Daniel’s Music Foundation

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Daniel's Music Foundation


Music has been used as a healing force for centuries. Its beauty, power and personal relevance has made it a wonderful instrument for the wellness and rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. We have learned first-hand from experience, the truth in this statement.

In 1997, one of five, undetected aneurysms burst inside the brain of 12-year old Daniel Trush. His doctors did not expect him to survive, but he proved them wrong. Music in various forms played a critical role in every phase of his recovery. From the songs that kept him connected to reality during his coma, to the keyboard playing that helped him regain his motor skills; and even the music history class he took that ultimately inspired him to help others. Most importantly, it was music that maintained his connection to the people around him – and to the very essence of life. 

This life-altering experience was the inspiration for Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF), a non-profit organization, founded in 2006, that empowers individuals with developmental and physical disabilities in the NYC area by combining recreational music programs with community and socialization. Our mission is to provide a comfortable, educational and social environment in which our members can enjoy, learn, and practice the joy of music together. We use the transformative power of music to create a community that is built on acceptance and respect.  For us, it is about having our members feel accepted both within our community as well as the greater community at large.

DMF classes do not offer traditional “music therapy” which is typically done on a one-on-one basis and is geared towards achieving specific goals and objectives. Rather, our classes are designed to maximize the broadest range of musical benefits for the maximum number of participants. They allow members to socialize in a group setting and promote a sense of community that is a welcome reprieve from the natural isolation of having a disability. The classes focus on empowering members to make clear progress on their own terms. They enhance self-confidence and self-esteem and promote personal expression and growth while celebrating who they are today. Most importantly, they enrich hearts and souls, and uplift spirits. 

Our music instructors come from varied backgrounds including music therapy, education (with a wealth of experience and proficiency in music) and professional musicians. Their respective training and experiences make it possible for them to develop and teach classes that nurture each member’s individual needs, while providing challenges and opportunities for growth in a fun environment.

Our state-of-the-art, custom-built music center located in East Harlem is where we call home. This modern, brightly lit, 8,700 square foot barrier-free facility houses 5 music studios, a recording studio and sound booth, and a fun cafe serving up snacks and beverages, appropriately named Snackappella. But what is most compelling is when our members arrive and bring our center to life with the magic of music.

Daniel's Music Foundation


We have a robust program offering available serving individuals with developmental and physical disabilities from ages 3 to adult at our music center:

Free Core Program  

As part of our Core Program, DMF offers 50 free music classes a semester for individuals with disabilities. Classes run for 30 weeks a year in Singing, Drumming and Percussion, Lyric Composition, Keyboard, Guitar, Singing and Dancing, DJ & Dance and Band, 5 days a week. These classes also include a culminating event in the form of a Music Festival complete with live performances, dance parties, music activities plus food and refreshments and are attended by over 600 people. This program has approximately 300 members and has a waiting list of over 250 individuals and growing.

Contact Nadine McNeil Nadine@danielsmusic.org or 212.289.8912 for more details

Daniel's Music Foundation Daniel's Music Foundation

Fee-based Programs

To allow us to serve more individuals who are on our waiting list or who cannot currently make the commitment for our Core Program, we have recently expanded our offering to include a variety of fee-based programs, designed for both individuals and groups in our community. This expansion into fee-based programming will also help support our long-term sustainability. In 2016 we are on track to serve over 8,000 friends of DMF through the following programs:

Field Trips: Recreational music classes for special education schools, Adult Day Programs and other organizations. The price is $180 for a one–hour class and serves up to 12 individuals (plus staff). They are offered Monday thru Friday from 10:30AM to 3:30PM and include accommodations for a brown bag lunch (supplied by the participant). Available options include:

  • Recreational Music & Movement
  • Drumming & Percussion
  • Rhythms Around the World
  • Adaptive Music & Movement
  • DJ & Dance
  • Jam Band

Private Lessons & Recreational Music-Making Sessions: DMF also offers a variety of private lessons and recreational music-making sessions for individuals of all ages, both in our community and the general public, that are interested in honing their technique or simply learning something new. Available options include: singing, guitar, keyboard, singing & dancing, DJ & dance and song composition & recording. Private lessons focus on just one instrument (including voice) while recreational music-making sessions provide the opportunity to explore a variety of instruments plus creative movement. Lessons are $75 per hour and are offered during the week, based on our instructors’ availability.

