Just in time to fight the winter doldrums, a grant from the NJ Arts and Culture Relief Fund will allow Trenton children and teens to try something new from home.

Trenton Music Makers (TMM) is opening four new string classes for beginners. Students can start work on a new skill, receive a high-quality instrument and engage with Trenton Music Makers’ range of gifted and dedicated teaching artists.

“Remote learning has provided really wonderful, focused opportunities for the kids who were already a part of the orchestra,” said Interim Program Director, Freddy Contreras, “and especially now that the online format has us working in smaller groups, it’s a great time to start as a beginner.”

Trenton Music Makers is a creative youth development program that uses an intensive ensemble-based music curriculum to help Trenton children develop the executive functions and social-emotional skills necessary to succeed at school and in life. Students in pre-kindergarten attend music class during school; K12 students attend after school, starting with two days per week, and growing to four days by Grade 2. They participate in orchestra rehearsals, percussion instruction and choir, small-studio lessons, and tutoring and leadership classes. Students also take part in community-building activities and performances across the city. Students in the advanced ensemble receive teacher training, and have the opportunity to mentor students in the beginner ensembles. TMM welcomes any child to participate, regardless of musical ability, cultural background, or financial resources

Kindergarten and first-grade children meet twice weekly, joined by a caregiver from home. Beginning with second grade and through high school, the program meets three days per week online, including small-group lessons, music theory and ear training class, collective composition projects and one full-orchestra online hangout: “Fast-Forward Orchestra.” A violin, viola or cello is provided to every student. Trenton Music Makers Orchestra will be offered live, four to five days per week, as soon as it is safe to do so.

The full program is available to Trenton families on a 100% scholarship basis. The new classes will be funded by a generous grant from the New Jersey Arts and Culture Relief Fund, which is lending support to Trenton Music Makers’ work to supplant funds lost due to the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, while building new resiliency and improved strategies for that time that it will be safe to reopen in person.

Details and registration forms are available at www.trentonmusicmakers.org