Kidznotes’ mission is to change the life trajectory of underserved k–12 students through orchestral training. We strongly believe that access to this opportunity is critical to lifetime achievement and well-being, and our goal is to empower those who otherwise would not have access to high-level musical opportunities. Our innovative, scalable model is inspired by the international program El Sistema, an evidence-based system of classical music for social change founded in Venezuela in 1975 by economist, composer, and conductor Jose Antonio Abreu. El Sistema offers free, government funded classical music training for young children from highly impoverished backgrounds. Since its inception, El Sistema has transformed the lives of millions of children.

Kidznotes impacts populations in need by offering arts access and opportunities to children from the most impoverished neighborhoods of North Carolina’s Triangle region, with a particular emphasis on East Durham and Southeast Raleigh. Kidznotes directly invests in these communities by partnering with Title-1 public elementary schools at which at least 50% of the student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch. Overall, 77% of Kidznotes families qualify for government aid and/or free or reduced-price lunch, based on family size and income.

In partnership with Durham Public Schools and the Wake County Public School System, Kidznotes provides students with an orchestral instrument of their own and approximately 10 hours a week of intensive instruction in music theory, choir, orchestra, and band for 40 weeks of the school year at no cost to their families. In addition to weekly instruction during the school year, Kidznotes hosts Summer Camps in Durham and in Raleigh for total of approximately 500 hours of instruction for all Kidznotes students over the course of the year. We believe that the joy, pride, and accomplishment that are experienced by the young people who take part in our program will strengthen their sense of personal dignity, self-efficacy, and resiliency. By counteracting many of the adverse effects of growing up in poverty, Kidznotes students have the tools and confidence to bridge the gaps in social, emotional, and intellectual development that plague young children from low-income families.