With five new partnerships, new band and orchestra programs, and expansions of many continuing programs, the 2009-2010 school year at Education Through Music’s partner schools will be an exciting one. ETM is partnering with 23 schools this year, and in an effort to provide more New York City children with access to music education, is serving a record 11,000 students.
Five new schools have joined ETM’s list of partners: M.S. 180, a middle school in the Bronx, P.S. 169 and P.S. 182 in the Bronx, and P.S. 75 and St. James in Manhattan. These schools were chosen because they share ETM’s vision of providing every student with a comprehensive music education. The principals of these schools, Frank Uzzo, Cristine Vaughan, Anne O’Grady, Robert O’Brien, and Anne Marie McGoldrick, all demonstrate strong leadership and a desire to incorporate quality music programs into their schools.
Along with these new partnerships, ETM initiated several new programs at existing partner schools. P.S. 76 and P.S. 121 launched their first band programs for the 5th grade, and St. Ann and St. Clare Schools are offering string orchestra to grades 4-8, building from their previous violin programs. These programs take place in addition to weekly, in-school general music instruction, and include two to three rehearsals per week before or after school, and weekly group lessons during the school day.
In September, ETM held orientation sessions at each school to introduce the band and orchestra programs to parents, staff, and students. The meetings received an overwhelming turnout, with close to 500 parents and students attending the sessions.
ETM is thrilled to report that over 80 fifth graders are currently participating in the band at P.S. 76, and the P.S. 121 band and St. Ann and St. Clare orchestras each have 40-50 students. These numbers exceeded expectations, and set the stage for a very successful first year.
All of ETM’s returning partner school programs received upgrades that will benefit the entire school community. ETM provided teaching artists at all 23 partner schools with acoustic guitars as an additional instructional tool. Both P.S. 3 and P.S. 256 in Brooklyn received funding from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to purchase a state-of-the-art sound system, choral risers, SMART Boards, and instruments.
ETM began its first partnership with a public middle school this September. M.S. 180, located in Co-op City in the Bronx, is a 700-student middle school that serves many children who previously attended ETM’s partner elementary schools. ETM provides general music instruction to every student at M.S. 180, and also launched an elective orchestra program, giving students from P.S. 68 the chance to continue string instruction in middle school. Next fall, ETM plans to launch a band program at M.S. 180 as well, so that students from P.S. 76 and P.S. 121 can continue their participation in band.
M.S. 180 also secured funding from outgoing Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and New York City Council Member Larry B. Seabrook to install a Music Technology Lab in the school. The lab will house Macintosh computers, electric guitars, and MIDI keyboards for a thirty-student class. The school is currently in the process of identifying proper equipment vendors for the lab, and anticipates installation in January of 2010. Principal Frank Uzzo and the entire school community are eager to complete this exciting project. Mr. Uzzo said, “The concept is a hands-on approach to learning music and would encourage students to immerse themselves in the arts. No other school in the Bronx will have such a wonderful facility.”
ETM thanks the VH1 Save the Music Foundation for providing instruments to P.S. 121 and M.S. 180. The P.S. 76 band program is supported in part by the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.