Kids’ Orchestra is the largest after school music program for Kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the United States. Nearly 400 students from across East Baton Rouge Parish are enrolled in Kids’ Orchestra programming where they study an instrument and perform in an ensemble.

Kids’ Orchestra is an El Sistema-inspired organization, with a guiding philosophy that music education can create great musicians and positively change the life trajectory of children in a given community. The El Sistema model began in Venezuela in 1975, serving the neediest children in that country through immersive music instruction. Notable international musicians such as Gustavo Dudamel, current Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, are products of Venezuela’s El Sistema program.

Since its founding in 2010, Kids’ Orchestra has adopted the principles of El Sistema to effectively spark social change in the Baton Rouge community. Children from public, private, and charter schools from all geographic corners of the city come together every week during the school year to participate in music lessons.

Kids’ Orchestra classes are taught in a group setting two to four days a week after school. Kindergarten and first graders are introduced to musical concepts in Foundations classes and second through fifth graders study an instrument from one of the four instrument families – brass, woodwinds, percussion, or strings. An instrument is provided on loan to each child for the duration of the school year. The Kids’  Orchestra Choir meets every Monday evening.

In addition to music instruction, Kids’ Orchestra provides tutoring, homework help, and a healthy snack at each after school session.

Performance opportunities are available to each student through our Winter and Spring Neighborhood Concert Series where each class gets to showcase their semester-long work. Honors level students perform two annual concerts as participants of one of three ensembles – Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra. Honors students also participate in additional community performance opportunities throughout the year.

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