Tag Archives: music

Students in CHLDC/Beacon’s Percussion Ensemble Make Beautiful Music Together

Photo Credit: Sang You

Photo Credit: Sang You

Now in its third year, the Percussion Ensemble is music to the ears of students at IS 302, the site of CHLDC’s Beacon community center.  Since fall 2011, Teaching Artist David Freeman has worked with an average of 12 students in grades 5-8 on basic rhythmic hand drum techniques.  The children master basic rhythm patterns and then use what they’ve learned to develop their own compositions.  Through experiencing this music, the students also gain a deeper understanding of the language and history of West African and Caribbean drumming.

David says that working with kids and adults alike “requires a presence of mind, patience, openness, and a willingness to learn.”  He sees drumming as a tool to help his students “build self-esteem, accomplishment, and cooperation in a group setting” and to “develop inner strength that they can access at any time in any situation as they move along in life.” He enjoys being in the moment with his students, calling the classroom “a fascinating place where anything can happen.”  He adds, “And each session is a collection of many, many moments.”

David Freeman is a percussionist, composer, and educator based in Brooklyn. Prior to joining ATG, he had co-founded a drumming workshop in 2001 with the Middlesex County Division of Youth Services Juvenile Detention Center, where he taught up until funding was discontinued in 2011.  He currently performs with Merkava, the Outer Bridge Ensemble, and has collaborated on projects in the visual arts, dance, and film.  David has a passion for working with “at risk” youth and inner-city schools, and sees his work with ATG as an ideal opportunity to continue the mission of bringing music to kids and young adults.

Next Monday, March 17th, David will be performing with his band the Outer Bridge Ensemble for students in the CHLDC/Beacon program. Please join us at 4:30 PM at Cypress Hills LDC/Beacon, 350 Linwood St., Brooklyn, NY.


Arts to Grow Serves More Kids This Winter/Spring


Photo Credit: Ulrik Pedersen

This semester we are excited to continue adding new programs allowing us to provide opportunities for more kids:

  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation /IS 171, Cypress Hills Brooklyn will host two continuing programs this semester: Musical Theater at IS 171, where students in grades 5-8 will culminate a year long program with performances of an adaptation of In The Heights under the direction of Teaching Artists Taylor Valentine (Theater) and Kevin Alan Daniels (Choreography);
  • and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation/Beacon, Cypress Hills Brooklyn where our Percussion Ensemble with our Teaching Artist David Freeman will continue from the fall. David will lead students from grades 5-8 in learning technique and exploring sounds of Afro-Caribbean ethnic drumming.
  • Spring Creek Community Corporation, located in the neighborhood formerly called Starrett City, Brooklyn, will partner with us again, this time on a Theater Arts program for students in grades 2-4 taught by Heleya de Barros.
  • Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center will hold two programs: a continuation of our Visual Arts program sponsored by Lowy Frame the Future, taught by Teaching Artist Michelle Hill;
  • Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center is also adding a new Percussion Ensemble taught by our veteran Teaching Artist, David Freeman.
  • Lincoln Park Apartments in Newark, NJ will continue the year-long program, “Seeing The World Through Digital Media.”  Children ages 7-12 will continue to expand upon their work from this fall, learning the art of filmmaking with our Teaching Artist JC Cotti.

All Arts to Grow programs are made possible through the generosity of our donors.  To find out how you can help bring arts education to more children in need, please visit our website.

Arts to Grow Grew in 2013

Thanks to the generosity of all our supporters, 2013 was Arts to Grow’s best year yet.  Here are just some of the highlights from the past year:

We’re excited to make 2014 even better!  As we look forward to the new year, please join us in bringing our proven arts programs to more less-advantaged children.

All Arts to Grow programs are made possible through the generosity of our donors.  To find out how you can help bring arts education to more children in need, please visit our website or click here to donate.

Music to our nation’s ears

Last Monday, the nation celebrated the inauguration of President Obama to his second term.  As a nation, we have accomplished a lot in the last four years.  But we must not forget the work we still have to do.  President Obama reminded us of our responsibility as a nation in his speech.

… No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.  Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people…

Our children will be our future.  The strength of our nation will rest upon their little shoulders one day.  We must do what we need to today to prepare them for that important task ahead.  But, if our schools don’t have sufficient math and science teachers, we know they don’t have enough arts teachers.  This is why organizations such as Arts to Grow exist.  We bridge the gap between what the school can provide and what our children need.  

Arts empower our at-risk youths to connect with themselves.  Music gives our children a mean to express emotion in ways words couldn’t.  (In fact, music probably communicated more emotion at the inauguration ceremony than any speech.)   Teaching Artist David Freeman noted that “Through my work, I have learned that there is a commonality between the needs of all populations. We all need a safe place to express ourselves and a place to be heard.”  He also observed great changes students who participated in our music program in the past.  ”[They] have developed a respect for themselves, for others, and for the music. When you look at their faces when performing, it says it all.”

If you’d like to support Arts to Grow’s music and other arts program, you can visit our registry for our wishlist of musical instruments and more.  

By Jeannie Chan, ATG Volunteer Social Media Manager.  When she’s not posting for ATG, Jeannie is passionate brand manager, fueled by intellectual curiosity and caffeine! Connect via Twitter @jeannie_chan.

By Robin Pogrebin, New York Times April 23 2012

White House Announces Arts Education Plan

President Obama, aided by prominent artists, hopes to help turn around low-performing schools with a new arts education program, the White House announced on Monday.

Called Turnaround Arts, the program aims to improve academic performance and increase student engagement through the arts. It was developed by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in cooperation with the Education Department and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The two-year program will work in eight public schools chosen from among the lowest-achieving institutions that are receiving School Improvement Grants through the Education Department.

Artists on the committee — including the painter Chuck Close, the actress Sarah Jessica Parker, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the dancer Damian Woetzel — will each “adopt” one of the selected schools for the length of the program to support the arts education efforts.

Education Department

Los Angeles Orchestra to Lead Youth Effort

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has seized the initiative in guiding a national teaching program based on El Sistema, the Venezuelan-based movement that weds music teaching and social work. The orchestra announced on Tuesday that it would open an office, host yearly conferences and support a training program to sustain the effort. 

Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and the Longy School of Music, in Cambridge, Mass., are joining the orchestra in a partnership to support the movement and will grant master’s degrees in teaching the Sistema method. Bard and Longy are in the process of merging.

Read Full article here.