Neighborhood Strings is an El-Sistema inspired, community-based program of the Worcester Chamber Music Society (WCMS) that offers free music lessons in violin, viola and cello to youth from Worcester’s Downtown and Main South neighborhoods. The program provides affordable, high-quality arts education, fosters family involvement, and is open and accessible to the neighborhoods. Youth learn to make music together with musicians and friends from the WCMS. In the process, they discover a creative outlet that hones life skills like discipline, cooperation, imagination, and leadership. Teachers work to forge strong relationships with students that strengthen WCMS’s ties to the community. The focus is not just on the child as a musician, but the child as a citizen and a contributing member of society.
Highlights from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s new program, Young Musicians, as part of the organization’s Southern Dallas Residency. https://www.mydso.com/
Young Musicians performing with DSO Musicians at our recent Annual Meeting
Young Musicians Program Summer Camps
In Dallas, the ultimate goal of Young Musicians is to provide every student in Southern Dallas, regardless of the school they attend, with the opportunity to learn and excel at their chosen instrument. This will be done by continuing to develop programs in a growing number of sites spread across the southern region of the city.
From the Vanderveer Park Program: “Thanks to the Classics for Kids Foundation, we were able to start our new violin/strings program in May 2019. We now have six students who participate in a group lesson on Saturdays. They love it and are excited to be learning a new instrument. There are also four children on the waiting list so we hope to extend this in the future.”
Location of Instrument Grants given by CFKF, (PDF file)
Congratulations to our 3rd quarter grant recipients:
Boston After-School Music: This after-school general music program in an economically and socially challenged area is adding strings to give the kids there grades 4-5 more ways to experience music. There is currently no music offered in this system during the school day. The student population is 90% minorities. CFKF has offered $1,363 in matching support for 5 instruments to encourage this new strings initiative.
Charleston, SC: Allegro Charter School: This is our third offer to this organization, which serves kids grades 6-12. The program is expanding rapidly, and they need a large infusion of instruments to allow the kids to take home instruments to practice, and to have adequate inventory in general. We’ve offered $2,000 in matching funds to continue encouraging this arts-intensive charter school.
Chattanooga, TN: East Lake Montessori: This school serves kids pre-K through Kindergarten; they serve low-income families in an economically challenged area of East Lake area. They offer music through the bells as a way to promote creativity and storytelling. CFKF has offered matching support for one set of Montessori bells.
Greenville, SC: Legacy Early College: This is our 3rd offer to Legacy; they serve kids grades 2-12 in a historically underserved community. The program is growing quickly, and they need more instruments to support that growth. The student population is predominantly minorities, and CFKF is offering support for 12 instruments to continue encouraging their growth and the underserved kids they support.
Kamas, UT: South Summit Education Foundation: This program, located in a rural community east of Salt Lake City, serves kids grades 6-12. Once primarily agricultural, it now has a growing population of families whose parents are service workers for wealthier communities like Park City and SLC. This is a program in early development stage that needs to build inventory, particularly to allow kids to take them home to practice. We’ve offered matching support for 4 instruments to encourage this growing program.
Lexington Park, MD: Chesapeake Public Charter School: This public charter school serves kids grades K-8; they have a large and growing program, and an inadequate and aging inventory to keep up with demand and allow access to students unable to afford rentals. The student population is diverse, and we’re offering $1,500 in matching funds to help this school provide access to instruments for those in greatest need.
Los Angeles, CA: Harmony Project: We supported this large urban program several years ago. This large program serves kids grades K-12 with year-round comprehensive music instruction. This program often offers the only musical opportunity in an area where cultural offerings are scant. The student population is multiethnic, and many families involved are below the poverty level, with 100% of the students in this program qualifying for the Federal free lunch program. We’ve offered $2,500 in matching funds to further support this great program and the kids they serve.
Montgomery, AL: Black Seed Arts Academy: This arts school serving underprivileged kids grades K-12 needs to grow their inventory to allow their students more access to good instruments both at school and home. They come from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and the school employs a holistic approach to the musical and theater arts, immersing kids in culture. They requested support for 8 instruments at a cost of $5,815, and we’re offering $2,907 in matching funds to encourage this school’s vision and the kids they support in an area of the South we are working to expand our presence in.
