For a number of underprivileged children in New York the opportunity to learn an instrument or about Bach is limited. Likewise, aspiring musicians are struggling to pursue their careers in this shaky economy. Now that we’re in the gift-giving season, here are five charities that are devoted to instilling the love of music in children, and supporting future artists.
1. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the All-Stars Project, Inc., a program that gives poor and minority students the opportunity to perform as a means to strengthen communities. The organization holds several talent shows per year, runs a leadership program for 16 to 21 year olds and a teen theater group, among others. Rapper and actor Mekhi Phifer was a beneficiary.
2. Those children who are fortunate to have a musical background as well as talent can look to the New York Foundation for the Arts for financial help and professional development when embarking on their careers. Fellows have included cellist Erik Friedlander and composers Aaron Jay Kernis, George Tsontakis and Meredith Monk.
3. Music Unites is able to serve both underprivileged children and not-yet-established musicians through a program bringing the two communities together. The nonprofit schedules performances by these up-and-coming acts at impoverished schools and centers. In return the performers teach the students music appreciation and how to build a fan base. The organization has also started a youth choir that performs annually at Carnegie Hall and with Alvin Alley American Dance Theater.
4. Young Audiences New York started in the 1950s staging chamber music recitals in schools. Almost 60 years later it’s dispatching over 200 teachers in visual and performing arts to schools which don’t have money for arts education. The nonprofit sponsors “Art Labs,” such as the Music Unites choir that give teens performance opportunities and access to professional artists. Another program, Gold Opera, fosters appreciation of the artform in city schools.
5. VH1’s Save the Music Foundation has been rebuilding music education nationwide since 1997. Around 200 schools in New York City benefit from the celeb-endorsed program, receiving $30,000 brand new instruments and funding for music teachers.