VYMA Music Project at Longfellow


Click here to learn more about the film, “I Am a Fine Musician”, a documentary about VYMA Music Project at Longfellow.

VYMA Music Project at Longfellow Elementary is inspired by El Sistema, the immensely successful model of music education that produced Gustavo Dudamel, now Director of Los Angeles Philharmonic. The VYMA Music Project was initiated by VYMA in fall 2009 in partnership with PasadenaLEARNs. The after-school program aims to provide very young children with a free, systematic and high quality classical music education, including free use of instruments.

The curriculum, aligned with the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards, includes music theory, music appreciation, choir, instrumental coaching in sections and two orchestras.  Kindergarteners take beginning music.  Students attend classes three afternoons each week.  Given further funding, the program could be expanded to all PUSD elementary after-school programs, and, in the long term, to middle and high school levels.

VYMA Music Project at Longfellow is part of a larger effort to provide underserved children with the opportunity to join orchestras and choirs. VYMA is a stakeholder in YOLA – the LA Philharmonic initiative to create such programs in Los Angeles County – and is an active participant of the El Sistema USA National Network.  The VYMA Music Project at Longfellow puts the City of Pasadena on the musical landscape map, joining a growing number of cities across the U.S. and countries around the world in emulating a music program with a profound social impact.

This after-school program introduces students to orchestral and vocal music in a nurturing and musically exciting environment.  Students learn the basics of string ensemble playing and how to work with a conductor, as well as singing in a choral ensemble. Instruction and instruments are provided free to participants.

Benefits of the program: Research indicates that early music instruction has multiple positive benefits on the development of a child (social, academic and musical).

Title I  PUSD school Longfellow Elementary was selected as our pilot  school in  2009.  As a result of its success, the program now continues in an expanded format at Longfellow to accommodate the students who are now joining the program.

Quick Facts about VYMA Music Project at Longfellow Elementary, PUSD:

  • Location: 1065 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA
  • Demographics: 79% socioeconomically disadvantaged; 27% English Learners; 18% African American, 66% Latino, 7% White, 5% two or more races.
  • Project Partner:  PasadenaLEARNs
  • Participants: 105 Longfellow students, grades K-5 and Longfellow graduate mentors
  • Curriculum: Music theory, music history, orchestra and choir, coaching each week on string instruments.
  • Program: 7 hours per week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Annual program cost: $109,000
  • Funding: Provided by PasadenaLEARNs, along with foundations, businesses and many generous individuals.  Thank YOU!

Program Faculty:

Pasadena Community Foundation