Opus 118 Harlem School of Music

Rating: 5 stars   9 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 103 East 125th St 7th Floor New York NY 10035 USA

Mission: The mission of Opus 118 School of Music is to provide quality music instruction and teacher development in an environment that nurtures excellence and creativity. Opus 118 is guided by the philosophy that all students are entitled to the benefits music provides and we are committed to serving students in low-income areas.  For nearly 12 years, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music has used music education and string playing to promote the love of music, improve academic performance, provide positive alternatives to drugs and violence, build confidence and self-esteem and help children explore the world. Opus 118’s work is documented in the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Small Wonders and in the feature film Music of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep in her Academy Award-nominated performance as Roberta Guaspari, Opus 118’s co-founder and Artistic Director.Core Values:�Excellence in teaching, student activities and everything we do. �Access, inclusiveness and opportunity. �A caring environment. �A close relationship with our community. Vision:By 2015, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music will:�Provide excellent music education to 5,000 students annually.�Be a nationally recognized center for teacher development.�Continuously promote music education as an essential part of learning.
Geographic areas served: New York, NY
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EIN 13-3648982
212-831-4455
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Opus 118 Harlem School of Music is more than just a community music school. It is a place where an economically and racially diverse group of children and parents , all of whom have a passion for music, the violin, and excellence, come together and forge strong bonds throughout the years. The teachers are unparalled in their excellence and commitment and they demand the same from their students who, not only learn to appreciate music, but learn discipline through practice for themselves and for their practice groups. Students also learn to cooperate and play and perform together. In short, they learn about professionalism and quality.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My children's appreciation for violin music and their ease with playing. Whenever they play outside of Opus, people ask who their teachers are. It is clear that the Opus students are well trained in every way.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The exceptional teachers our family has encountered and the wonderful friends we have made at Opus 118 Harlem School of Music have made our experience rich.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

unleash the potential in so many more students. If a child isn't introduced to something like violin lessons, how will she or he ever know the excitement and passion that playing can bring to his or her life?

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

Participating in this program empowered me to pursue excellence. In short, it saved my life by opening doors that I would otherwise have never known existed.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my everyday life, and that of my family.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand its reach, expand its teacher-training campaigns and make it the subject of a reality TV series.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the children of my former classmates benefit from the program 20 years later.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Dedicated and engaged.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Positively impact the lives of even more of NYC's neediest children and their families.

Ways to make it better...

The documentary "Small Wonders" had won an Academy Award. But i guess it's an honor to be in a film that was nominated.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Reconciling the corporate culture of the Board of Directors with the collaborative culture of the school's community.

One thing I'd also say is that...

An education in the Arts is not a privilege, it is a necessity, essential to the development of rational, successful Human Beings.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

When I chose to send my son to a public school in NYC, part of my choice was driven by the Opus 118 program in the school. The program is so good and so in-demand that we had to enter a lottery to participate, and what a winning ticket it turned out to be. My son has gained so much discipline, poise, and appreciation for music. He has overcome inhibitions. And he has learned teamwork through the group classes and fantastically wonderul end-of-year concerts. He gained the confidence to audition for a competitive summer music camp, and was so elated to be accepted and attend. He also has such a lovely relationship with his violin teacher, and is proud to be a part of something that is bigger than him, and which has become a legendary part of the New York City music scene.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my family, in my son's school, and in the New York City community.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Opus 118 for years because I believe in its mission and its efficacy. Its gifted and dedicated faculty believe that any child can be a musician. The lives of the thousands of kids they have taught have been immeasurably enriched by their experience. These kids have developed focus, persistence, and self-esteem through playing, and what they learned at Opus 118 has helped them in every other area of school and life. They might never have had access to the pure joy of making music without Opus 118.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My own daughter learned to play the violin at Opus, and she has kept playing throughout her life. In middle and high school, she always had great kids to hang out and play music with. She was so lucky to have won the lottery in first grade!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would love to see this organization have an endowment, so it could continue on a firm footing. This would also enable the fantastic teachers of Opus to train other teachers in their methods, which are admired by famous violinists worldwide.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the privilege of watching what's at the center of it: great teachers making kids into musicians.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate, dedicated, uncompromising, caring beyond belief.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have kids in all the music-starved places in America, and maybe in other places, reaping the benefits of playing an instrument.

