Trenton Community Music School


PO Box 5206
Trenton, NJ 08638
County: Mercer


Ms. Ronnie L. Ragen

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

To continue Music for the Very Young in Trenton pre-K classrooms and to expand El Sistema-Trenton, an after-school ensemble string program.

Organization Background

The mission of Trenton Community Music School is to bring children together in teams of music learners and makers, to build their minds, imagination, and community.

The Trenton Community Music School was founded in 1998 to provide high-quality, affordable and accessible individual and group music instruction to children and youth in the city of Trenton. In 2000, community partnership programs, particularly the early childhood Music for the Very Young, began to deliver music education to groups of children in pre-k classrooms across the city. In 2015, the Trustees of the music school decided that group teaching provided a wider impact than individual lessons and realigned its operating model to provide music instruction entirely in a group format. Our El Sistema-inspired youth orchestra program, El Sistema-Trenton, was begun in February 2015, in partnership with the Trenton Public Schools, with key funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and the City of Trenton.

The current community-based model allows TCMS to provide programs that are specifically pro-social in nature: that have stated outcomes not only in musicianship and performing skill, but also communication skills, pre-literacy, and kindergarten readiness (in the case of the early childhood programs), and executive function, positive peer culture, and academic performance (in the case of the El Sistema -- Trenton program).

One of the guiding principles of Trenton Community Music School is to uphold and strengthen the promising elements already present in children's lives: the network of caring parents and teachers, and the desire to develop skills that make them an asset to their school communities. To this we add proven, researched curricula, access to musical instruments, and instruction at no cost to children and families, provided by professional teaching artists.

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