Our Work

Cellist Daniel Dorsey performs at the 2019 NIMAN Convening at Cincinnati Music Hall. Photo by Mark Lyons.

The Association

As a membership-based national association, NIMAN works as a connector, convener, and facilitator for music organizations and BIPOC instrumentalists. NIMAN will ensure real impact by providing specialized mentoring support for BIPOC musicians as well as helping institutions take meaningful steps toward equity and inclusion. NIMAN takes a multi-dimensional approach to impacting outcomes for aspiring musicians of color. Our work follows two paths:

  • We are building a comprehensive bridge of support and mentorship for aspiring BIPOC instrumentalists to navigate the journey from student to professional, assisting in breaking down barriers to achieving success in the field. NIMAN will match instrumentalists with advancement opportunities and mentors in addition to facilitating organizations to recruit prospective musicians from underrepresented ethnicities.

  • We will provide forums, resources, and trainings for our members to dismantle the structural inequities, biases, and systemic racism ingrained in our policies and practices that inhibit the creation of equitable opportunities and environments for BIPOC classical musicians.

NIMAN’s mission is centered around the values of Collaboration, Connectedness, and Equity.

  • We believe in working together and openly sharing information, best practices, and new ideas that lead to creating equitable opportunities across the field.
  • We create continuous opportunities for aspiring classical musicians to advance throughout the musical training bridge to a professional career.
  • We are committed to designing inclusive and equitable systems, and to dismantling all forms of discrimination in the field.

Guidance at Every Stage

NIMAN’s programs and resources support musicians of color at five pivotal phases of their development in five essential areas of necessary support, building a bridge that supports BIPOC musicians throughout their journeys to professional careers. We believe that all institutions involved in creating the bridge need to work as a networked consortium to assist aspiring musicians advance from one stage to the next. We are transforming the restrictive pipeline into a dynamic pathway that welcomes musicians of color.

Entry & Early Years

Entry point into musical instruction. Resources for instruments and lessons. Connection to role models. Encouragement and support for parents/guardians. Inclusive pedagogy guidance for teachers.

High School & Pre-College

Support for continued musical training. Campus visits to summer festival programs, colleges and conservatories. Culturally sensitive college counseling.  Access to scholarships. Information and resources for parents.

College & Conservatory

Advanced training and mentorship from professional musicians. Connection to graduate programs, summer festivals, and fellowship opportunities. Resources for instrument upgrades. Exploration of diverse career opportunities in classical music.


Intensive preparation for a professional career. Connection to audition preparation programs and support resources. Stipends for audition travel and creative projects. Access to culturally sensitive career coaching.

Young Professional

Support for navigating the professional landscape. Connection to peers and experienced professionals of color. Networking with music directors, organizational leaders, and creative collaborators. Resiliency training. 

“Chicago’s Merit School of Music was founded on the belief that talent is equally distributed, but that opportunity is not.  Merit wholeheartedly endorses NIMAN and is eager to work together to create a lasting, level playing field across our nation, so that our alumni and their peers – and the organizations who receive them – will thrive.”


What Our Musicians Say…

Chaz Salazar

flutist, teaching artist, and musical activist

“NIMAN serves as a bridge between BIPOC musicians and musical organizations. It will facilitate and align the various diversity and equity efforts throughout the field, and be the connector of musicians of color to opportunities offered by music schools and professional organizations along the musical pathway. Cohesion, collaboration, and sustained effort among different organizations around the country will be key to creating equity in the field.”

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