Give In-School Music Education to NYC Youth

by Education Through Music, Inc.
Our students are so grateful for your support!
Our students are so grateful for your support!

Happy New Year from ETM! We are so grateful for your generous investment in our partner school students. By supporting ETM’s in-school weekly music classes, you are allowing thousands of children in need to develop the intellectual dexterity and emotional sensibility needed for a bright and prosperous future.

One of our core values at ETM is that every student—regardless of their talent or ability—deserves to receive quality, comprehensive music education. This is especially meaningful for our partner schools’ special needs students, who can cultivate vital skills through a nurturing environment that encourages them to persevere through their personal challenges.

For example, Ritchie is a partner school student in the Bronx who suffers from behavioral and mental challenges that make it difficult for him to be fully engaged during the school day. At the beginning of the school year, Ritchie was unable to sit through music class without causing a disruption to his classmates and often had to be removed for instruction to continue. Ritchie’s ETM music teacher could see that he was fascinated by music, and there was an opportunity to use Ritchie’s curiosity to teach him how to behave in class and connect with his peers. She and the classroom teacher decided to gradually increase the amount of time Ritchie spent in music, raising his degree of involvement with each class. After a transition period, Ritchie was able not only to behave in class for the entire period, but also to share positively and contribute to the learning experience.

His music teacher commented, “Recently, Ritchie was able to dance with a scarf to symphonic music without causing any disruptions. He sang one of our songs for this unit with all the right words, pitches, and actions all by himself. He has been actively participating and learning with the rest of the students in his class. It is a great feeling to watch a student who struggles so much with group activities learn how to appropriately interact with his peers. When I passed Ritchie in the hallway this week, I heard him singing the song he performed by himself in music. It's exciting to watch this student take what he is learning outside the classroom!”

Music has inspired Ritchie and given him the motivation to engage deeply with school and to bond with his peers. These are valuable skills that will serve Ritchie beyond the school setting and help him thrive as an adult. The future for children like Ritchie is instantly brightened when music enters their lives. It empowers them to believe in themselves, boosts their self-esteem, and transcends any barriers that stand between them and learning. Without you, Ritchie and students like him would not have access to quality music education and the opportunity to experience such dramatic transformations. Ritchie and all our partner school students performed in concerts in December, showcasing their new talents and abilities for family and friends. We hope you enjoy the pictures!

Thank you for your support and belief in our students! Help us promote music education in inner-city school by sharing this report with your friends and family. Let them know the impact their donation can have on deserving students like Ritchie.

Students smile triumphantly after their concert!
Students smile triumphantly after their concert!
Two cellists play with heart and soul!
Two cellists play with heart and soul!

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Students eagerly participate in music class!
Students eagerly participate in music class!

It’s an exciting time at ETM! Our new and returning partner school students are busy settling into a new school year, embarking on a journey of self-discovery and insight; navigating through their new classes and friendships; and learning important skills and knowledge along the way. ETM’s weekly in-school music classes are off to a great start, filling students’ school routines with joy and wonder as they begin to tap into newly discovered talents and abilities. Your commitment to music education has made this new beginning possible for our students! Engaging with music as part of well-rounded education can have a profound impact on the lives of young children. Not only do they increase their achievement in the classroom, but music class also serves as a healthy outlet encouraging self-expression and strengthening their social and emotional capacities. This is especially true for Kendrick, a third-grade partner school student in the Bronx. Music class is helping him cope with painful losses in his home life and driving him toward success in school.

Kendrick is in foster care and was recently separated from his brother when the two were placed with different families. The absence has been very hard for Kendrick, who frequently talks about how much he misses his brother, and the burden has caused his academic performance to suffer. In most classes, Kendrick is very distracted and needs to be constantly redirected to his school work—except for music class. In music, Kendrick is fully engaged with lessons and shows an eagerness to learn. His music teacher, Mr. Washington, shares that Kendrick is, “most responsive in music class,” where “he is just as focused as his peers.”  During one recent lesson, Mr. Washington was introducing body percussion and steady beats to students. Kendrick was so enthusiastic about the lesson that he helped Mr. Washington create a game based on improvised movements. After the game was created, Mr. Washington asked the class, “What should we call this?” and Kendrick—bursting with inspiration and excitement—said, “Mr. Washington, we should call it Get with the Beat!” Mr. Washington thanked Kendrick for his contribution and used Get with the Beat for the entire week. Mr. Washington notes that the two things Kendrick talks most about are his brother and music class. Music is encouraging Kendrick to apply himself in school, giving him the inner strength and motivation he needs to move forward in spite of his personal hardships. Mr. Washington said, “I am happy that I could bring something as positive as music into his life. It is moments like these that remind me why I became a teacher.”

