Kids 4 Harmony

Why would a social services agency establish an after-school music program?

BCF’s Kids 4 Harmony, established in 2011, is a new model for social change. The program is inspired by El Sistema, a visionary global movement that began in 1975 in Caracas, Venezuela. Through intensive, early classical music education, El Sistema’s founder sought to transform the lives of children with little access to  opportunity.

Now with a worldwide presence, El Sistema has achieved unparalleled success in teaching children to learn and play orchestral music. The El Sistema approach simultaneously uplifts the children, their families and their communities. El Sistema’s mission perfectly parallels the goals of BCF: to improve the lives of children by strengthening family and community relationships.

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Both BCF and El Sistema engage parents and communities in recognizing the potential of each child, and helping each child fulfill that potential.

The results are transformative.
Through Kids 4 Harmony…

  • Children learn  there are no limits to their success.
  • Families become more engaged in their children’s development.
  • Communities see every child as an asset and celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Children raise their personal aspirations.

El Sistema’s approach to music education emphasizes intensive ensemble participation, group learning, learning through performance, and peer teaching.

About the Program

Kids 4 Harmony meets after school each day at Morningside Community School in Pittsfield and Brayton Elementary School in North Adams, MA. Children learn to play an instrument, how to read music, and chorus.  By learning and working together students develop discipline, self-confidence, social and collective responsibility. These are tools that lead children to success not only in music, but in anything else they may aspire to do.


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How it works

Kids 4 Harmony is a free music education program, made possible by grant funding, private contributions, and partnerships with the Pittsfield and North Adams Public School Systems and other organizations.

Kids 4 Harmony presents music instruction as a fun and joyful experience. As a youth development program, Kids 4 Harmony’s frequency, intensity, and expert music instruction help students develop work ethics, discipline, and high self-esteem.

  • Skilled, caring music educators and performers who guide students every step of the way
  • Instrumental instruction starting with violin and cello
  • Music fundamentals
  • Orchestra, large and small ensemble
  • Public performance
  • Peer mentoring
  • Leadership opportunities

Learning to play

Like other El Sistema inspired programs around the United States, our core values center around the following: “respect, responsibility, positive communication, and support.”

“I’m grateful for this program.  It is opening doors of opportunity for my children that would never be available to them.  They’ll go upstairs after a tough day and play and watch each other and help each other.  They always loved music, but now they have a different passion for it.”  Missy, mother of two girls in Kids 4 Harmony

“Kids 4 Harmony is one of the most powerful initiatives taking place in Pittsfield today.  It’s changing the lives of the students, their parents, and their community.”  Dan Bianchi, Former Pittsfield Mayor

“I just get excited about playing in front of people.  Sometimes I get nervous, but I stay cool and calm. When I hear myself playing, I feel good.  I feel special about myself.”  Geivens age 7

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“That’s what El Sistema is about; it’s a social program that says
through music you can change the life of the children.”
Gusatavo Dudamel, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conductor and El Sistema graduate.

Kids 4 Harmony is made possible through the support of private donors, grants, and the following organizations:

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