10 things to know about what we believe in and why we do what we do

1. We are Music Educators

Yes, we are performers, yes we are song-writers, but first and foremost we are Music Educators. We cherish the Journey of the musical pursuit and we take pleasure in every step.  We have mastered the skill of understanding the process of this journey, and we have whittled it down into carefully explained steps that students can grasp with ease and enjoyment.

2. We have Purpose

We believe that music changes  lives and changes the world. We’ve seen it happen time and time again, starting with our own lives. We have the opportunity to be a part of that change every time we work with a student at MMS. We believe in the importance of living fully in one’s purpose and we are grateful to be living out our purpose. We see the bigger picture of what we are doing and bring that into each lesson that we teach.

3. We are THE BEST

Simply put, we are the best music teachers in the bay area. This is what we are known for and this is who we are. We are constantly honing our skills, learning from each other and expanding our knowledge. We have a deep hunger to get better at what we do with each moment that we stand in the presence of our students. We pursue excellence in our music and in our teaching. Our teachers are carefully selected, auditioned, interviewed, and trained. Our lessons come with the MMS guarantee that students have a FUN, positive, and inspiring experience in each lesson.

4. We are Community

We have a vibrant community of musicians that share music together at our open mics, recitals, & workshops. We give back to the underserved members of SF by sharing our music at several community outreach events throughout the year. We believe that coming together to share music is one of life’s greatest pleasures and we encourage everyone at MMS to join in our wonderful community!

5. We are Servants

We are here to serve our students and our community. We see our role at MMS as an integral part in creating a greater world and actively seek ways to help everyone that we come in contact with.

6. We are Aware

We  consider our surroundings, our environment, and those around us. We enter our work space with our eyes, ears, and hearts OPEN to discover what it is that others may be feeling. If we see that someone that needs help, love, kindness, a smile, we do our best to offer that. We are not lost in our own minds, our own space, our own phones. We are present.

7. We are Problem Solvers

We believe that every problem has a solution and we do everything we can to find that solution. There is no problem that can’t be solved, there is no task that we “just can’t do”. If we don’t know the answer, or how to do something, we google it, we ask someone to help us, we seek out the answer. There is no “I don’t know” only, “I don’t know YET”.

8. We are Hard Workers

Teaching is a generous pursuit.  It requires a generous heart. We aren’t just “working for the weekend”. We love what we do and we give it our all.

9. We are Innovative

We actively look for ways to add new content, new ideas to MMS. We are constantly creating new ways to make MMS better than it already is.

10. We are Grateful

We come to this job each day with a heart of gratitude. We are grateful for our beautiful and creative work space. We are grateful for our amazingly talented MMS team that we work with. We are grateful to have such an incredibly vibrant community of children and adult musicians in San Francisco. Gratitude is in our hearts and on our lips each and every day.


Ciara McAllister started teaching piano lessons to the kids in her neighborhood when she was 12 years old. She has been teaching ever since. She moved to San Francisco in 2005 to pursue music. She began teaching adult students out of her two bedroom apartment in the lower haight in 2008. By 2011, she had more students than she could handle and endless requests for more, so she brought on Lizzie Clapper to begin growing the Children’s program. For 3 years, Lizzie and Ciara taught side by side in Ciara’s apartment until finally they were bursting at the seems,  reaching a total of 70 students each week in and out of that apartment.

In 2014, Ciara opened our first commercial space, The Lower Haight branch of MMS at the iconic corner of Haight & Fillmore. This move expanded MMS from 2 studios to 3 studios. The school continued to grow and grow.

In 2017, the Lower Haight branch was full as well and Ciara opened the 3rd branch, the Mission Studio, in the vibrant Mission district of SF. MMS now encompasses 6 teaching studios total, a recording studio, a small performance space,  and serves approximately 250 students of all ages.

We are so grateful that MMS continues to grow and is now a cherished part of the lives of so many. As San Francisco continues to change, MMS holds strong, believing that our purpose is to the serve this beloved city by offering the absolutely best and most heartfelt music education in the bay area. MMS is a small business, built by one person and held up by a team of less than 10. MMS is about community, passion, heart, and changing lives.