24 Third graders from East End Community School in Portland stood in line anxiously awaiting their homework – a half-size fiddle decorated with a 317 sticker.
“We’re really excited to put instruments into the hands of young people and let YOU decide if it’s something you want to do,” said Jake Hoffman, 317 Main’s Partnership Program Coordinator, to a roomful of parents and students.”
The fiddle program, which is funded through grants and donations, gives every third grader at EECS the chance to try the instrument at no charge. About 1/3rd of the students opted to stay with it this year, which means they now get to take a fiddle home.
“I feel like music is so important,” said Jen Dean, mother of Charlie, 9. “The ability for her to have access to a violin is incredible.”
Of course, now the real work begins. In addition to a weekly violin class taught by 317 Main Teaching Artist Tyler Lienhardt, students will be expected to practice their instruments at home.
Charlie says she can hardly wait. “I think the violin makes a really cool noise and if you put your mind to it, you can make beautiful music.”