MY ART STORY by

Maritza Diaz

Miami
Florida

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Kids laughing, holding musical instruments backstage.

Participants of the Miami Music Project Youth Orchestra. Photo by Giorgio Viera

Miami Music Project uses music as an instrument for social transformation, empowering children to acquire values and achieve their full potential, positively affecting their society through the study and performance of music. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Miami Music Project currently holds four chapters in underdeveloped and immigrant communities with distinct populations, predominantly Haitian, African American, and Hispanic: Little Haiti, Liberty City, Little Havana, and Doral. Designed as a tuition-free, intensive after-school program, we provide a fully integrated music curriculum, which builds the transferable, practical and social skills needed to improve academic motivation and social preparedness.

The program provides hundreds of children first grade and up, from at-risk demographics and those who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to take full advantage of an integrated music curriculum. Inspired by the principles of Venezuela's flagship youth orchestra program, El Sistema—the orchestra is seen as a scale model of a society in which the contribution of its individuals serves a common purposed—the program helps students develop social skills and values that help them overcome challenging stages of their lives. Miami Music Project has grown over the past six years from a student roster of 15 to almost 300.

"To see my child interact with the other kids and make new friends that she otherwise would not have, is rewarding. This program is such a blessing." Casey's mother, Barbara

"I am also a volunteer for Miami Music Project and the reason why I volunteer is to show my appreciation—I want to bless those who bless me. I can't replace what the program has done for my family and me." Gisla, Mother of nine children, seven of whom are Miami Music Project students

"Give a child a violin and a good teacher, and suddenly, within a few months, you see a changed person." James Judd, founding artistic director

Maritza Diaz
Miami, FL