Northport-East Northport school district’s newly expanded third grade string orchestra program is embracing the support of their involved parents. To ensure students are practicing their instruments at home, the district has invited parents to learn and play alongside their children four times per month.
Expanding the string orchestra program had been a hope of the district for over 16 years and was made possible following the district reorganization last year. Student musicians are often limited in their at-home practice due to parents not knowing how to play. By opening up lessons to parents, the hope is that they will be able to reinforce the skills built in class while home.
Enrolled third graders each received a violin and parents were offered a discount to purchase or rent one from local vendors, or if they already have an adult size violin, they could bring their own.
The students learn either before school or during recess with teacher Veronica Kiss and their parents are invited to join them either after school on Tuesdays or on Saturdays, four times per month. Parents do not need to know how to play the instrument prior to attending and the group is a mix of first-time musicians and experienced players. The program had significant interest and ultimately students were chosen by lottery as participation was limited.
“It was worth the wait because of the joy we saw in the parents and the kids,” said NHS Orchestra Director Michael Susinno. “It’s one of the few opportunities for parents to come in and witness learning first hand. They loved it.”