Newark, NJ: Gray Charter School: This charter school serving kids grades K-8 wishes to build its existing Suzuki string program with more and better instruments. The program is located in Newark; their Suzuki Ensemble, comprised of 50 young players, performs regularly at school and community functions. We’ve offered matching support of $4,460 for 20 violins to encourage this arts-intensive charter school.
New Orleans, LA: Make Music NOLA: This private string program serves kids grades 1-2 in metropolitan New Orleans; they partner with area schools, with a focus on serving those families in greatest need. They offer both orchestra and chamber music, and also have a Saturday program that offers music theory and fiddling classes. 100% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. We’ve offered $4707 in matching funds for 17 instruments to encourage this program’s efforts to bring music to low-income kids and families there.
Paducah, KY: Lone Oak Elementary School: This is a new program to introduce music performance into the 2nd grade classroom in a Title One school that serves mostly low-income families. This town is in rural western Kentucky; the student population is multi-ethnic. 74% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. CFKF has offered $630 in matching funds for 30 ukeleles to encourage this exciting new program and the kids they support in this rural area.
Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Youth Symphony: This is the second grant we’ve approved from Santa Fe; we gave a grant there a few years ago. There are no other string programs in Santa Fe available for this age group. They serve kids grades K-5; the student population is multiethnic. CFKF has offered $2,500 in matching funds to encourage this youth symphony program and the kids they support in an area we have little presence.
Washington, DC: SWS Strings Program: This public school has a string program offered outside of the general music program for kids grades 4 and 5; they need more instruments to offer to children whose families can’t afford rental fees, and to replace damaged inventory. The school’s population is multi-ethnic. They are requesting support for 4 instruments, and we’ve offered matching funds to encourage this school’s vision and the kids they support who would otherwise be unable to participate.
Waterville, ME: Waterville Public Schools: This public school string program serving kids grades 4-12 is growing, and they need more inventory of new instruments to keep up with demand and attrition of older instruments. (many students have to share instruments). This is the only grade 4-12 program in Maine, and Waterville is an economically challenged area. CFKF has offered matching support for 7 instruments to encourage this rare and thriving program in rural Maine.
Twenty years ago, the public schools in Redding, California had no strings program. It had been eliminated along with many other strings programs around America as a common solution to budget problems. Mike McLaughlin, the school superintendent, had read about the benefits of young students playing an instrument and decided to try an experiment. He targeted Cypress Elementary School because it had the highest percentage of those living in poverty, the lowest reading scores, and an excellent music teacher on their staff. All third graders received two music lessons per week and the opportunity to become a member of the first performing group called ‘Strings and Things.’
The Cypress experiment was successful from the beginning. Within the first year, reading scores for Cypress students went from the lowest in the district to near the top. Attendance levels increased, parents and other family members became more involved, and behavior improved.
The experiment at Cypress was so successful that after four years it was replicated throughout the entire district. As these students graduated from their elementary schools, they had the opportunity to audition to become members of the elite and award-winning Sequoia Strings.
Now, Redding’s strings program is thriving. There are hundreds of enthusiastic students involved in strings instruction. The Redding School District performed a study of graduating 8th graders who had been involved in the strings program for all three years of middle school. The results clearly favored the strings students on all variables including grades, attendance, and behavior.
In 2000, Classics for Kids Foundation (CFKF) became involved with the Redding schools, offering a grant toward a $22,000 purchase of excellent stringed instruments. CFKF committed afterward to an ongoing relationship with Redding. Local arts champion and CFKF Board President Emeritus Judy Salter organizes fundraising performances featuring renowned artists and students from around Redding that raise more funds for stringed instruments. These events will provide many more quality stringed instruments for years to come for Redding’s young musicians.
This is a great thank you video from Newburg Middle School in Kentucky. Learn more about the impact a CFKF matching grant can have on your strings program.
As of July 2019, CFKF has Grant Partners in all 50 States nationwide. It has been a long-sought goal for CFKF to support string programs serving at-risk and rural kids throughout America though our matching grant program; many states have multiple CFKF grant initiatives completed or in progress. For more information, please visit www.classicsforkids.org.