In-School and After-School Programs

  • Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley, an after-school initiative for 80 students run in cooperation with the Allentown School District.  Additional partners include United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley, the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown. Kutztown University Orchestra, Moravian College, and Allentown Parks and Recreation. Of the over 18,000 students in the Allentown School District, 88% (or nearly 15,900 children) come from low-income families.  El Sistema Lehigh Valley helps underserved and special-needs youth develop life skills learned by participating in daily music instruction, large ensemble performances, academic tutoring, and mentoring opportunities.  The initiative provides over 360 hours of programming for each student each year. Evaluations have shown increased academic progress and significant improvement in statewide testing of 3rd-5th grade students participating in the program.
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for OrchKids, an El Sistema-inspired music education program providing in-school and after-school personalized music instruction, life skills training, academic assistance, healthy meals, and positive mentorship to more than 700 students each year.  In the average OrchKids neighborhood, 71.2% of youth live in single-(female)-parent households and the high school completion rate is just 75%.  The orchestra’s numerous partners include the Baltimore City Public School System, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the Peabody Institute, among others. Future plans include creating a dedicated middle school program in FY14.
  • El Paso Symphony Orchestra, for Tocando, a free El Sistema-inspired after-school program offering intensive music instruction, academic tutoring, and mentoring four days per week for students in grades 1-4, as well as a music camp in the summer. Curriculum is developed to embrace the students’ Hispanic culture and introduce them to great works of classical music. The first program of its kind in the El Paso region, Tocando serves students in El Paso’s El Segundo Barrio neighborhood, in the heart of a federally recognized Empowerment Zone. 2010 Census Data confirms that this neighborhood is one of the poorest and least educated in the country, with 60% of households in the area living below the poverty level and 70% having not completed high school. A historic entry point into the U.S. from Mexico, El Segundo Barrio has been the starting point for many immigrant families, many fleeing from the ongoing violence in Juarez due to the drug war.
  • Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, for Jump Start Strings, an El Sistema-inspired after-school program created by the Jacksonville Symphony Association and partner organization Communities in Schools.  The program is embedded into TEAM UP, Communities in Schools’ free after-school program, and includes homework tutoring; enrichment activities; nutritious snacks and dinner at four Title I elementary schools.  Participants are offered weekly string lessons; after school practice sessions; yearly access to a musical instrument free of charge for each child in the program; access to orchestral mentors; and additional experiences, such as performances gatherings in The Florida Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. The grant will support new large-ensemble practice opportunities, giving children from all four learning sites the opportunity to gather on a consistent schedule.
  • Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, to further expand its Kalamazoo Kids in Tune after-school music and youth development program, patterned on the El Sistema model. A partnership between the orchestra, social service agency Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS), and the Kalamazoo Public Schools system, the orchestra-immersion program infuses an existing CIS after-school program with accessible, intensive, and ongoing ensemble-based music learning. Activities include a daily nutritious mean, small group music lessons, orchestra rehearsals, choir, musicianship training, and dance classes. Daily homework help is provided, as well as one-on-one tutoring with volunteers for students with identified needs, and periodic field trips. The grant will lay the groundwork for an enhanced curriculum that reflects an increased level of rigor, with more time dedicated to instruction from professional teachers.
  • Kidznotes, an organization serving 275 children and their families in Durham and Southeast Raleigh’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Inspired by El Sistema, Kidznotes seeks to lift children out of poverty through the riches of classical music. Beginning as early as pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, Kidznotes students receive approximately ten hours of intensive classical music instruction each week at no cost. They participate in four after-school sessions per week, in addition to two-hour orchestral rehearsals each Saturday. In addition, Kidznotes hosts a three-week summer camp for all enrolled students, providing 24 hours of instruction and practice each week. Kidznotes partners include East Durham Children’s Initiative, North Carolina Symphony, Duke University, Durham Public Schools and Wake County Public Schools, National Alliance for El Sistema Inspired Programs, and Communities in Schools of Durham and Wake County.
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic, for Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA), one of the largest El Sistema-inspired programs in the United States. The program currently provides free after-school instrumental instruction, ensemble performance opportunities, and academic support at two locations: YOLA EXPO Center in South LA and YOLA at Heart of LA (YOLA at HOLA) in the Rampart District. The students participating primarily attend Title I schools and live in neighborhoods with 75% of families’ household incomes at or below $20,000 per year. YOLA’s third site, opening in 2014, is a partnership between the LA Phil and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), which is itself on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles. YOLA will serve 600 students, aged 6-17, through its three program sites. Additionally, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will launch YOLA Summer Leadership Camp, a free, weeklong overnight camp for more than 70 children in 2014 and 120-140 students in 2015.
