Dr. Chad Bernstein: The Effectiveness of Music Mentoring for At-Risk Youth


Guitars Over Guns Founder & CEO Chad Bernstein’s doctoral dissertation aimed to assess the Guitars Over Guns program based on academic, behavioral and attitudinal outcomes over the duration of its first full academic year. Student performance and attitudes were evaluated along with interview results and anecdotal data to codify key elements with respect to curriculum implementation and program design. Dr. Bernstein’s dissertation can be viewed here.

Data was collected through Communities In Schools of Miami to assess academic performance, student behavior and attitude. This data included GPA, program attendance and pre-/post-test results from the Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experiences (ACOPE) Scale – indicating students’ ability to manage stress and cope with difficult situations. Information regarding student attitudes toward music and program effectiveness was collected using a music attitude survey created by Dr. Brian E. Russell. Additional information regarding student attitudes toward the Guitars Over Guns program was obtained through surveying participants.

Dr. Bernstein’s dissertation has been published by Lambert Academic Publishing. His findings laid the groundwork for the further development and implementation of the Guitars Over Guns program. In 2018, ten years after the program was first established, Guitars Over Guns has proudly served more than 3,000 students from disadvantaged communities in Miami and Chicago.