SAN DIEGO — The House of Music is teaching underprivileged youth in San Diego how to play instruments. 

But the nonprofit’s music program is proving to go beyond just helping children to develop their artistry. It’s also helping them cultivate life skills.  

Six-year-old Isabella Guzman plays percussion like a pro. 

“Music helps me when I’m nervous,” said Guzman.

She’s come a long way since she started learning, thanks to The House of Music. 

FOX 5 recently visited the East County Transitional Living Center where the House of Music held a music class for the children staying at the center.

“These kids come here and their families, they are formally homeless and they’re trying to get back into the workforce and try to get structure their life,”  said Chris Springer, Founder and COO of the House of Music.

He explained how some of the kids have been confronted with stressful and traumatic events that have lead them to have emotional and social distress. 

FOX 5’s Elizabeth Alvarez met Slava Sotnikov and got his input on how this organization has influenced him.

“Playing drums kind of helps you. Maybe, helps you be more confident of yourself,” said the 11-year-old boy from Russia, now living in San Diego.

“He wouldn’t talk and he could only speak broken English,” said Springer of Sotnikov. “And then, he started playing. He would come to classes every week and you could see his confidence building.”

Silvio Diaz, an instructor with the House of Music, says music helps to raise their self-esteem.

“Because they will learn if they can do something that they maybe thought they couldn’t do,” said Diaz.

The House of Music was established in 2019 and has been making a lot of noise.

“We team up with other nonprofits like East County Transitional Living Center, the Monarch School Project and we’re really expanding really fast,” said Diaz. “We have like six other places on hold like Father Joe’s, the Rescue Mission, Chula Vista Collaborative.” 

As for young Isabella, she is shining and so is her family.

“They were homeless. They were here two and a half years, and now they have housing. They have jobs. They are in society functioning and working,” said Springer.

Some of the kids in the program right now, including Isabella, are getting ready to perform in front of hundreds of people on Sunday, May 28.

The House of Music is putting on a salsa music festival.  It’s called “Festival del Caribe” and it will not only showcase the House of Music children, but Grammy Award-winning Latin artists are also coming to town to perform.

Proceeds from the event will help support the House of Music.