  • Music in the Mountains, for Prelude for Yuba Salmon, a collaboration between the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra and the organization’s Young Composers Project. The Prelude project provides a vehicle for classical music to be directly responsive to contemporary social concerns, and is a synthesis of film, environment, education, and music. Twenty-five student composers participating in Young Composers Project will be led through an environmental curriculum tailored for this program by partner Sierra Streams Institute, including in-field studies, lab work, and a local Native American tribe’s salmon ceremony. Orchestra members will work with the students in a series of workshops, and the students’ original compositions will then be performed at Music in the Mountains’ 2014 summer festival. The project will also be documented in a film, to be submitted to the juried Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
  • New York Philharmonic, to further develop Very Young Composers (VYC), an after-school program for young composers typically beginning in fifth grade, and drawing participants from seven New York City schools. VYC provides an opportunity for students with little or no musical background to compose and arrange original works, culminating with a performance by members of the New York Philharmonic. The program follows a 12-lesson format, delivered in weekly two-hour sessions at each participating school. During 2013-14, 84 students will participate in VYC, with another 32 students in the Bridge, the orchestra’s program for middle school students. Additionally, VYC and Bridge works will be presented at Merkin Concert Hall and on the outdoor plaza at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus, during the inaugural season of the NY Phil Biennial, a showcase of new music to be presented at Lincoln Center and in partner venues throughout the city in spring 2014.
  • Orchestra of St. Luke’s, for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), an intensive El Sistema-inspired after-school music program in partnership with the Police Athletic League (PAL). YOSL currently educates 25 students in grades 4-6 from the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, an area with a number of Title 1 schools and a great demand for free after-school programs with access to rigorous arts programs. The program’s pilot phase began with a summer camp in 2013. In September, students began a 4-day after-school program with string and choral instruction at PAL’s William J. Duncan Center, for a total of 9 hours of musical instruction per week. Students also participate in music and fitness classes, along with homework help/tutoring, and academic support. YOSL is additionally supported by Orchestra of St. Luke’s in-school violin instruction program for grades 3-7 at P.S. 51 and P.S. 111, providing regular performance opportunities. The program will expand to 50 students next season.
  • Pacific Symphony, to support Santa Ana Strings, the orchestra’s after-school/summer music education program serving approximately 300 elementary schoolchildren from three public schools in Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), which is comprised of 95% Hispanic/Latino children and youth, 82% English language learners, and 87% free/reduced-price meal program participants.  The students receive intensive violin instruction from SAUSD elementary music specialists and Pacific Symphony musicians, participating in workshops, twice-weekly small group classes, and once a week rehearsals as a full-group ensemble, including small-group clinics with Symphony musicians. Performance opportunities for students are an integral part of the program and are held frequently. The curriculum focuses heavily on group performances and addresses the California Department of Education Music Content Standards.
  • San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, for Community Opus Project, an El Sistema-inspired program providing high-quality, affordable music education for children in one of San Diego County’s low-income communities near the Mexican border. The Opus Project includes an after-school, on-site music instruction program at six schools, in-school general music instruction for all third graders at the six schools, a Community Youth Orchestra for elementary through high school music students, and professional expertise to a school district as it re-establishes a district-wide in-school music education program. In addition to a variety of community and funding partnerships, the orchestra has also customized a collaborative research initiative with the University of California San Diego’s Center for Human Development and the Neurosciences Institute to conduct studies of Opus students to learn how music education affects children’s brain development and behavioral and cognitive skills.
  • Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, for SYSO in the Schools, a program which provides free weekly music lessons on instruments to 650 students in two Seattle-area public schools over the school year. The program includes a string instrument initiative for underserved students, before-school, after-school, and in-school music lessons, a collaboration with a community orchestra, professional development opportunities for teachers, and string pedagogy training for pre-professional student musicians. The Endangered Instruments Program addresses the persistent shortage of players of double reeds, low brass, double bass, and viola in orchestras at all levels. SW Strings works in a racially and economically diverse part of the Seattle school district to ensure more equitable access to instrumental music programs for low-income and minority students.
  • Stockton Symphony Association, for Harmony Stockton, a daily, free, intensive after-school music and academic enrichment program serving 60 3rd-5th grade students at Marshall School, a Title 1 school with a diverse population. 83% of students are eligible for free or reduced price meals, 42% are English learners, and 100% are entitled to compensatory education. The El Sistema-inspired program is the result of a partnership among the University of the Pacific, the Stockton Unified School District, United Way of San Joaquin, and the Stockton Symphony. Students are given academic tutoring and homework help, and the remaining hours are spent in music study: violin, chorus, general music, and ensemble rehearsal. Two full-time string teachers oversee the program, and the rest of the part-time faculty are drawn primarily from University of the Pacific music education students. The program will expand to approximately 78 students next year.
  • Yakima Symphony Orchestra, for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA), a new El Sistema-inspired after-school music program. Hosted at a Title 1 elementary school, 45 students ages 8 – 12 participate in instructional activities geared toward their musical and social development, including small group instrumental instruction, general music and theory instruction, choral instruction, and full rehearsals with string orchestra. The program also addresses needs of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, which has struggled to attract and retain talented musicians as many musicians migrate to larger metropolitan areas. Three teaching artists will be funded by the grant; all three teaching artists will perform with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra as tenured or tenure-track members of the orchestra. The creation of this formal relationship ensures that YAMA students will have regular contact with high-caliber professional teaching artists, who will serve as mentors to high-risk children in Yakima.