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After school program introduces music to young students

Kids as young as five are learning how to play musical instruments through the program.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Compass Community Schools Binghampton has found a creative way to teach students non-verbal communication and teamwork through an after school music program where kids can learn how to play instruments.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, kids kindergarten through 8th grade learn how to play instruments like the violin, trumpet clarinet, and flute. The program even provides instruments for the students.

To offer music classes, Compass schools partnered with non-profit organization Prizm Ensemble, allowing children to be introduced to something new. 

“They’re picking up these instruments for the first time in many of these cases,” Prizm Ensemble Executive Director Gavin Wigginson said.

The after school music program started as an elective class, but it quickly turned into an after-school program after the number of students interested increased.

“We also offer music theory to them. The thought is that they not only play the instrument, but they learn how to become literate in terms of reading music. It’s a skill they can take and transcends wherever they are trying to go,” Wigginson said.

Prizm Ensemble uses the sounds of classical chamber music to impact youth development. The organization currently works in more than 40 schools nationwide, and it hopes to be in more schools by the beginning of next school year.

“If we don’t give our students the opportunity, exposure, they’ll never know the hidden talents they possess,” Compass Community School Binghampton principal Barbara Asemota said. “I was extremely excited because music feeds the mind, the body, and the spirit.”

Professional Violinist Journey Hogan says the program is something she can relate too. She’s been playing the violin for more than 15 years after learning how to play while she attended Peabody Elementary.

“Putting them in schools is a huge step in creating the public exposure for kids who may not see this at home or on TV,” Hogan said.

They all say programs like this continue to help diversify the classical music industry one new artist at a time.

“Just about anybody you talk too has a bit of musicianship in them here in the city so the doors are open, it’s just creating the exposure and opportunity for people to find them,” Hogan said.

“One must see themselves in the positions they desire to be in one day,” Wigginson said.

Prizm Ensemble says their after school program will continue at Compass Community Schools Binghampton next semester. 

The organization also has a 2 week summer program open to all kids. Parents can find more information about the summer program here

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