Music Builds Community

Meet the Howard Family

Music Builds Community

Music lets you to be free

Meet members of the Howard family; Demaryl, and his two sons DJ, and Akil. DJ and Akil are both students at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and study percussion under the Jazz and Contemporary Music program.

The Conservatory entered the lives of the Howard family when DJ participated in a WCM Jazz outreach program at Wedgewood Middle School when DJ was in 7th grade. It was around this time that Demaryl started to keep his eyes open for opportunities to foster his sons’ interests. A life-long resident of 
Milwaukee, Demaryl had heard of WCM before but was unaware of how WCM has grown into a community-driven organization.

After DJ had his first lesson with Mitch Shiner, Chair of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Demaryl saw the 
support his son received, and the future impact this would have in his son’s life. That first lesson has turned into one of many, and the impact WCM has had on the Howard family continues, as now both DJ and his younger brother Akil study at the Conservatory.


With support from our generous community of donors, to date, WCM has brought music education into the lives of over 16,000 students. Together, we can do more. Together, we can bring music education to any child, regardless of circumstance. Together, we can build community through music.



DJ Howard
Jazz and contemporary music allows you to be free. It can be whatever you want it to be.
– DJ Howard
teenager playing cello


Inspiring individuals & communities through exceptional music education, accessible to all.

  • 120 years of musical excellence in the community
  • 16,000+ students served in southeastern Wisconsin
  • Over 80 school and community partners in five counties
  • More than $200,000 in scholarships & aid awarded to area students



“Music is everywhere. Everyone listens to music. It is in your mind, your body, and your soul”
– Akil Howard