Stories of Music

Sharing the Sounds and Stories that Embody the American Jewish Experience

Feel free to share your ideas for other topics to explore, or for ways to make these lessons more user-friendly.

Email us!

Engage your congregants and constituents to think about their lives and histories in America in new and different ways. Stories of Music is a turnkey adult education project of the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Our goal is to provide easy to deliver, fully prepared lessons on a broad range of musically related topics. Each lesson is designed to engage participants in adult education programs to think about the American Jewish experience through stories of the evolving nature of Jewish music.

Click to view program offerings and current lessons available.


What We Offer


Feedback from our expert pedagogic reviewers:

This lesson is wonderful, truly. I appreciate the approach, the coverage of the topic, and the focus. There is a solid through line and depth of the material. It feels like a lesson developed by someone with true mastery of the topic.”

My overall sense is one of deep appreciation. The lesson is clearly well researched, thought through, designed and organized.”

  • Comprehensive, user-friendly lesson plans prepared by master educators and reviewed by pedagogic experts on a broad range of musically related topics
  • Class presentation containing the audio and video clips that correspond to the lesson’s plan
  • Resource document for teacher and student use, in addition to student worksheets
  • Flyer templates found here to market your individual Stories of Music lesson, or series of lessons. Each template may be downloaded and is in an editable PDF format.
  • Notification to subscribers when new lessons become available.
  • Have questions? Download our Stories of Music Users’ Guide. See details on our FAQ page.
  • Please read our Terms of Use.


Our Stories of Music Team

We are deeply grateful to the two people who wrote these lessons:

Lorry Black, DMA, Associate Director, Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience
Rabbi Dr. J.B. Sacks, Educational and Curriculum Specialist, Stories of Music; Rabbi, Congregation Am HaYam (Ventura, CA)

And our gratitude extends to our team of pedagogic advisors and reviewers:
Mark Kligman, PhD, Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music, UCLA
Dr. Susan Helfter, USC Thornton School of Music
Rabbi Devin Villarreal, Thrive Educational Services
Cantor Sheldon Levin, Congregation Neve Shalom (Metuchen, NJ)
Cantor Julie Berlin, Temple Beth-El (San Antonio, TX)
Rabbi Adam Schaffer, Temple Aliyah (Woodland Hills, CA)


Statement of Standards and Quality

We will continuously strive to serve our instructors and their learning communities by providing curricula with outstanding quality (and consulting services) that promote excellence in education focused on the full range of American Jewish experience through music, in order to nurture people who are passionate about Jewish music and American Jewish life, history, and culture, and how they are intertwined.

In our endeavor to achieve this objective, we will:

  • Provide curricula and support materials of outstanding quality that promote excellence in education.
  • Write and produce lessons focused on the full range of American Jewish experience through music that live up to the best standards of pedagogy.
  • Listen to the needs of instructors and communities, and support their efforts through consulting services.
  • Build relationships between us, the cantorial community, synagogue educators, synagogues, and other Jewish institutions, organizations and communities, especially in North America.