Kendrick is just one of the over 25,000 students ETM’s partner school program is reaching this year. Because of supporters like you, we were able to expand our reach tremendously this year to serve even more children! Thank you for helping to provide deserving children with the opportunity to learn the self-confidence and critical skills they need to succeed in life. Your investment is building brighter tomorrows for inner-city students across New York City—like Kendrick, whose passion for music is steering him toward a positive direction in his life. Share this report with your friends and family and show them the life-changing impact they can have on children by supporting their music education!

Two flutists play with passion!
Two flutists play with passion!
Students smile infectiously during music class!
Students smile infectiously during music class!
A tuba player concentrates on her music making!
A tuba player concentrates on her music making!

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A student plays her flute enthusiastically!
A student plays her flute enthusiastically!

Happy Summer from ETM! Thanks to you, our partner school students have finished another productive, fun-filled school year where music was a part of their routine. This was most especially true for our ensemble students, who applied their extra motivation for and interest in music to playing in band or orchestra. Over the course of the year, these students developed stronger musical skills, cultivated deeper knowledge about their chosen instrument, and gained exposure to a larger repertoire of music. Last month, our ensemble students celebrated their musical achievement at the culminating, year-end ETM Festival. Over 900 students from 18 partner schools performed at Lehman College’s concert hall in the Bronx!

The ETM Festival is an annual event that brings all our ensemble students together to honor their growth as instrumentalists. Students perform a variety of music—from pop hits to classical pieces—alongside other ETM ensembles and in front of a live audience filled with friends, family, and the broader community. This year, a special guest was there to cheer on students! New York City Council Member, Andy King—a supporter of ETM and champion for arts education—took the stage to congratulate our students and express pride over their academic and artistic accomplishments. Third and fourth graders, who will be eligible to join an ensemble next year, were invited to watch their older schoolmates. The festival provides an important model of what it takes to play in a band or orchestra; it’s a concrete experience of what they can attain if they, too, put in the hard work and dedication it takes to excel at an instrument.

The concert hall at Lehman College gave our students a professional-level performance opportunity with the proper stage and acoustics to hold their vast talents and enthusiasm. Performing with their peers encouraged cooperation, team-work, and respect for one another. Seeing other ETM students from different schools perform gave them a sense of the magnitude of what they’ve accomplishing in music class this year and helped them realize just how far music education can take them. At the end of the festival, every ensemble student received a medal, rewarding their diligent efforts over the year and music teachers received a trophy to display in their classrooms. The hope is that these medals and trophies will remind students of their wonderful success and progress.

After the festival, our students shared with us their deep appreciation for being in an ensemble.

Joining band is really cool! I love playing the trumpet and I've learned how to play it and I've learned all kinds of music pieces. I have no bad comments. ETM is the best!
—P.S. 154 student, Queens

Since being in band, my personality has changed tremendously, as I have been influenced by my peers.
—P.S. 76 student, Bronx

My band was just fun. I love music! I learned about all the wonderful stuff music can have for students like us. I like how my teacher, Ms. Parr, gives everybody leads on music.
— P.S. 76 student, Bronx

I have had a good time being a percussionist!
—M.S. 180 student, Bronx

Because of you, our students were able to shine at the ETM Festival and flourish throughout the year. You’ve enriched their lives with music, enhanced their learning experience, and brought them closer to a brighter future. The ETM Festival is just one example of what your donation has helped build this year—an entire community of students are on track to reaching their potential because of your support. Be a part of helping our students continue on a path of success and help us share the gift of music education with more students. Share this report with friends and family; let them know they can make a difference, too!

An orchestra prepares to play their song.
An orchestra prepares to play their song.
A student concentrates on music-making.
A student concentrates on music-making.
Percussionists keep the beat!
Percussionists keep the beat!

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Happy Spring from ETM! Our partner school students have been hard at work mastering new music skills and becoming better learners. Your support has helped our partner school program provide quality, weekly music instruction to 20,000 students and has served as an investment in a brighter future for them. What better way to celebrate spring than to share with you the story of one student’s fresh start!

