Codman Academy Elementary Orchestra

$8,078 of $11,200 goal

Raised by 59 people in 7 months

Codman Academy Charter Public School is a Title I school in Dorchester, MA. Serving 345 K1-12th grade students in the greater Boston area, we strive to educate the whole child. This includes an emphasis of health and wellness, socio-emotional learning, and arts education.

Starting Fall 2018, our music program will expand from compulsory elementary general music classes, to include an elective string program open to students entering grades 2-4. Students will have the option of choosing the violin or cello, and will have an instrument rented by the school from Johnson String Instruments. Each year-long rental with insurance runs from approximately $210 (for violins) to $340 (for cellos), and this fundraiser will go primarily towards instrument rental fees for students. Other supplies that are needed are music stands and storage racks, as well as method books. We are hoping to have this program available to all students showing interest, which has reached 45 students, 35 prospective violinists and 10 prospective cellists.
By offering this program at zero cost to families, we hope to provide a comprehensive and thorough formative music education for these young violinists and cellists.

Historically, Codman Academy has not asked families to contribute to extracurricular fees, so if you are a family whose child will be entering our program in the fall, and are willing and able, feel free to donate to our campaign! We have also received a significant donation from the Voices, Instruments and Beats Enrichment (VIBE ) Program, Inc. started by students at Milton Academy.  We thank them for their assistance in getting this program off the ground.

Any additional funds raised will go towards purchasing music books and sheet music, accessories such as rosin, tape, and strings, along with other important supplies that will help get our brand new program off the ground! We are very excited about launching this new program, and hope you will be able to help these kids gets the supplies and support they need!

Itemized List:
35 violins: $7,350
10 cellos: $3,400
24 music stands: $800
Music stand rack: $312
Music/Accessories: $338
-VIBE donation: $1,000
= $11,200

$25 - Concert Circle
Your donation of $25 will help fund this brand new string program for our young musicians of Codman Academy.

$40 - Buy a music stand
Your donation of $40 will purchase one music stand, that our brand new string orchestra students will use at every rehearsal.

$100 - Symphonic Circle
Make an important contribution to our Codman String Orchestra! You will receive an e-card with an update of our program.

$210 - Fund a violinist
With a donation of $210, you can pay for a year-long rental of a student’s violin. You will receive a customized thank you e-card from a new violinist!

$340 - Fund a cellist
With a donation of $340, you can pay for a year-long rental of a student’s cello. You will receive a customized thank you e-card from a new cellist!

$450 - Buy a music stand rack
Your donation of $450 will purchase a music stand rack, which will enable us to keep our 24 music stands organized and accessible. You will receive an e-update with photos and an update of our program.

$1,000+ - Maestro Circle
Make a significant contribution to our Codman String Orchestra! You will receive an e-update with photos and links to videos of rehearsals, and preferential seating for our winter and spring concerts!
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UPDATE: We've got bows!!!

--Check out these kids learning their new rest and playing positions with bows--

So when we first received our instruments in September, we had a "Bowing Away Party" where I collected the bows from all the kiddos until we had covered other content, aka the basics. After perfecting our instrument holds, learning about the parts of our instruments, playing pizzicato (plucking), getting a basic left hand position down, and after our December Informance... we were ready to play with the bow!

While some kids are still working on perfecting their bow holds, a few have really taken to their bows and have been making incredible progress. We're talking sight-reading brand new pieces, picking out melodies by ear, and becoming leaders to help classmates. And of course I listen to my kiddos and their interests, so one of our first songs we're learning with bows is Baby Shark! (doo doo doo doooo... )

We're still actively looking for donations to pay our instrument rental bill, so if you've already donated but can think of folks that are also passionate about making quality instrumental music education accessible to all, please forward along our campaign!

Every donation helps. Thank you!
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Update #3: We're 50% there!!!! And because we've recently got a few $210 donations (violin supporters), I've decided this update will be a cello appreciation post! Can you sponsor a cellist for a month for a donation of $38? Check them out below, showing you rest position...

Thank you all, amazing supporters! We've passed the 50% mark, and at the end of Week 2 our young string players are learning their first song on open strings, "Eek Eek Eek". Each line starts with the letters of the open strings, and I think all 46 of my musicians have memorized their strings!
"Eek, Eek, Eek, all the little
Ants, Ants, Ants, digging in the
Dirt, Dirt, Dirt, all in the
Ground, Ground, Ground, all the way to
Codman, Codman, Codman. " (customized version!)

The best quote I heard from a 2nd grade violinist after orchestra today was, "This morning I saw a bunch of ants outside the school! So the song's a true story!"

These kids are the best. Thank you again for all the support. We've still got a ways to go, and have until December to reach the goal. Please continue sharing our campaign!

