Long-term In-school Partnerships and After-school Programs with Social Development Components

  • Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley, an arts-based after-school social initiative at two sites for 105 students. Of the over 18,000 students in the Allentown School District, 88% come from low-income families. El Sistema Lehigh Valley helps young people who are underserved or who have special needs develop life skills learned by participating in music instruction, large ensemble performances, academic tutoring, field trips, and a mentoring service. For the past three years, participants who regularly attended the program surpassed reading and math testing goals set by the Allentown School District. The program is run in cooperation with the Allentown School District and additional partners including United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley, the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown, Kutztown University Orchestra, DeSales University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, and Allentown Parks and Recreation.
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for OrchKids, an El Sistema-inspired program providing music instruction, mentorship, instruments, academic tutoring, healthy meals, field trips, and holistic family services at no cost to more than 825 students at five school sites.  In the average OrchKids neighborhood, 71.2% of young people live in single-parent, female-headed households and the high school completion rate is 75%.  The orchestra’s numerous partners include the Baltimore City Public School System, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the Peabody Institute, among others. In the 2014-2015 academic year, OrchKids will implement an enhanced curriculum and a new string pedagogy incorporating a diverse range of traditional American string playing techniques and musical genres, including folk fiddling, jazz, world music, and classical music. The orchestra is using a longitudinal self-evaluation that compares an OrchKids cohort with non-OrchKids peers on test scores, school attendance, rates, musical skills, and social behaviors.
  • DC Youth Orchestra Program, to develop and implement a pre-orchestra curriculum for pre-kindergarten children ages 3 to 5. For nearly 60 years, the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) has fostered the musical development of nearly 50,000 young people in the Washington, D.C. region, ages 4 to 18. Partnering with DC Public Schools and Colombia’s Batuta Foundation, the second-largest El Sistema-inspired national program in the world, DCYOP will pilot the pre-kindergarten program with 50 students. The curriculum will then be made available to DC Public Schools music education teachers for use in their pre-kindergarten classes. More than 5,500 students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten at 60 elementary schools. Until now, DC Public Schools music teachers have not had access to an early childhood curriculum. DCYOP seeks to provide quality music education -- regardless of ability, background, or socioeconomic status -- through group lessons and ensemble training on all orchestral instruments.
  • El Paso Symphony Orchestra, for Tocando, an El Sistema-inspired after-school program offering immersive music instruction, field trips, academic support, and mentoring four days per week and free of charge for students in grades 1 through 5, as well as summer classes. The first program of its kind in the El Paso region, Tocando will expand to serve 90 students at two campuses from El Paso’s El Segundo Barrio neighborhood, in the heart of a federally recognized Empowerment Zone. Census data from 2010 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 ongoing violence in Juarez due to the drug war.
  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, a youth and family development program reaching 235 low-income students in grades K through 12. The program’s goal is to engage students early in elementary school and have the participants continue through high school by providing music education, positive role models, mentoring, and family support services. Priority enrollment is offered to students living in Center Township, the area with Indianapolis’ lowest graduation rate and one of the highest number of families living in poverty. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians conduct private lessons and participate in rehearsals and concerts; the program also includes several professional development workshops.
  • Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, to further expand its Kalamazoo Kids in Tune after-school music and youth development program, based on the El Sistema model and serving up to 85 students during the school year and 40 in the summer. 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 and ongoing ensemble-based music learning. Activities include a daily nutritious meal, small group music lessons, orchestra rehearsals, choir, musicianship training, and dance classes. Daily homework help is provided, as well as periodic field trips and one-on-one tutoring with volunteers for students with identified needs. 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 music 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 classical music instruction each week at no cost. They participate in four after-school sessions per week, as well as 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). Serving 700 students at three sites, the El Sistema-inspired program currently provides free after-school instrumental instruction, ensemble performance opportunities, and academic support. 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. Students receive 700 hours of instruction per year including music instruction, sectionals, tutoring, and rehearsals, with Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians spending more than 100 hours in residency with YOLA students. The grant will be used to add new woodwinds and brass sections to YOLA’s third site and increase YOLA’s leadership development offerings as the program’s oldest students begin to apply to college and enter the workforce.
  • Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, for Progressions, its string training program for students in grades 3 and 4. The program, now in its twelfth season, provides private instruction; orchestral training in violin, viola, cello and bass; and enrichment offerings including music theory instruction, side-by-side instruction with the orchestra’s higher-level ensembles, and opportunities to learn other art forms, such as dance, theater, and jazz. Seventy-two students engage in programming three times per week for the 35-week academic year; support for summer instruction is also provided. All students receive full scholarships for instruments, private lessons, membership, and transportation as needed during the two-year program. At the end of the two years, students audition for the next level of the youth orchestra; matriculation rates since inception for those second-year students have been as high as 90-100%. Program partners include the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools.
