The Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County has teamed up with Elkhart County’s El Sistema program, Music Village and Epic Dance to provide lessons for Club members. These are youth development programs that provide musical instruments and instruction.
Members learn about various forms of media and performing arts at Club. Through our ECoSistema and Music Village programs, we provide access to music education to Club members.
The ECoSistema program is tailored to age specific groups – Song Circle (2nd grade), Crescendo Orchestra (3rd-5th grade), Presto Orchestra (4th-5th grade) and Teen ECoSistema (6th-12th grade).
Music Village programs teach piano, drums, guitar and beats. The kids work together to create musical performances.
Epic Dance works with a variety of ages to build dance skills.
Students get regular instruction and get opportunities to perform in front of audiences at the Club and on stages in the community.
Club Members Perform Before Audience At Goshen College
Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s Goshen Clubhouse had the amazing opportunity to host the Thalea String Quartet, with support from the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association and Goshen College.
The quartet came to meet the Club’s ECoSistema members back in January 2019 and returned to Goshen this month. Our members hosted the quartet at the Club with a chance to play together before heading to Sauder Concert Hall at Goshen College for a Community Concert.
Members were able to get for tips from the quartet and ask questions. This was an amazing experience for our members and families who were treated to a professional concert!
Joseph is one of our teen members who was able to be a teen leader for the Crescendo Orchestra for this performance. This provided an amazing sense of accomplishment for Joseph, who has found his sense of belonging at Club through ECoSistema.
He has risen to the occasion and has been given more responsibility and leadership within this program. Joseph is playing both violin and string bass this year, while helping to mentor younger ECoSistema members.
Club Members Taking Part In Guitar Lessons
Guitar lessons are one of the newest programs offered to teens. We have many members who participate in band, orchestra, and ECoSistema who shared with Teen Supervisor Noah that they would like to learn to play guitar as well. The group is meeting for an hour a week for their free basic guitar lesson. This is a group that is easily embarrassed when they feel uncomfortable, but Noah has created a space that they feel comfortable being vulnerable to learn a new skill.
ECoSistema Interns Learning Skills While Mentoring Members
High school students are the newest mentors for ECoSistema orchestra students at the Goshen Clubhouse. The program offers music lessons to members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.
Hillary Harder, program director for ECoSistema and Community School of the Arts at Goshen College, approached the Boys & Girls Clubs about recruiting teens through their Youth Honors Orchestra (YHO) which is open to middle and high school students in the area.
The teens are now members of the Goshen Club and are paid a stipend to work with the younger students. Seven teens are taking part in the program. They were recruited from the YHO because the program at the Goshen Club is still growing.
The goal is to provide younger students with mentors, but the teens are getting lessons as well.
Harder said having the older influence is making a difference.
“They benefit from the one-on-one attention. They look up to the older kids. They are there to help them with the notes and give them support. The younger kids love having the big kids playing with them and helping them develop their skills,” she said.
Developing Love For Music Continues During Summer
Just because the school year is taking a pause doesn’t mean that music programs disappear until fall. Goshen Club members were able to take part in a summer music week through our EcoSistema program. They are getting a taste of what the program offers and we’re hoping they want to continue when the formal program picks back up in the fall!
Elkhart Members Getting Guitar Lessons
We love the partnership we have with Music Village. They come into the Elkhart Club and give our members hands-on lessons with a variety of instruments. These members are learning how to play the guitar over the summer. The kids look forward to their time in these sessions. It’s a great way to instill a love of music!