Provide Music Classes for Students in Harlem

by Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
Intro to Violin Students
Intro to Violin Students

The After-School Program at Opus 118 recently added an Introduction to Violin group class for kindergarten and first grade students. This class meets the needs of those students who wish to learn to play violin, but may not yet be ready to commit to weekly private lessons in the After-School Program's 30-week academic year. The classes meet for twice-weekly sessions, on Mondays and Fridays, and focus on instrument set-up and basic sound production.

Class size is limited to no more than ten students, to meet the individual learning needs of each student. In addition to this high level of teacher involvement, students support one another, creating a fun environment in which to learn. The class also prepares students to start private or partner lessons upon graduation, by fostering good posture and sound production.

The Introduction to Violin classes began in December and another class with a brand new crop of students will begin next week and we're really looking forward to it!

Opus 118
Opus 118

We have wonderful news to share about the growth of our programs, early successes in our partnership with Kaufman Music Center, and our planning for future years. Without your support, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Thank you!

As you know, we proudly serve students with private and partner lessons in our After-School Program, which offers highly-subsidized tuition rates and free ensemble participation for all who take private lessons. The program began on Monday, September 30th with more than 80 students registered, a remarkable increase over enrollment at the same time last year! Because many of our students cannot afford even the subsidized tuition, Opus 118 now gives financial aid to more than one-third of the after-school population.

Our In-School Program is growing with the addition of a sixth partner school, which includes a middle school. This year marks Opus 118's first foray into starting new violin students in the sixth grade. We are looking forward to the opportunities this opens up for future partnerships with middle schools in East Harlem.

This fall we also launched our new Teacher Training Program, which not only does gives our master teachers much-needed classroom support, but also helps us prepare for program expansion in future years. Our administrative staff also expanded to include a part-time Manager of Planning and Communications. We also welcomed a new part-time registrar to our staff who shares his time with the Special Music School and Kaufman Music Center.

The partnership with Kaufman Music Center has led to early successes beyond streamlined staff operations. Both new and returning funders have shown their confidence in our work with their support. As our partnership unfolds, we look forward to sharing our achievements and new developments with you. In the meantime, we hope you will consider renewing your support of our work in East Harlem!

Opus 118 End-of-Year Concert Dress Rehearsal
Opus 118 End-of-Year Concert Dress Rehearsal

Last month, students in our In-School and After-School Programs performed in Opus 118's annual End-of-Year Concert. This concert was the 32nd annual concert led by cofounder Roberta Guaspari and featuring violin students from Central Park East I, Central Park East II, and River East Elementary School. The evening also marked the 22nd annual concert under Opus 118 and the successful completion of Opus 118's first year partnering with Kaufman Music Center.

At the beginning of last summer, Opus 118 and Kaufman Music Center came together over a shared vision (the same vision Roberta had for students in East Harlem more than 30 years ago) music education for all students. The partnership has directly impacted our programs with administrative support from key members of Kaufman Music Center's staff, and funding support. It has been a wonderful year and we are looking forward to continuing and building on this partnership.

As we prepare for the 2013-14 academic year, we have many reasons to celebrate. In-School Program is growing with additional classes being added. Registration for our After-School Program is now open for the start of classes on September 30th. In the meantime, if you would like more information about our programs or to learn how to register for our After-School Program, please contact me at

We are looking forward to sharing another year of successes with you! 

Opus 118 Honored at Mondomusica New York
Opus 118 Honored at Mondomusica New York

Yesterday, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music was celebrated as part of Mondomusica --a three-day string exhibition in New York City. The exhibition featured luthiers from around the world, concerts, masterclasses, and seminars.

Students from Opus 118's After-School Program performed as part of a ceremony honoring Opus 118 for its work in the underserved neighborhood of East Harlem. Following the students' performance, Cofounder and Artistic Director of Performance Roberta Guaspari accepted a gift of 20 new violins from the event organizer, CremonaFiere. These violins will be used by deserving students in the After-School Program who cannot afford to purchase or rent their own instruments. Repairs for existing instruments are still necessary and are funded, in part, by people like you. Your gift helps ensure that students, regardless of socioeconomic status, have the opportunity to participate in our programs.

Thank you again for your support. For more information about our After-School Program or any other programs, please feel free to contact Opus 118 by emailing We look forward to hearing from you and to updating you again soon!

New York Daily News photo of Opus 118 Students
New York Daily News photo of Opus 118 Students


After a successful start to the 2012-13 academic year, selected students from Opus 118's four performance ensembles in our After-School Program played at Symphony Space following a screening of the 1995 documentary Small Wonders, which tells the story of Opus 118's founding. Other students performed for family members, friends, and their teachers in the first Recital Hour concerts of the year. These performances are valuable opportunities for our students to learn performance skills and to receive verbal and written feedback from faculty members on their progress.

This fall, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music was also featured in the New York Daily News because of our strategic partnership with a leading arts institution in New York City, Kaufman Center. Both organizations have joined around a common goal of providing affordable, high-quality music education to students of all ages. Under this agreement, Opus 118 remains an independent entity from Kaufman Center and continues to serve the East Harlem community. This partnership gives Opus 118 much-needed administrative support, allowing us to devote more resources to delivering the programs our students and their families rely on.

We have also seen early support of this partnership from many individuals and foundations, including a $55,000 pledge in matching funds from the New York Merger, Acquisition and Collaboration Fund. New or increased donations made before December 31, 2012 will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match from NYMAC. Any gift you make at this time will help continue the lessons and performance opportunities offered in our After-School Program to students that might not otherwise have access to music education. Thank you for your past support and we look forward to keeping in touch.


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Organization Information

Opus 118 Harlem School of Music

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
Project Leader:
Rebekah Harkins
Associate Director, Programs & Development
New York, NY United States

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