Background and History

Since 2006 Young Strings Project Outreach has provided, without charge, an instructional program in classical stringed instruments and ensemble performance for under-served youth in the Seattle area. We have received over $100,000 in grant funds and given over 2,000 hours of free violin and classical instrument instruction to hundreds of children. These children have immensely benefited from playing stringed instruments and learning about classical music.

World Youth Orchestra conductor, Paula Nava Madrigal, at rehearsal in 2017

Young Strings Project Outreach launched its after-school World Youth Orchestra program in October 2014 at the Seattle World School to help newly arrived immigrant students transition into their new school.  This program allowed us to expand our outreach by providing more hours of instruction, without charge, and by offering an orchestral experience for the first time to immigrant and refugee youth in the Central District of Seattle. Grant awards from the Latin Community Fund and the Seattle Peoples Fund in Seattle have helped to fund the rental of classical instruments and the many hours of professional instruction for the youth orchestra. The City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture has also supported the program with generous Youth Arts grants in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and has provided funding for the development of a two-hour Saturday afternoon World Youth Orchestra program open to beginning and continuing young musicians in Seattle.

World Youth Orchestra Conductor Paula Nava Madrigal with WYO parent after WYO performance

In 2011, we began traveling to Mexico to hold concerts, teach master classes, donate instruments, and help less privileged kids to learn about classical music and to play a classical instrument. We call that program Outreach America and continue to travel each year to Mexico where our instructors give performances and master classes, without charge, to under-served youth and communities.

We believe that children with social and economic challenges need strong role models and caring, committed individuals as their teachers. Playing a classical instrument is an opportunity most of these children do not have, and participating in a youth ensemble or orchestra has the power to change their aspirations and therefore the trajectory of their lives. Our teaching artists are accomplished professional musicians with years of experience teaching in both Seattle and Guadalajara, Mexico. They are committed to social justice and inclusion in music education, and they provide instrumental and orchestral instruction in both Spanish and English.

Group practice with Teo (1024x576)

Lead instructor Teo Benson, teaching young musicians in Seattle