New initiative helps to bring music to kids in underserved communities

The Harmony Program is now building a borough-based system of youth orchestras to connect students with music and each other.

News 12 Staff

Jun 21, 2023, 12:51 AM

Updated 336 days ago


A program is helping to connect New York City students in underserved communities with the opportunity to fall in love with music.  
The Harmony Program has brought music to hundreds of kids across the five boroughs through after-school music programs in communities with little to no access to music education.  
“Every child across the city should have access to music education,” said Anne Fitzgibbon, founder and director of The Harmony Program. “It develops in them so many of the kinds of healthy skills and habits that support long-term success.” 
Fitzgibbon says that 15 years ago, she created this program so that students could have another outlet to express themselves while learning a skill that could help shape their future.  
For people like Tamika Merise, the nonprofit’s program helped spark a career in the music industry. Merise is a publicity coordinator for Def Jam Recordings, and is an alumnus of the Harmony Program, which she took part in when she was in second grade.  
"I never knew how to talk I was always to myself,” said Merise. “I feel like when I was with orchestra, when I was playing with my bands and classmates, I felt like I can communicate more through music… I feel like it was such a great way to express myself and also just be a part of the community." 
The Harmony Program is now building a borough-based system of youth orchestras so that students of the program and other kids can have the opportunity to not only learn to play music but connect with their fellow students across the borough. 

More from News 12