  • New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project), an after-school music instruction program inspired by the El Sistema model. The program currently takes place in partnership with University Heights Charter School in Newark, with plans to expand to public, private, and other charter schools. As many as 60 students in grades 4 through 8 will participate in the program in the 2014-15 season, receiving weekly instruction totaling 4.5 hours over 3 days per week for 30 weeks. They will also participate in public concerts, peer exchanges, and attend NJSO performances. Students receive group lessons in violin, viola, or cello and musicianship lessons, where they learn theory, dictation/ear training, and composition. They also participate in larger ensemble rehearsals to prepare for public performance. Three NJSO musicians serve as coaches-in-residence, working with participants monthly, and providing students with direct contact with professional musicians.
  • Orchestra of St. Luke’s, for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), an El Sistema-inspired after-school music program in partnership with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and three area elementary schools. Approximately 90 students in grades 2 through 7 will participate in more than 850 hours of programming this season, with the program now including community-wide rehearsals at the Orchestra’s new rehearsal/recording facility, The DiMenna Center, as well as increased opportunities for Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) musicians to coach advanced students. The program serves children in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, an area lacking enriching arts experiences despite its proximity to the city’s cultural destinations. Additionally, Orchestra of St. Luke’s collaborates with five other El Sistema-inspired programs, providing leadership expertise and giving students in these programs access to OSL musicians and The DiMenna Center for coaching, attendance at OSL open rehearsals, and shared professional development sessions.
  • San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, for Community Opus Project, three after-school instrumental music programs, and its close partnership with Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESC). The El Sistema-inspired program provides access to 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 the Opus Strings Orchestra and Opus Band, for elementary students, and the Opus Honor Orchestra, open to middle and high school music students. The program also provides in-school general music lessons for third graders, and Opus students are participating in a 5-year longitudinal research study with the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Human Development to learn how musical training affects children’s brain development and skills such as language and attention. The Opus program was a critical catalyst for CVESC’s decision to provide a standards-based music education program for all 45 schools in the district by 2025, with plans to reach more than 29,000 students by then.
  • Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, for SYSO in the Schools, incorporating two programs: the Southwest Seattle String Project, seeking equitable access to public school arts education within the Seattle Public School District and diversity in orchestra musicians, audiences, and supporters, and the Endangered Instruments Program, addressing the persistent shortage of players of oboe, bassoon, viola, double bass, horn, trombone, and tuba in orchestras at all levels. SYSO in the Schools serves 700 public school students from grades 4 through 12 in 24 schools in the Seattle area, providing free before-school, after-school, and in-school music lessons; side-by-side rehearsal and concert opportunities for students; professional development opportunities for teachers; and instrument pedagogy training for SYSO teaching staff. The program’s teaching artists are all professional orchestral musicians.
  • Spokane Symphony, for Music Heals, a music education program for the children and youth on the Spokane Indian Reservation, in collaboration with the Wellpinit School District. 360 students, grades 1 through 12 will be served by the program, which will include Spokane Symphony music director Eckart Preu, Spokane Symphony musicians, tribal teachers, and the Wellpinit Schools music teacher. The students will create drums and flutes using traditional Native American methods and materials taught by experts from the Spokane Tribe’s Culture Department. The children will then learn to play their instruments and read music, with instruction provided by Spokane Symphony musicians. The students will also learn the Salish language, and participate in interactive, hands-on musical performances, including a culminating concert at the Spokane Tribal grounds, when the Symphony and students will pay alongside each other.
  • Stockton Symphony, for Harmony Stockton, a daily, free after-school music and academic enrichment program serving 68 students in grades 3 through 7 at Marshall Elementary School, a Title 1 school with a diverse population, 90% of which is eligible for free or reduced price meals. The El Sistema-inspired program is the result of a partnership among the University of the Pacific, 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. The program will be expanded to include a week-long songwriting residency for both Harmony Stockton students and two classes of second graders from Marshall. Some of the songs composed during the residency will be professionally arranged for full orchestra and performed by the Stockton Symphony.
  • Yakima Symphony Orchestra, for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA), a daily El Sistema-inspired after-school music program with summer session. Hosted at a Title 1 elementary school, 51 students ages 8 to13 in two orchestras will receive instruction and participate in performances and special events. Yakima Ensemble for Strings (YES), a new YAMA leadership program, has been formed for older, advanced students who are transitioning into middle school. YAMA also addresses needs of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO), which has struggled to attract and retain talented musicians as many musicians migrate to larger metropolitan areas. Through the YSO’s Teaching Artist program, one team teaching artist and two private teaching artists, all three of whom are YSO musicians, will work with the students. Additionally,20-25 YSO musicians will present workshops, ensuring that YAMA students have regular contact with high-caliber professional teaching artists and musicians.