Donate to Strings by Heart
We believe that quality music education should be accessible to every child. By providing both private and group lessons, giving students and their families access to premier cultural events, and performing community outreach, we foster personal growth and cultural enrichment in each of our students and instill a shared, community-oriented love for music.
To connect children from underserved communities to classical music; to encourage diligence through daily practice; to develop children’s collaborative and leadership skills; and, through mastery, to inspire deep confidence in their ability to both express themselves and pursue their dreams.

I discovered the violin when I was four. I loved playing, loved music, so much that I took every chance to play I could get. I joined orchestras, played in string quartets, attended summer music festivals, whatever. That love has stayed with me to this day. But whenever I look back to those days, what often strikes me is the lack of diversity.

I was often very isolated: I was almost always the only black person in the orchestra. Teachers often discouraged me from following my dreams. I had so much talent, but the parents and the staff of those music festivals I loved to attend only saw me as the "scholarship kid." The first time I met another black string player, I was 15; according to The Strad, black and Latino musicians make up less than 4% of orchestras.

Luckily, I had enough emotional and financial support to push past the racism and classism I experienced. But other kids aren't so lucky. And really, they shouldn't have to be. I want to bring more diversity, access, and inclusion into the classical world.

That is why I started Strings By Heart.

The Strings By Heart Philosophy
Apart from a quality instrument, each student is given all the extra supplies they'll need to learn and practice (rosin, a shoulder rest or rock stop, etc.). Both they and their parents will be able to attend music events free of charge, including transportation to and from the venue. Strings By Heart has even set aside a small clothing budget to ensure that all students will feel confident at performances.
Each week, students have both individual and ensemble practices with highly trained educators. There, they learn about every aspect of music from theory to improvisation and learn to play both classical and modern styles of music. Our classes are fun, engaging, and keep students curious about exercising and expanding their technical abilities. And outside of the classroom, we work to inspire creativity in our students and give them a more versatile understanding of the role that classical music and instruments can play.
With the support of our educators, students improve their skills through dedicated practice and are encouraged to fight through their failures in a safe, supportive learning environment. They learn to cooperate with their peers and are each given opportunities to lead during group practice. Students learn not only to play an instrument, but also become more disciplined, gain leadership skills, and foster a sense of community.
The Program
Our main program includes
  • Weekly individual classes
  • Weekly group classes covering ensemble playing, music theory, improvisation, and more
  • 4 recitals every year, two of which will be performed for local community audiences
  • Attendance at four premier music events for both students and their families (one guest per student)
  • Top-quality instrument rentals, music supplies, and books
  • Transportation to and from all classes and events
  • Clothing budget for performances
  • Monthly Workshops
  • Our educational workshops will be open to students who aren't in our main program and will cover more non-traditional topics, such as music production
Requirements for admission
The only requirement for admission to our main program is a desire to learn and a commitment from both the student and at least one parent or family member to engage with our Strings By Heart community and attend all classes and events. Family support is an important aspect of our program. Students will never be excluded from our main program or any of our workshops because of financial need.
Can music education save us?
We don't see why not.
Even outside of its role in music, sound is a pivotal aspect of how we interact with the world. The skills developed in music training have been shown to help the mind process and adapt to auditory cues in a myriad of ways, e.g., improving one's focus on a lecture or meeting.
By studying music, children develop their ability to respond to multiple stimuli simultaneously and fit these sensory components into an organized whole. Reading and playing music teaches them to coordinate their thoughts, ideas, and actions more deftly, and studies show that the most pronounced benefits to brain function occur when children are taught these skills at a young age even if they choose not to further their music education into adulthood.
Childhood music study has been shown to lead to better test scores, higher graduation rates, and fewer disciplinary issues. It increases students' ability to regulate emotions and develop strong bonds with their classmates; it even helps them understand sound patterns in new languages more quickly than their peers. Regardless of socioeconomic status or previous adversity, music education has been shown to improve students' academic outcomes and quality of life.
NYC School Tour
Ezinma will be touring some of the most underserved schools in Manhattan and the Bronx this spring to encourage students to apply to the program. This will be an interactive demonstration: the students will try out instruments, engage in listening activities, and be inspired to learn something new.
Strings By Heart is thrilled to welcome Shar Music as our exclusive supplier of instruments and related string education products.
Strings By Heart is a proud member of El Sistema, a world-wide music education network.

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