Lessons that Last a Lifetime!

About YMA

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Young Musicians of Alamance is located at:  513 West Front Street, Burlington, North Carolina, 27215

We are housed in the First Reformed United Church of Christ – sponsored and housed as a secular program.  

Young Musicians of Alamance Mission Statement

We will provide a safe and nurturing environment where children will develop musical, social, and academic skills, enabling them to explore limitless opportunities. Our goals are to:

  •  improve the life trajectories of students,
  • encourage pride and hope for their families, and
  • foster good citizens for the greater community.

YMA Vision

Offering children a pathway for character and leadership development through equitable access to music education.

About the Program

Young Musicians of Alamance is a music instruction program that offers intensive ensemble instrumental and general music instruction, with qualified music teachers and instruments they may take home for practicing, based on the world-wide network of intensive music programs, El Sistema. These benefits are offered at a fraction of what they cost, to children who otherwise would have little opportunity for this kind of instruction. Students receive six hours of instruction during the week, including a Saturday lesson and two after-school lessons, during which they receive snacks and a Saturday lunch.

In addition to intensive music instruction, Young Musicians of Alamance focuses on important social values such as respect for self and others, sharing of assistance and resources, mutual support and caring, self-discipline, and hard work.

Further, instrumental music instruction has been demonstrated, through intensive and rigorous research, to promote increased brain development and hearing acuity!  These factors are critical for improved academic development.  YMA students have demonstrated this in their own lives!

The Young Musicians of Alamance become learning and performing members of an exciting and caring community.

For more information about the global El Sistema network, see below.

About El Sistema

Young Musicians of Alamance is based on the El Sistema model of youth orchestras, which began in Venezuela and has spread worldwide.  El Sistema programs around the world are known for rescuing young people in extremely impoverished circumstances from the environment of drug abuse and crime into which they would likely otherwise be drawn. As “El Sistema” reports, its goal is to use music for the protection and enhancement of children’s lives. 

The opportunity for educational enrichment in a safe and nurturing environment promises greater readiness for school among young children in low-income communities. Music is one way to counter some of the life-long disadvantages that are the result of a lack of economic stability, helping develop a positive sense of self and community, and empowering students. For instance, frequent performances of small ensembles and combined orchestral groups help develop pride and self-confidence in our students.  Studies indicate that the earlier children – especially low-income children – are provided with intensive music, the greater the impact or benefit.

World-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel had his beginnings in El Sistema.  According to Dudamel, “music saved my life and has saved the lives of thousands of at risk children in Venezuela…like food, like health care, like education, music has to be a right for every citizen.”   In addition to being the present conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Dudamel is a dedicated supporter of the El Sistema-model Youth Orchestra of Las Angeles (YOLA) and of The Harmony Project, also an intensive music program, in Los Angeles.

Dr. Adele Diamond, a highly-respected Professor and Research Chair of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience spoke of the importance of fostering positive Executive Function — self-control, staying focused, dealing positively with change and unexpected problems, and a number of other positive factors — that are essential for all aspects of life.  in an article posted in the Ensemble, El Sistema’s newsletter, she wrote, “We have to care about children’s emotional, social, and physical well-being if we want them to be able to problem-solve, exercise self-control, or display any of the other Executive Functions.” Dr. Diamond further reports that “No program does a better job of addressing the whole child – mind, heart, and soul – than does El Sistema.

Sistema Website Links:




Two additional El Sistema-modeled organizations operate in North Carolina:

KidzNotes serving Durham and Raleigh, NC  http://www.kidznotes.org

MusicWorks!A program of the Asheville, NC, Symphony Orchestra  http://www.musicworksasheville.org/


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