El Cerrito High School has a proud history of musical excellence and award-winning ensembles that have thrived since the school’s opening in 1941. The Music Program at ECHS offers students the opportunity to develop their skills through a variety of musical experiences that include performances, clinics, festivals, and travel opportunities. Over the past five years the program has seen a growth of over 250% and currently serves over 150 students. It offers four levels of concert band including the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Beginning Band as well as three levels of jazz band that include the Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Workshop, and Jazz Lab.

Over the past seventy years ECHS Bands have been the recipients of multiple awards and have performed in venues throughout California and abroad including performances at the 2015 New York Wind Band Festival held at the world renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City. In recent years the ECHS Wind Ensemble has been the recipient of five consecutive CMEA Unanimous Superior Awards and has been selected among California’s top high school bands to perform at the CMEA All-State Band and Orchestra Festival the last two consecutive years (2014 and 2015) where the group was awarded a Unanimous Superior Award in 2014.

The ECHS Jazz Ensemble and Quintet have gained recognition as one of the state’s top high school jazz bands. It has earned first place and been featured at numerous jazz festivals across the west coast, most recently being selected as finalist for Monterey's prestigious Next Generation Jazz Festival where the Jazz Quintet placed 2nd among some of the country's finest high school combos. In 2014 the ECHS Jazz Ensemble was invited to perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference in Fresno as featured student ensemble. The Jazz Ensemble has performed in venues throughout the world including the Monterey Jazz Festival (1991), North Sea Jazz Festival (2014), Montruex Jazz Festival (2014), Umbria Jazz Festival, and held annual performances at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland since 2002.