With everything going on in the world today, we sometimes go to bed fearing for our children and their future. Of course our kids are lucky – they have ample opportunities and live in good neighbourhoods. They’re provided for and are growing up — hopefully — without the daily issues of financial difficulty or lack of support.
But what about the children out there who aren’t so lucky? There are so many of them, even just in our own city (let alone in our country). Children who aren’t learning life skills, kids who worry about what they’ll eat for breakfast or how they’ll afford to go to college…or those who live in at-risk neighbourhoods in risky situations.
What happens to them? How can they be helped?
That’s where The Hammer Band’s From Violence to Violins program comes to the rescue with a rather interesting opportunity for the kids who need it most.
The program reaches children in at-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto who may otherwise never have the opportunity to learn music or play an instrument. Students participate in free ensemble music lessons taught on violins which are lent to them for the year. These music lessons are conducted by world-class musicians and experienced teachers, and are offered to children regardless of their background, financial situation, or previous musical experience. This is an intensive program which teaches children both music AND life skills
The Hammer Band organization currently runs its From Violence to Violins program in the classrooms of 18 junior and middle schools in the high risk Toronto neighbourhoods of Jane and Finch, Danforth and Main, and Regent Park. Children participate in group violin lessons and receive instruments for home and school use and practice, at no charge to them or their families. During the 2011/12 school year, over 300 children joined the program, with a waiting list kept for those they could not accommodate.
The program consists of 30 weeks of instruction, both during and after school hours, and preparation and rehearsals for various holiday and end-of-year recitals and a major all-schools, end of year concert.
As difficult as it might be to help them all, at least we know some of the kids who need help are getting it through Hammer Band…and that helps us sleep at night just a little bit better.
The Hammer Band