Ways to make it better...

I knew the teachers had all the financial and logistical support they needed, without the pressure of funding worries.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

This is an amazing organization. It provides violin and other music education to children in some 700+ families and reaches the children at much younger ages than ordinary school music programs do. The quality of instruction is excellent - highly focused and very disciplined. My daughter takes great joy and pride at her accomplishments after performing with her friends and she is now beginning in a prep ensemble with 6 other children. Where else does one find a violin prep ensemble for 2nd-grade students?

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the excitement and the engagement of my daughter and her friends as they perform.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

Roberta and her team brought classical music into East Harlem. She is the reason you see kids walking around with violins. She teaches teachers. Music education lives in our community because of her.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my life

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

My Sun has been playing violin because of Opus since he was about 6 years old. He first started taking lessons in the in-school program of his elementary school. Then he started taking additional lessons at Opus 118's afterschool program on E. 125th. In about 4th grade, he was asked to join the Junior Performance Ensemble. It has been a FABULOUS experience for him. He has performed with the ensemble at all different types of venues; from opening for the New York Philharmonic in Central Park's Summer Stage, to playing at Avery Fisher Hall with Mark O' Conner, or at the small hall at Carnegie. Recently he even played at a wedding. But the most exciting was traveling to Washington D.C. to play at the first Children's Inaugural Ball, celebrating the election of Barack Obama.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My Sun has benefited greatly from his experiences at Opus. He has fully integrated the concepts of teamwork and cooperation into his personality by playing in the Ensemble. He has learned professionalism, courtesy and promptness. And his math....

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More money! Simply put... we could find a better way to raise funds. That's it. Because I love the program as it stands.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that my sun has learned teamwork and cooperation by playing with the Performance Ensemble. He has learned to read music. And he can play violin!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

are amazingly dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve the entire country with a chain of Opus 118's. Opus traditionally runs a very lean operation. But violins could be upgraded and maintained, we could have bigger practice rooms, perform in a wider variety of venues....

Ways to make it better...

if funds were more readily available to help Opus run without being afraid of money runnig out.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Fund-raising. Plain and simple.

One thing I'd also say is that...

my family loves Opus. We love the staff and teachers, the community of parents and children that has built up around this amazing institution.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

Opus 118 changed my daughter's life. Music and the violin became an integral part of her life, so much so that she has chosen a career in music education and currently teaches violin to children who might otherwise not have access to music lessons. My wife and I also are ardent supporters of Opus 118 and its goals.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Observing my daughter and her peers who also benefited from violin lessons from Roberta Guaspari Tzavaras, and by observing the succeeding classes of Opus 118 graduates.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

Opus 118 is an amazing organization that transforms the lives of New York City students through quality, accesible music education. Opus 118 serves children who might otherwise lack the opportunity or support to participate in music through free in-school lessons at elementary public schools and subsidized class offerings in the after-school music program. Beyond the tremendous effect the program has on individual students, the joys of music Opus 118 cultivates flows over into the larger schools, familiaes, and communities our students come from. While many of the former students have gone on to attend top music conservatories and pursue careers in music performance and education, Opus 118 is so much more than a music school – it is a life school. The lessons of self-discipline and experiences of success the program provides allows students to suceed in any and all academic / professional areas of their lives. I believe the success of Opus 118 is owed to the vision and dedication of Roberta Guaspari, the incredible staff of teachers, and committed staff. I feel lucky to have been a part of the program as a child and remain committed to ensuring generations to come receive the amazing experiences I did.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Opus 118 has been a pillar of education for my family for more than 25 years! As the youngest of four brothers who all played violin with Roberta, I cannot remember a time when Opus 118 was not involved in my life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would offer additional music lessons through the in-school programming. Currently, students interested in playing violin have to be selected through a "lottery" system as there is simply not enough space to accomodate everyone who wants to participate.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the relationships I formed with m teachers and fellow students. I've also enjoyed the opportunities we've had to perform at amazing venues like Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Amazingly dedicated and skilled in all areas of child development and music education.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide music education for all of the NYC / Harlem students who desire to participate. That would be amazing!

Ways to make it better...

I'm not sure there is much that would have made my experience better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Like many arts education non-profits, Opus 118 continues to struggle with Fundraising and ensuring the financial security of our programs.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Was this review helpful?