Community Opus Project
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory Community Opus Project, an El Sistema-inspired program, provides high-quality, free music education for children in one of San Diego County’s low-income communities near the Mexican border. The Opus Project began as an after-school, on-site, music instruction program at two schools serving 65 third-graders. It has grown to serve more than 200 students at six schools, as well as to provide: in-school general music instruction for all third graders at the six schools, a Community Youth Orchestra for elementary through high school music students, and professional expertise to a school district as it re-establishes a district-wide in-school music education program. In addition to a variety of community and funding partnerships, the orchestra has also customized a collaborative research initiative with the University of California San Diego’s Center for Human Development to learn how music education affects children’s brain development and cognitive skills.
SDYS’ Community Opus Project has been successful in convincing the Chula Vista Elementary School District, California’s largest K-6 school district with more than 29,000 students and 44 campuses, to reinstate music education after an absence of 15 years. Opus Project works with the community to create parent and community advocates for music education and shows district leaders the value of music education to students and the community by providing a high quality, curriculum-based program. The Opus Project is a catalyst, instigating systemic change through program implementation.