The City Instruments Training Program is an outreach project that offers instrument instruction to inner-city children. Young students who show particular interest are recommended by their school music teachers and provided with instruments, as needed, and free, weekly private lessons. The lessons are taught during the school day at the participating schools so that the students are not faced with the very real challenge of finding transportation and support to travel to a music teacher’s studio.
The program began at the Arbor Hill Elementary School in Albany 1996 for stringed instrument students and became known as “City Strings.” It has since expanded over the years to include a lessons for brass players, “City Brass.” The program also reaches more children as lessons are now taught in Albany at Hackett Middle School and in Schenectady at Oneida, Central Park, and Mont Pleasant middle schools.
Although the students are taught individually, they are brought together a few times during the year to perform in small ensembles at are nursing homes and senior centers. Ensembles also perform as part of ESYO’s annual Playathon. Through these performances, the students can see the value of sharing their talents. The program contributes a service to the community while preparing the young musicians for possible participation in ESYO’s String Ensemble or Wind Orchestra or Repertory Jazz Ensemble, depending upon the instrument.
City Instruments produces no revenue for ESYO and the participating schools only contribute space for lessons. Thus the program relies on the generous gifts of individuals, foundations, and corporations for its support.