Trenton Community Music School


PO Box 5206
Trenton, NJ 08638
County: Mercer


Ms. Ronnie L. Ragen

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For support of the Music for the Very Young program in Trenton pre-K classrooms and to expand the new after-school El Sistema string music program in Trenton Public Schools.

Organization Background

The Trenton Community Music School was founded in 1998 with the mission "to provide high quality individual and in-school instruction for children and adults in the Trenton community." To fulfill that mission, weekly instruction in piano, voice and other musical instruments for both children and adults has been provided by professionally trained faculty musicians.

As part of our commitment to Community Partnership, in 2000, we created "Music for the Very Young: Music, Movement and Literacy"(MVY) for preschool classes. This program now serves 450 families a year, in partnership with the Trenton Public Schools, the Ewing Public Schools, and the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf. What distinguishes MVY from other programs is the professional development TCMS offers preschool teachers, enabling them to become more skilled and confident at integrating high quality, developmentally appropriate music activities into their daily routines.

A new Community Partnerships initiative, El Sistema-Trenton (ES-T), began with a 16-week pilot program in February 2015. In collaboration with the Trenton Public Schools, ES-T provides ensemble instruction on string instruments for 30 third and fourth graders at Grant Elementary School. The goal is to expand from a successful pilot to a full year, 34-week program to serve up to 75 third, fourth and fifth graders in 2015-16.

While our mission remains unchanged, the method of fulfilling that mission is changing. TCMS will be entirely focused on our Community Partnership programs and individual music instruction will be discontinued after June.

Leadership of TCMS is provided by part-time, paid personnel. Founder and executive director, Marcia Wood, holds an MA in voice performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. She also co-founded the Trenton Children's Chorus and served as their Administrative Director from 1989 to 1997.

Ronnie Ragen, TCMS Community Partnerships Director, is the TCMS staff person responsible for the Music for the Very Young program and for the El Sistema-inspired pilot project. She is certified in New Jersey as a K-12 music teacher and as a Supervisor with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. As an arts education evaluator, she has conducted program assessments for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and other NJ arts organizations.

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