In September, 2017, YES began an El Sistema music program for the four kindergarten classes at Edwards Elementary School in Newberg. One hundred kindergartners started to learn to play the violin. Internationally recognized, the El Sistema’s mission is to provide underserved youth with intensive orchestral music instruction emphasizing collaboration, promoting self-confidence, and creating a community where children thrive. With the blessing of the Newberg School district, the Edwards School principal, the Edwards music teacher, and a parent/teacher steering committee, YES named this project JOY—Junior Orchestra of Yamhill County.

YES hired a part time violin teacher to work with the school music teacher, starting the 100 kindergartners with box violins and pretend bows, then graduating to real small size violins midway through the year. At the end of the year, the students invited their parents in and gave them a violin lesson. they also performed with the Newberg High School orchestra.

In September, 2018, those students moved into first grade to continue their violin study and a new crop of kindergartners started with their box violins. After first grade the program will become a voluntary after school program, with the introduction of other instruments. Expectation is that a quarter of the students will opt to continue.

Research on the beneficial effect of early active music instruction is compelling, especially for development of both the left and right brain. Learning to play an instrument in school has also shown to increase school attendance, promote discipline, focus, and self confidence. YES’s vision is to expand the JOY program to as many elementary schools in Yamhill County as possible.

We need your support to make this happen!  Please consider a one-time or recurring donation to support JOY – –