Mikel Mays on music and mentorship and the Mays Music Center of Excellence performs

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“The mission of the Music Center is to provide high quality music lessons, programs, ensembles to the Chicago area that’s affordable and accessible to all,” says Mikel Mays, Founder of the Mays Music Center of Excellence. The center focuses on the two pillars of cost and diversity and currently features two ensembles. 

The first ensemble is Harmony and Soul, which is the revenue group. The second is the Divine Sound Gospel choir, which is the community gospel choir. “We’re working on a third jazz ensemble that’s going to be instrument only based music,” adds Mays. 

Mays founded the Naperville organization while still a student at North Central College

“I knew I wanted a music facility,” says Mays. “I just didn’t know how. I was in college. I was like, I don’t know how to start it, you know, and just start walking by faith. We started with the grant from North Central College, the Changemaker Challenge, which is very similar to Shark Tank. And so you pitch your business idea and they award you.”

Mays Music Center of Excellence hopes to mentor young people

“One program that we’re working on on starting is a mentorship program for young and rising musicians that want to just learn how to either make a career out of music or further their musical career,” says Mays, “and really taking them on as mentees with our leadership team to the young entrepreneurs out there, young business rising musicians, you know, follow your dreams, you know, anything that you put your mind to, you can accomplish it no matter what the outcome may look like. Just keep your head down, you know, always recharge, but you can make it.”

In 2003, Mays was awarded a Four under 40 Award for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.