By Holli Harms

Music is one of the most important parts of our life. It can lift us, change us, make us better people, it brings us together. Music can transport us to other worlds, expand our thoughts, and build bridges. Music is the one and only thing that we can all agree we need and cherish in our lives. The talent to be able to CREATE music is to be part of the magic.

Music for children is essential to their growth and learning. Essential to their ways of connecting and thriving. Watch a child dance to music with no inhibitions and you are watching pure joy. But music is often something that is not readily available to many children. Music, which is part of the arts, is not always funded in our public schools. There is often a gap between those who have opportunities for the arts and those who do not. That gap is often created by the lack of funding.

Opportunity Music Project was founded in 2011 to address that very gap, specifically the lack of racial and economic diversity in classical music. OMP’s “mission is to provide rigorous and equitable education for low-income and underrepresented students of color and provide formal training in music.” OMP believes,”…that every child deserves the opportunity to experience music in a supportive family environment. We believe every child should also experience sharing their talent to give back to their communities and benefit society. Together we work to give every student the crucial tools needed to succeed as a musician.” They are creating those opportunities and sharing their music throughout NYC.

On a wonderful chilly December night at the beautiful J.W. Marriott Essex House, 160 Central Park South, I attended a free concert of OMP students and faculty held in the resplendent lobby. Four students and four instructors played beautiful uplifting classical music for OMP parents, other students, and those lucky individuals staying at the Essex or just dropping in to see what was going on. One gentleman visiting from Florida leaned into me and said, “This is amazing! Only in New York!” It was an outstanding hour of music. The performance was hosted by Kolstein Music. Kolstein supplies instrument rentals as well as sells top-of-the-market instruments and they support young musical artists in this program. I smiled the whole hour and then all the way home and all the way up the five flights to my apartment. Smiled because of the music I heard and for the OMP program not only benefited the performers but my life as well.

OMP is giving the gift of music to so many NYC students and they are able to because of generous donations by companies, groups, and individuals.

OMP is there for our students. If you would like to make a donation or learn more about Opportunity Music Project’s programs go HERE.