Students at Newark’s University Heights Charter School at their first combined rehearsal with Jeffrey Grogan, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement Conductor.

How Do You Spell “Violin”?

There’s nothing quite like the buzzing energy of a roomful of excited fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders, at least to judge from a recent visit to the University Heights Charter School in Newark, New Jersey. Last week, students at the school got to show off what they could do with their new violins—which they had had for all of three weeks, since starting a new music program. The 25 students in the pilot program, a partnership with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, receive free violin lessons three days a week after school, and participate in music activities such as attending performances by NJSO chamber ensembles. The program was launched in March and is modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema, which promotes music education as a vehicle for social change.

Below, watch University Heights Charter School students perform a brief selection under the guidance of Daniel Martinho, a teaching artist in the NJSO pilot program. At the end, they tacked on their own cheer, which says better than any words how they feel about the violin.



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