Young Musicians of Alamance is a music instruction program that offers ensemble instrumental and general music instruction to at-risk elementary, middle and high school students. Most of these students attend schools where 85% or more students qualify for free lunch. Qualified music teachers provide after school and Saturday lessons. Instruments are loaned to students so they may practice at home. These benefits are offered free, to children who otherwise would have little opportunity for this kind of instruction. Students receive six hours of instruction during the week. They receive healthy after school snacks and a hot lunch on Saturdays.
In addition to music instruction, Young Musicians of Alamance focuses on important social values such as respect for self and others, sharing of assistance and resources, mutual support and caring, self-discipline, and hard work.
The opportunity for educational enrichment in a safe and nurturing environment promises greater readiness for school among young children in low-income communities. Music is one way to counter some of the life-long disadvantages that are the result of a lack of economic stability, helping develop a positive sense of self and community, and empowering students. For instance, frequent performances of small ensembles and combined orchestral groups help develop pride and self-confidence in our students. Studies indicate that the earlier children – especially low-income children – are provided with music education, the greater the impact or benefit.