The Neighborhood Music School is run by the following dedicated administrative staff:

Karen Louis, Executive Director

“Where words fail, music speaks” – Hans Christian Anderson

Music has played a definitive and restorative role throughout my life and career. I am thrilled, honored and humbled to serve as Executive Director of Neighborhood Music School and to be part of this artistic anchor and home in the Boyle Heights community. As a child, music- and the process of building music- was integral to my discovery, play, problem solving and comprehension. As a teenager, music took on another role as a mentor, a destination, a community, and a directional guide through endless challenges and opportunities. As a teaching and performing artist, music became an incredible tool for storytelling and identity. As I continue to grow, so do the awareness and appreciation of the massive power that the arts- and music in particular- have on all of us, all of the time.

With an undergraduate degree in Theatre from the College of Wooster, a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, Chicago, and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University, Los Angeles, I have worked as an actor (who sang often, if not well), arts administrator and teaching artist, teaching and performing on stages and in classrooms  in New York City, Memphis, Chicago and many other places along the way.  Since establishing my home in Los Angeles, I have built a path that includes arts administration, development and advocacy through my work as Executive Director of the Arts High Foundation, raising funds for the arts programs at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, as Deputy Director of Arts for LA. I recognize that the nexus of creative development fuels all other development: personal, communal, societal, universal. To do this well, and fully, relies on the level to which we honor our voices, experiences and our humanity while exploring and trusting the craft and the discipline with which we build our relationships. Neighborhood Music School is built upon the practice of honoring voices, artistry and development from teaching artist to student, community engagement, and as the anchor of being an artistic home to so many generations before, and so many generations ahead. 

I am thrilled to lead this talented team as we fulfill the mission of Neighborhood Music School and continue to fill this home with stories, growth, creativity and music. 

“Music is the best.”- Frank Zappa

Rachel Rosenbaum, Grant Writer

Rachel Rosenbaum Headshot

Rachel is a native Californian and musician who graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a BM in Clarinet Performance and a Minor in Performing Arts Management. During college, she became Co-Director of Arts Enterprise, a student organization that curates lectures and events focusing on entrepreneurship in the arts. In 2016, she earned a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management at the University of Southern California. For her capstone group project, Rachel and her colleagues created a Board Development Plan for the National Foster Youth Institute.

Rachel has served in fundraising and administrative capacities for several wonderful organizations, including the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, AFS Greater Los Angeles, and The Soup Hour at St. Matthias in Whittier.

In her spare time, Rachel loves attending concerts of all genres and trying new restaurants.


Elizabeth “Liz” Vidal, Program & Community Relations Coordinator

Liz was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from California State University Northridge with a BA in Journalism. While attending CSUN she was a member of PRSSA-Public Relations Student Society of America where she volunteered her public relations expertise for community events and on-campus outreach.  During college, Liz was a communications intern for both MEND Poverty and Valley Performing Arts Center where she assisted during community outreach events and maintained various social media platforms.  She is an active member of her church and volunteers regularly on Sundays.

She has a love for children and was once a teacher assistant for an elementary school. Liz has a passion for music and helps her friends with booking gigs and building an online presence for their band. When she isn’t working she likes spending time with family and being active with friends.


Melissa Martinez, Program Assistant

Melissa is a senior at Loyola Marymount, majoring in English. Her career goal is to become an immigration lawyer.

Melissa has ties to both Boyle Heights and to the Neighborhood Music School. She attended Roosevelt High School and graduated in 2014. While a freshman in high school, she worked for the Boyle Heights Beat community newspaper. Her second feature story, in 2011, was about our school. She spent the next year and a half taking lessons here at NMS, and has remained a faithful volunteer ever since.

She returned to NMS as our Summer Music Programs Intern and helped with restarting our summer music classes.

She loves traveling and hopes to travel to every single continent one day. Melissa has two younger siblings and currently lives in East Los Angeles.