PROJECT MUSIC makes music education possible for all children in Stamford.
PROJECT MUSIC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a free program which takes inspiration from the El Sistema movement to serve Stamford’s student population with a comprehensive program of musical and social education. Launched in September 2014, PROJECT MUSIC works with community partners to reach the children with the greatest need and the fewest resources, and to engage them in an immersive daily music program from a young age through their high school graduation. PROJECT MUSIC is intended not only to provide musical instruments and training, but also to address some of the extensive social challenges affecting Stamford’s youth. To this end, the study of music is used to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, self-confidence, cooperative learning, discipline, leadership, and creativity. Institutional partnerships with Chester Addison Community Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, the Yerwood Center, Waterside School, and Trailblazers Academy have allowed PROJECT MUSIC to serve over 100 students each year in highly accessible locations, with the majority of students returning for continued advancement year after year.
Anthony Truglia’s Project Music in Stamford
In 1967, music educator (and subsequently State Senator) Anthony D. Truglia created a groundbreaking program called Project Music, which offered free music instruction to Stamford students within walking distance of their homes. Aware of the power of music to change lives, he was adamant that the playing field needed to be leveled for these students who lacked equal access and opportunity. The program continued for decades under the administration of the City of Stamford Parks and Recreation Department, outliving Mr. Truglia’s untimely death in a tragic car accident. However, with the loss of Mr. Truglia’s visionary leadership, the program gradually faded and was finally eliminated in a round of City budget cuts in 2010.
Venezuela’s National System of Youth Orchestras
El Sistema is a publicly financed, voluntary sector, music-education program, founded in Venezuela in 1975 by Venezuelan educator, musician, and activist José Antonio Abreu. For many years, its official name was Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, (FESNOJIV), which is sometimes translated into English as “National Network of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela.” The organizations has recently changed its name to Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar (FMSB), but is still widely known by the FESNOJIV acronym. The program’s premier youth orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, has drawn world-wide acclaim through high-profile tours and recordings, and boasts accomplished graduates including Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to reaching over 700,000 children domestically, Venezuela’s model of “music for social change” has inspired a movement of El Sistema-inspired programs around the world.
A New PROJECT MUSIC
In June 2014, recognizing the gap left by the closure of Anthony Truglia’s program, the City of Stamford provided initial funding to launch the reboot of Project Music geared to today’s needs. Tasked with reenvisioning the program structure for maximum impact, the new PROJECT MUSIC’s founding board members blended the model their local predecessor with new inspiration from the worldwide El Sistema movement to create a program that would go beyond a simple music education to address the needs of the whole child.
MISSION AND GOALS
PROJECT MUSIC envisions a thriving Stamford community in which all youth have equal access to the powerful social, emotional, and cognitive effects of music training.
PROJECT MUSIC’s mission is to use the transformative power of music to effect positive social change for those students most in need of access, opportunity, and inspiration.
PROJECT MUSIC pursues the following goals:
- Enrich lives and build community via high-quality music instruction and frequent performances.
- Create a loving and nurturing environment, affirming each student’s pursuit of excellence via the collective joy of making music.
- Provide its students with exposure and access to professional artists in order to ignite a passion for excellence.
- Foster a lifelong understanding and appreciation of the inherent beauty in music and art.
- Build audience appreciation for the arts and for the potential of young talent to blossom.
- Celebrate the value of collaboration via meaningful community partnerships.
- Instill traits required to build impactful lives of dignity, contribution, and strength of spirit.