Harmony Project Bay Area provides high intensity after school music education at no cost to families or the school. We are a new affiliate of Harmony Project of America. The flagship program in Los Angeles serves 2,000 children and has won several national awards for excellence in youth development. Students participating in the program through high school attend college at twice the rate of piers from the same inner city neighborhoods.
With a focus on community building, our program strives to improve students' skills for academic and life success, such as problem solving, creative thinking, focus, collaboration, and non-verbal communication. These benefits are achieved through the experience of belonging to a positive community (the orchestra), working towards shared goals (performances), and striving for excellence.
The array of programming offered includes:
- 5 hours of music instruction per child each week, 2 afternoons and Saturday morning
- Classes in violin, cello, orchestra, chorus, and percussion
- Daily snack and recreation time
- A long term commitment to the students until they graduate high school, with a plan to add new students each year
Since 2012, Harmony Project Bay Area has been providing programming at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, where:
- 78% of students qualify for the federal Free or Reduced Price Meal Program
- Nearly 50% of students are English Language Learners
- Very little music instruction, and few after school opportunities are accessible to students
Despite HPBA's limited resources, staff has been able to analyze the California Standardized Test scores for our students and compare those scores to a matched control group (an identical number of boys and girls from the same school teacher's classrooms as HPBA's students). After one year in our program, students of HPBA scored, on average, 5% higher in reading, and 10% higher in math, than students not participating in music education.
We will also continue refining our quantitative, Likert scale-based surveys in age-appropriate language, given to students at the end of each year in order to identify progress on our objectives related to their participation in HPBA. The results indicate an average numerical increase of 10% in areas of self-esteem and sense of community within HPBA.