A Gift For Music provides tuition-free music education to underserved and urban youth, inspiring them with creative music-making opportunities. Youth participants learn the technical skills and musical knowledge needed to make music a lasting part of their lives, all while fostering a passion for music and self-expression. Each semester, youth showcase their hard work and dedication in free public concerts at local universities and colleges.
As A Gift For Music continues to grow, youth are given a voice in shaping the future of the program. A Gift For Music’s Student Advisory Council, consisting of students from throughout the program, helps make decisions on program activities, unique partnerships, and ways of contributing to our local community. In this way, youth develop into both great musicians and community leaders.
Throughout A Gift For Music’s programming, partnerships with local arts organizations, universities, and other creative institutions enable students to connect with world class artists, meet professionals in the music field, and give back to their community in meaningful ways.
In 1999, A Gift For Music was founded as a program of A Gift For Teaching in order to provide tuition-free instrument instruction to students who otherwise could not afford it. The program began with 25 students, a class set of violins, and an undeviating belief that A Gift For Music would improve the lives of students in need through inspired music-making. Since then, more than 8,000 students from throughout Orlando have studied string instruments with A Gift For Music, while our mission grew from simply exposing students to the joys of music-making to empowering students to discover their creativity through music.
Since moving its Saturday Orchestra rehearsals to UCF CREATE in 2012, A Gift For Music has garnered national attention as one of the top 50 arts education programs in the country. In 2014, A Gift For Music was recognized as a finalist in the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Renowned music educators Dr. Mauricio Céspedes and Mr. Michael Simpson led its Saturday Orchestra program.
Comprehensive Saturday Orchestra Program Term: Weekly Saturday rehearsals from August to May Goals: To inspire students to become lifelong music-makers through progressive, challenging orchestra ensembles that enhance students’ skills, knowledge, and appreciation for music.
Intensive Summer Camp Term: One week summer camp in June/July Goals: To provide students a unique opportunity to work with professional musicians in small ensembles, and to inspire these students to use technology as a means to become more expressive, creative musicians.
Standard Program Deliverables