Growing a Program

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PDF video transcript: Growing a Program

Corona Youth Music Project, Queens, NY

Alvaro Rodas, founder and director
Jennifer Johnson and Eun Lee, teaching artists

The Corona Youth Music Project in Queens, New York City, is an example of how music education can be effective even with limited resources. Alvaro Rodas, the founder and director, started the program with no money, no kids, and no space. But he recognized a community that did not have access to quality music education or after-school programs and wanted to create an opportunity for the children living there.

With support from parents, volunteers, and the students themselves, the program nurtures young musicians and builds their confidence as performers. They give back to their community by performing with their teachers at a local senior citizen center.

Peer mentoring — initially a strategy for addressing a shortage of teaching staff — has become an essential and empowering aspect of the program. Musical language camp helps younger students develop and retain skills, and thrive as part of a musical community, over the summer.


  • Programs both serve and respond to the needs of a community, as well as build on the assets of a community.
  • Ensemble music-making is at the heart of all learning — both musical and social.
  • Parents are involved throughout the program.
  • Performance should happen every day at every occasion, rather than only at special events.
  • Musicians have a responsibility to share their skills or knowledge with others who are still learning.


  • Peer mentoring
  • Promoting self-assessment and goal-setting with a CYMPhony Card


The musical activities in this unit address the following Anchor Standards of the National Core Arts Standards:


  • Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation
  • Develop and refine artistic work for presentation
  • Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work


  • Perceive and analyze artistic work
  • Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work


  • Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art
  • Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding