New music program aims to boost kids’ self-esteem
Classes use classical instruments to help with self-expression.
The beautiful sound of a violin playing Pop, Reggae and R&B filled the halls at the Naoma Donnelley Haggin Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach in November.
It was the first day of practice, and musicians from The Symphonia were showing young music lovers how the stringed instrument can play much more than just jazz and classical music.
Musicians also demons t r a t e d h ow v i o l i n s c a n express emotions. The children at the Boys & Girls Club were able to determine if the musician was happy, sad or excited by listening to the sounds from the string instrument.
“Now, the children are better able to understand how powerful these instruments are,” said Janice Clemmons, Club Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach.
The Symphonia, South Florida’s world-class chamber orche stra, has just unveiled its new outreach program, Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem. The Symphonia is pairing up with the Naoma Donnelley Haggin Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach to create a sustainable String Outreach Program for underprivileged children. This program is made possible through a Great Ideas grant from Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.
“It’s truly special because t he k i ds ’ l ive s a re be i ng enriched,” Clemmons said. “Music is such a significant way to help youth learn and excel in school, gain con- Cameron Sims, an elementary school student and member of Naoma Donnelley Haggin Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach, plays his violin as part of the Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem program for underpriviledged children, made possible by a partnership between the club and The Symphonia. Children ages 6 to 9 who participate in the annual program practice with their instruments twice a week for one hour, which culminates in their performance alongside the Symphonia String Quartet for friends and family. fidence, and become productive citizens in society. It teaches discipline without the kids even realizing it. This is such a unique creative outlet for them and we are glad to partner with The Symphonia to bring the joy of music to the lives of club members.”
Twice a week, the club members practice with their instruments for about one hour. The 20 elementary school students are given assignments to continue learning about the instruments and what becoming a musician involves.
The Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach provides after school care for at-risk children. This program is funded by The Children’s Services Council, a special district created by Palm Beach County voters, which provides lead- ership, funding and research on behalf of the count y’s children, so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.
Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem exposes children to classical instruments and music, both through hands-on experience and as audience members. The program includes the children and their families as partners in the process of building their own String Orchestra.
Children ages 6 to 9 are introduced to the pro - gram, which will be ongoing annually, by receiving one-hour instructional sessions in small groups of 3 to 4 children. As the children progress, one-on-one tutoring will be offered. Each child will receive t wo lessons a week. At the end of the semester, a Symphonia String Quartet will perform for and play side-by-side with the children, allowing them to show their families and friends the skills they have learned.
“Studies show how important music is to academic a c h i e v e ment , ” A n n a b e l Russell, executive director of The Symphonia, said in a p r e s s r e l e a s e . “Unf o rtunately, what we see in schools too often is, when faced with budget cuts, arts programs disappear first. By introducing a music program to the Boys & Girls Club, The Symphonia will not only teach these children how to play a musical instrument, but the kids will also gain skills that come with practicing an instrument and performing.”
Clemmons said that once club members were made aware of this opportunity, they were filled with questions. String instruments are not the typical instruments that the kids are exposed to.
“They were super excited o n t h e f i r s t d ay a n d t h e excitement is growing with each practice,” said Clemmons, of Boynton Beach. “Club members leave anxious to tell their parents what more they have learned about string instruments and are very proud of being part of the pilot program. They really look forward to the sessions and are really enjoying getting the chance to try instruments.”
The Boys & Girls Club has various communit y partnerships that offer different experiences to the kids such as ballroom dancing, arts, ballet shows, theater, sports and more. But this is the first time that a classical music program is being offered at the club.
“One of our goals at Boys 2285 Potomac Road, Boca Raton. 1-866-687-4201; thesymphonia.org 800 Northpoint Parkway, Suite 204, West Palm Beach. 561-683-3287; bgcpbc.org & Girls Clubs is to expose club youth to experiences to which they otherwise may not have access,” Clemmons said. “The String Program by The Symphonia does exactly that – provide our children with exposure to musical instruments that make up a chamber orchestra. We are thrilled to connect our youth with professionals to inspire learning.”
Stessie Jeune holds the bow to her violin while learning how the stringed instrument can express emotions during a Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem program. After listening to Symphonia musicians play their violins, Boys & Girls Club members were asked to determine if the musician was happy, excited or sad.