New mu­sic pro­gram aims to boost kids’ self-es­teem

Classes use clas­si­cal in­stru­ments to help with self-ex­pres­sion.

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Northern Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Faran Fa­gen Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

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; thesym­pho­ 800 North­point Park­way, Suite 204, West Palm Beach. 561-683-3287; & 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.

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