By guest contributor Jada Martin-Capers, Age 14
I've attended the Noel Pointer Foundation, where Chinita Pointer introduced me to different kinds of music. I learned how to play the violin about 6 years ago, from ages 4-8 in her program.Playing the violin doesn't take talent, it takes hard work and what you put into it. I've discovered that if you set your mind to do something, you can achieve great things.
The Noel Pointer Foundation was established in 1994 by the Chief Executive Officer, Chinita Pointer. Noel Pointer, which was Chinita's husband, died in 1994. He was a jazz violinist who studied in NYC public schools.
The goal of this foundation is to bring string music and education to children and underserved communities. Chinita says, "It's very rare to see children of color playing string music." The foundation is divided into different programs. Each program has Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced classes.
In the summer program, children ages 4 and up learn to play either violin, viola, cello, double bass, classical guitar or piano. The Parents or student choose which instrument they would like to play. This program is 5 days a week, for 5 weeks.
It starts at 9:00am to 3:00pm. There is an extended day program, held for parents and children from 3:00 pm to 5:15pm. Kids can play chess, read, do arts and crafts, and plant. On Thursdays, the children listen to World Music.
Teachers bring musicians from all around the world to perform for the students. For example, last week they had two musicians from Japan play for the children. Fridays, the students go on class trips to cultural institutions. On the last day, parents are recommended to come and watch their child play at the recital ceremony.
In the outreach program, teachers are hired in public schools to teach string music. In 2014, NPF was in 28 New York City public schools, in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. In the fall, they hope to work in schools in the Bronx and Manhattan.
In the Saturday program, children receive 1hr of playing string music in groups, and 30 minutes for a partnered lesson. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there are one on one lessons with their teacher. You can choose 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 1 hour of private teaching for your child. Since the Foundation started, they've served over 27,000 students. In the upcoming year, the Noel Pointer will have their 20th anniversary celebration!
Although I don't play the violin anymore, I am still closely connected to Chinita Pointer. The reason why I don't play anymore is because I don't live in Brooklyn. If I lived in Brooklyn, I would attend the NPF all year round.
I recommend that if you live in Brooklyn, you should enroll your child in this program all year. This will educate them and they'll have a chance to learn various instruments.