Music class helped Jackson, a 5th grader at P.S. 169 in the Bronx, to deal with loss and turn over a new leaf. Jackson had established a reputation as a happy, well-behaved student with a passion for music. His ETM music teacher, Ms. Gonzalez, described him as a “wonderful singer and cellist, a talented rapper, and all around musician.” But over winter break, Jackson experienced a personal loss in his home life when his father had to move back to his native country. Jackson was very upset over his father’s departure, and started acting out at school. However, there was one place where he was not acting out: music class. Ms. Gonzalez noticed that, “Music class is the one place where Jackson acts like the happy Jackson I’ve known since last year.” Unfortunately, because of his poor behavior in other areas of school, Jackson was removed from the orchestra for two weeks. His music teacher and assistant principal then developed a plan to allow Jackson back into orchestra on the condition that he improve his behavior in his other classes “[Because] Jackson loves orchestra and music, he is trying his hardest to be the model student he was before,” reveals Ms. Gonzalez. Music is keeping Jackson engaged with school and giving him the determination he needs to turn his behavior and attitude around. 

His remarkable improvement was illustrated recently after Ms. Gonzalez finished a unit on hip-hop. Jackson and four of his classmates decided to start a hip-hop club that would meet during lunch. Forty-six 5th-graders have signed up for the club -- over half of the entire 5th grade at P.S. 169! The students are writing their own raps, composing beats, and choreographing dances together twice a week. Jackson is exercising leadership skills and participating in a positive activity. Ms. Gonzalez shared, “Without music, Jackson would be lost. Music is keeping him safe, secure, and giving him a healthy outlet for his emotions. I am happy to have Jackson in my class, and will be sad to see him move onto middle school next year.” The student who was once considered difficult and troubled has now become a leader and inspiration to his peers because of music education.

Education Through Music’s partner school program supports students’ social and emotional development. Many other students are benefiting from their music instruction just like Jackson through an increase in their self-esteem, self-confidence, and motivation for school. Jackson’s story is just one example of what children can accomplish when music is a part of their school routine. Thank you for changing the lives of our students! Help us promote music education in inner-city schools by sharing this report with your friends and family. Let them know the impact their donation can have on deserving students like Jackson!

Students enjoy a guitar lesson!
Students enjoy a guitar lesson!

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A cellist poses before performing
A cellist poses before performing

Your support is giving new and rewarding opportunities to inner-city children throughout New York. Only a month has passed since the New Year—and our students have already impressed and inspired us with what they’ve accomplished! Partner schools held Breakfast with the Band/Orchestra concerts in January, giving beginning ensemble students a chance to showcase their new skills. After just a few months of practicing—many of these students had no prior instrumental experience—the ensembles played with confidence and professionalism for their friends and families.

One ETM teacher, who teaches both general music and string orchestra, took a moment to reflect on how much one of her students (a fifth grader this year) has matured since picking up the viola.

“Ramon’s mother told me one day that she has constantly tried to get Ramon into different after school activities, such a swimming, basketball and art classes, but nothing ever really stuck with him,” she writes.     

“Last year, Ramon began playing the viola with me [through ETM’s program]. He fell in love with the instrument and playing in an ensemble. Ramon’s mother let me know that playing the viola is all Ramon ever wants to do. He practices almost every night, he looks up violists on [YouTube] to watch and listen to and he is always talking about music. Ramon is one of the best violists in my group. I can tell that the practicing had paid off. Ramon was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to [a] summer music program last summer, where he learned more about how to play the viola from professional strings players. His technique has grown since the summer. Ramon is currently looking for middle schools that have an orchestra program and is looking for a private teacher.

 “He is friendly, kind and absolutely loves music! I can always count on Ramon to not only be a great musician, but a good helper and a leader during all music classes.

“I am very proud of all that Ramon has accomplished in the short year and a half that I have known him.”

Playing the viola has helped Ramon find focus and passion. And thanks to your support, Education Through Music is giving thousands more students in the New York City area the same kinds of opportunities. As always, thank you!

March is “Music In Our Schools Month,” a time to celebrate comprehensive and sequential music education nationwide. Show your support for ETM by forwarding this report to a friend or family member—they’ll be eager to make a difference, for Ramon and for all our students!

Onstage at the ETM Festival last summer
Onstage at the ETM Festival last summer

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Organization Information

Education Through Music, Inc.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.ETMonline.org
Project Leader:
Katherine Damkohler
Executive Director
New York, NY United States
$2,373 raised of $50,000 goal
 
45 donations
$47,627 to go
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