Music has been shown to help children in other aspects of their education. But not all children have access to expensive music lessons and instruments.
But a local group called MusicLink is changing that and helping students hit all the right notes.
The program provides more than 600 disadvantaged children in the D.C. area with discounted music lessons, free instruments and music camp scholarships.
"We create musicians one student at a time and that's done with simple link of finding student passion for learning music but because of financial problems is not able to afford them," says founder Joanne Haroutounian.
Students can learn any instrument they want, as long as Musiclink finds a willing teacher.
Alejandro Galdo, 13, takes pride in his playing. He says music helps him express himself. He's received piano lessons for eight years through MusicLink.
Alejandro's sister, Paloma, says playing boosts her morale as well.
"It makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something," she says.
Teacher Cora Lee Khambatta donates her time, saying every child deserves the chance to create music.
"It touches the heart," she says. "It's an expression, way of being human."
Some MusicLink graduates are now professional musicians.
The Galdos aren't sure about their futures, but say for now, they just love to play.
"I'm excited to see what I'm going to learn next," Paloma says.