P.S. I would also like to shout-out and thank the folks at Johnson String Instrument in Newton, MA. Their rental instruments have been high quality, rivaled only by their customer service, and perhaps their insurance policy coverage. I feel very confident in our choice to rent with them, and certainly look forward to the partnership continuing.
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Update #2: we are 33% of the way there!!

I'm amazed by the generosity of my friends and family, and all those who have been moved to donate to the cause of music education! Please keep sharing, as we are still about $7,400 from our goal!

Since my last update, I have returned to work at Codman Academy for our whole school fall Professional Development meetings. Since I don't have a classroom (I teach "on a cart" in the dining hall, in grade-level classrooms, or Black Box theatre for our new string program) my goals are primarily in planning-- and I've got our orchestra program weekly plans done through February! We will be using the Sound Innovations method book, which introduces left-hand technique before introducing the bow, by my calculations around January. That means parents won't have to deal with the *squeaky scratchy* of the bow until after the holiday season... you're welcome, families!

As school scheduling is finalized, it seems as though we may not be able to accommodate two 5th grade (middle school) siblings into our new elementary string program as I had hoped. On the positive side, we have recruited the last 2nd grade student to make our 2nd grade string orchestra the whole class, 20 out of 20 kids! Although this may mean that we won't also meet as a general music class, I am very excited to be able to spend 1.5 hours a week on our new string instruments together!

In other updates, you will also see some edits on our list of asks: I have changed the allocations of funds after re-researching music stands racks, and realizing it's more space-conscious to get 20 music stands and a rack sized to fit them, to be stored in a space that is shared. I've also discovered quite a bit of quality "Very Easy" -level orchestra literature on JW Pepper's website, some of which is as easy as only open strings for beginning string groups. In light of these developments, I will be decreasing the ask from 24 to 20 music stands, decreasing the ask to a smaller music stand rack, and equally increasing the ask for Music/Accessories to $338, so that I may purchase orchestral scores (which are ~$45 each) in addition to our method books. Our campaign total will remain the same!

Thank you again to all of our donors, please continue to share the campaign with those you think may be interested in donating! Our next update will be when we reach 50% ($5,600) and will be a Student Spotlight, featuring one of our new string musicians!

-Miles Wilcox
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First update: over 15% to our goal!!

Thank you to all the amazing people who have donated so far--it's so awesome to see how many supportive friends and family I have. We've reached $1,709 so far, which is the equivalent of half (5) of our cello rentals!!

As many of you know, it will be my second year teaching general music at Codman Academy. My students come from diverse backgrounds, are energetic and excited about learning, and getting their hands on new materials they can use to create. My first year at Codman, I added ukulele to my curriculum, and the kids loved it! Here I am giving my kiddos the pre-concert 'ukulele pep-talk', before our December Arts Fest '17... which mostly consisted of, "You get what [color] you get and you don't get upset!" (see photo)

Codman Academy is a pretty special place. Our school does not charge students for any part of their education; we serve them three meals a day, provide them a uniform shirt (and oftentimes pants, socks, underwear, etc), never ask for money for field trips, and supply them everything from pencils to backpacks. Our school and class sizes are small, with one class per grade and 20 kids in each class, with a lead teacher and teacher’s assistant in each room. We’re classified as a Title I school because over 50% of our students come from low-income families; 99% of our population is students of color.

I started at Codman in 2016 as full-time Kindergarten (K2) assistant teacher, and that year we went through two and a half part-time music teachers (the half was me: I was interim music sub between the other two, in addition to K2 asst.) which told me that the school really needed a dedicated, full time teacher to create a high-quality music program. Last year I found my rightful place as Codman’s music teacher, and because I'm always wanting to keep growing and changing,
I'm expanding the general music program and add an instrumental music— a string program for violin and cello— this year.

I have always wanted to be a string orchestra teacher, but after starting at Codman I came to understand that would mean starting the program myself, from scratch. Back in April I sent out interest forms to the 60 rising 2nd through 4th graders, and I received 45 forms back! (The awesome thing is, 19 of those were rising 2nd graders, the kindies from my first year!) Because the interest was so great, our amazing K1-8 principal Pam Casna agreed to schedule two sections of orchestra, a 2nd grade and a combined 3rd/4th grade, which will each meet twice a week. We even have a few 5th/6th grade siblings on the list, who we will include in the program if we raise enough funds.

I'm very passionate about the access of a quality music education to all students regardless of socio-economic background or disability, so this program will be open to students with IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 accommodations plan. I'm so grateful for all who are helping me provide this program at no cost to my students, and I know my students will be just as appreciative. I'm already including "Thank You card making" in my first 2 weeks of lesson planning!

--> I had a rising 2nd grade violinist ask me EVERY. WEEK. after turning in the interest form in April when she was getting her violin. She asked me all the way through the last week of school, in June.
I can't wait to see her face when I get to tell her: it's TIME!

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$8,078 of $11,200 goal

Raised by 59 people in 7 months
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