How To Use ESSER Funds for Your Music and Theater Programs


The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund is a vital resource available to schools and educational institutions across the United States. Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program aims to provide financial support for a variety of educational needs. One area that can greatly benefit from this funding is your school’s music and theater programs, with ESSER funds being used to upgrade facilities, purchase equipment, and foster talent. In this article, we will explore the potential uses of ESSER funds for your music and theater programs and provide guidance on how to make the most of these resources.

1. Upgrading Facilities

High-quality facilities are essential for a thriving music and theater program. Unfortunately, budget constraints can make it difficult for schools to maintain up-to-date rehearsal spaces, auditoriums, or music rooms. ESSER funds can be used to address these issues by:

Renovating existing spaces: This might include improving acoustics, installing new seating, or upgrading lighting systems.

– Expanding available spaces: Constructing new rehearsal rooms or performance venues is an excellent long-term investment in your music and theater programs.

2. Purchasing Equipment

From instruments and sheet music to costumes and sets, a successful music or theater production requires a significant investment in equipment. ESSER funds can be allocated towards these needs by:

– Purchasing new instruments: Update your school’s inventory with quality instruments that will last for years to come.

– Acquiring sheet music or scripts: To offer a diverse range of material that challenges and entertains students while developing their skills.

– Investing in technology: Audio equipment, lighting systems, and other stage technologies are crucial components of any modern production.

3. Professional Development

ESSER funds may also be used for professional development opportunities aimed at enhancing the expertise of teachers involved in music and theater programs. This can include:

– Workshops and seminars: To improve teaching methods, curriculum development, or specialized skills such as directing or playwriting.

– Certification programs: For teachers to gain additional qualifications and credibility within the performing arts community.

– Conference attendance: To engage with leading experts in the field, share best practices, and network with other professionals.

4. Student Support and Enrichment

Students involved in music and theater need an environment that fosters creative growth and development. ESSER funds can be utilized to provide additional support for student success through:

– Tutoring sessions: Offer supplementary lessons for students who need additional help in their music or theater courses.

– Masterclasses with guest artists: Connect your students with renowned professionals in the field to refine their skills and gain invaluable insights.

– Field trips or performance attendance: Expose students to high-quality performances that will inspire them and deepen their understanding of the art form.


ESSER funds offer a unique opportunity for schools to enhance their music and theater programs significantly. By allocating resources strategically, your institution can upgrade facilities, purchase equipment, support professional development for teachers, and enrich students’ experiences in the performing arts. By doing so, you are investing not only in your school’s future but in fostering the talents of the next generation of musicians and actors.

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