Strings4Smiles is a youth organization run by New York City high school students that are passionate about music education. They aim to support underprivileged students and minorities through providing them with a basic music education as well as the instruments that come with it. Music does not only provide kids with an outlet but also benefit youth academically, emotionally, and mentally. Since many schools cannot afford a music curriculum, many kids go throughout their early life without a genuine appreciation for music. Not all families are fortunate enough to afford private classes or orchestras, and those students who cannot are stripped of the chance to become musicians, composers, and future Mozarts. Studies have shown that a child’s exposure to music and learning how to play at early ages stimulate the brain and result in acceleration in brain development. Music also gives many kids a purpose and gives them their own form of creative expression, helping to reduce the school to prison pipeline. Every child has the potential to become a talented musician, and every child deserves the same opportunities to get there.
Strings4Smiles is currently working on project “Music4All” as well as an international project in Sri Lanka. Project Music4All works with community centers in Bronx, NY to create musical opportunities for minorities and underserved families. Through 1-2 week programs, our team of dedicated volunteers teach students everything from music history to music theory. Our curriculum includes many activities such as ear training, music production, and a showcase at the end of the program where students can invite family and friends to watch them perform. We hope that through our program our students find a love for music and want to continue it for years to come. We are also working to create this same opportunity in schools in Sri Lanka, where many kids can only dream of owning an instrument.
Our organization also recognizes the need for more sustainable methods in our world today. Our eco-instruments initiative is our way of creating accessible and affordable modern instruments for students to experiment with. Adding a twist to the classical music curriculum we mainly follow, we also teach students how to create sustainable instruments out of everyday items. From vegetables such as carrots and broccoli to plastic bags, eco instruments allow students to have fun with music while also learning more about music theory. Our senior director Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck has founded the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra and hopes to pass down his knowledge of this art form to eager future musicians.