica


Laurie J. Hall, LCSW


Jim Hornsby, LCSW

Cultural Circle Poetry Workshops


Howard Pratt, PhD