CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new program in East Garfield Park is offering free orchestral music training for kids. What began as a simple instrument drive has become a project double in size.
"We do flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone violin, viola and cello, and percussion," said Lindsay Fredrickson, executive director of the Chicago Arts and Music Project.
Through the program, kids in third through fifth grade are given the opportunity to learn to read and play music at no cost.
"Every student that is a part of our program receives a free instrument, three rehearsals every week and weekly 30 minute private lessons," Fredrickson said. "There's no musical background necessary. I take everyone that wants to be here. We're all about providing access and taking down any barriers to learning music."
Fredrickson created the program as a way to combine her skills in classical clarinet with her passion for building a better Chicago.
"I am very passionate about el sistema teaching because, it's a music ideology that comes out of Venezuela that believes the music can change communities and it has the power to better society," she said.
"There is something so special about East Garfield Park and where we are here," Fredrickson added. "There is a lot of passion and people take care of each other and they love on each other's kids and they really come together and I really love it."
Kids in the program see it as a creative outlet and a place where they all welcome and supported.
"Some of my favorite things are the people here and I guess people who like to join orchestra," said 10-year-old Isaiah Butler.
"The people, like, they are all really supportive and compassionate," said 11-year-old Aerise Dawson. "It makes me feel calm and relaxes me and makes me feel better about how things go in Chicago."
The program is wrapping up its first year, with 17 students taking part. Registration for fall has already doubled in size with 35 kids already on board.
Volunteer teaching musicians donate their time to help teach and they are always looking for more. Due to an increase in demand, they are also looking for any instrument donations, especially violins and violas.
If you're interested in volunteering, donating instruments, or want to sign your child up, visit chicagoartsandmusicproject.org
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