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UCMP’s Approach to Music Education

In March 2012, UCMP launched the Garden State’s first El Sistema inspired after-school music program with 50 pre-K–to-K children two afternoons/week with our Paper Orchestra, our music immersion program where children and parents make paper maché instruments together, they learn music theory and rhythm through creative games, and sing before graduating to real instruments. Since then, our ten-month program has grown to 12 professional musicians teaching 110 pre-K-to-12th graders to play violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and percussion. UCMP now offers instrumental sectional classes five days/week, with all students rehearsing together on Wednesdays or Tuesdays in one of our orchestras.

Over the past eight years, UCMP has served over 500 children and youth and our Children and Youth Orchestras have performed in Manhattan at Carnegie Hall’s DiMenna Center with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, at El Museo del Barrio, the United Palace, and at Port Authority’s Concert Space. Throughout New Jersey, our orchestras have performed with ESNJA’s “Fiddle and Fa-La-La” Fest at NJPAC (Newark) with NJSO, and ESNJA’s Seminario in Paterson, and Summer Retreat (Blairstown/Princeton). Locally, UCMP annually holds Holiday Concerts, Spring Recitals, and June Outdoor Community Concerts in Hudson County.

Now located at 4710 Park Avenue in Weehawken, UCMP continues to be enhanced by electives in composition, chorus, band (non-string instruments), music theory, private instruction, and visual arts for select students.

Today, thanks to UCMP’s example, there are now six El Sistema-inspired programs throughout New Jersey, from Newark to Camden, collectively impacting over 1,000 children.

music lessons for children

UCMP's beginnings where children played paper violins

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