The first lesson is always used as a “getting to know you” session where the instructor has an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the needs, wants and goals of each individual. We will then propose a recommendation on how best to proceed.

Custom Programs:  For those organizations looking for a program longer than the one-hour field trip, i.e. Respite or Camp Programs, custom programs are available from 2 to 4 hours in length and include a variety of recreational music activities:

  • Group Classes
  • Karaoke
  • Dance Parties
  • Drum Circles and More


A unique option set up primarily for a Saturday outing (although some camps participate during the week), programs can serve up to 60 individuals (including staff) with accommodations for a brown bag lunch (provided by the individual). 

Daniel's Music Foundation


Contact Carla Sullivan Carla@daneielsmusic.org or 212.289.8912 for more details on any of the fee-based programs listed above

DMF Events & Activities

To supplement both our Core and Fee-based programs, throughout the year we host a variety of Events and Activities at our center to serve our community:

Monthly Themed Adult Dance Parties: On a regular basis, DMF hosts themed dance parties for adults, 18 years of age and older, at our music center from 6PM to 9PM. $20.00 per person admission includes food and beverage.

Family Pizza Dance Parties: On select dates, DMF hosts a family-friendly afternoon filled with music, dancing and fun at our Family Pizza Dance Parties. Admission price is $12 per person and includes: 2 hour dance party, 1 slice of pizza, snacks and a drink.

DMF Underground: A free event series that exposes members of the DMF Community to new artists and types of music, and introduces DMF to new audiences. Hosted 5 times per year, a different keynote artist performs a 20-minute set, followed by an open-mic session.

Visit our website www.danielsmusic.org under the What’s Happening link for details on upcoming DMF events and activities

New Program

Enhancing our mission, we are also committed to creating opportunities that breakdown the misconceptions and perceived challenges surrounding individuals with disabilities that exist in our society today. In addition to our Music Festivals and DMF Underground performances, we have recently launched a new program, the DMF Diversity Awareness through Music Initiative, with private schools and other organizations to create opportunities among members of the DMF community and other organizations that foster acceptance and respect. The goal of this program is to use music to build a bridge between our community and the greater community in a safe, comfortable and approachable environment. The following options are being offered:

  • Basic Program: built for groups, a one time event integrating up to 15 people into our Core classes as volunteers
  • Volunteer Program: a longer term commitment as a supplement to the Basic Program
  • Diversity Exchange: a 2-hour private event that includes activities, conversation and music that promotes socialization in a comfortable setting.
  • Wednesday’s with Daniel’s Music: A one-hour off-site program led by Daniel, his brother Dr. Michael Trush, as well as a DMF Instructor. This program is available to schools and other organizations to reinforce the Diversity Awareness through Music Program.

For more information on the DMF Diversity Awareness through Music Initiative please contact Carla Sullivan Carla@daneielsmusic.org or 212.289.8912

For more information on our organization, our programs or the community we so passionately serve, we invite you to visit our website at www.danielsmusic.org or call us at 212.289.8912. Thank you for your interest.  

Daniel's Music Foundation

Daniel’s Music Foundation offers a variety of recreational music programs for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities ages 3 to adult at their one-of-a-kind music center located in East Harlem. Their Core Program offers free 50 classes a semester, but currently has a waiting list, so they offer other fee-based programs to serve more individuals as well, including private one-one-one lessons and recreational music-making sessions, adult-themed Dinner Dance parties, Family Pizza Dance Parties, and field trips for groups. All programs use the power of music to build socialization and community.

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