About Us

Founded in 1999, A Gift for Music is A Gift for Teaching’s flagship arts education program designed to provide students with musical enrichment, practice, and performance. As a nationally recognized, award-winning program, A Gift for Music was founded on the idea that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic status, should have access to the life-changing benefits of a quality music education. Since its inception, A Gift for Music has worked with more than 10,000 students throughout Central Florida, teaching them how to play string instruments and transforming them into dedicated, lifelong musicians.

Who We Are

Our Mission is to empower Orlando’s under-resourced youth to envision a positive future for themselves and discover their own creativity through music and music education.

Our program actively ensures that each of our students develops persistence, discipline, teamwork, and creative problem-solving skills by utilizing each of the following musical avenues – all 100% tuition free:

  • After-school Violin Music Instruction at five Orange County public elementary schools
  • Five distinct skill levels of our Saturday Strings Orchestra
  • Tuition-Free Private Lessons
  • Summer Camp
  • Community Performances
  • Exposure to Higher Education

Since 2012, 100% of students who have gone through the A Gift for Music program from the 3rd grade through the 12th grade have graduated high school and gone on to attend college.


Chad McClellan, Director

Chad McClellan, Director of A Gift for Music, is a native Floridian and proud alumnus of Orange County Public Schools. He began singing at the age of 11 and carried that passion for music to Rollins College, where he studied classical voice with Curtis Rayam and conducting with Dr. John Sinclair. Prior to his time at A Gift for Music, Mr. McClellan taught choir and piano for Orange County Public Schools.

In 2008, Mr. McClellan founded Sounds Like Chicken A Cappella, a vocal group that performs throughout the Central Florida area. Since 2009, he has served on the board of directors for the Orlando Choral Society as President and Recruitment Chair. In 2017, he was appointed Director of Choir and Handbells at Merritt Island Presbyterian Church. He currently serves as Artistic Director for the Legacy Chorale and King’s Ridge Singers ensembles.

Mr. McClellan was the founding president of the Sigma Eta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the nation’s largest music fraternity. He is also a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Florida Vocal Association, Florida Music Educators Association, Barbershop Harmony Society, the Garden Community Choir, and is a proud Big Brother in Big Brother Big Sisters of America.

For more information about A Gift for Music, and other related inquiries, please contact Chad.

Gabriela Prado, Program Coordinator

Gabriela Prado, Program Coordinator, was raised in Orlando and graduated from Dr. Phillips High School. She began playing cello at the age of 11 and has grown a passion for teaching as well. Prior to her time with A Gift for Music, Ms. Prado taught elementary music at Eastland Christian School. In addition to classroom teaching, she also teaches cello privately.

Ms. Prado is a proud A Gift for Music alumnus, where she participated in Saturday Strings for four years. She is very excited and honored to return and serve on the staff.

A Gift for Music Advisory Council

Amy Cullen, Director of Education and Community, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

Scott Evans, Senior Administrator – Visual & Performing Arts, Orange County Public Schools

Chris Greening, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Lake Highland Preparatory School

Jim Hair, Partner & Orlando Office President, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

Dr. Keith Koons,
Associate Chair, Department of Music, University of Central Florida

Jeff Moore, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Central Florida

Daniel Muni, Owner, Muni Strings

Dr. Mary Palmer, Music Education Professor Emerita, University of Central Florida

Dr. Jeffery Redding, Director of Choral Activities, University of Central Florida

Jane Thompson, President, A Gift For Teaching