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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Music Lens?

Music Lens is a free summer program that introduces elementary school students to classical music. For lower-income working parents, it fills a need for enriching childcare at a familiar location, and for kids, it’s a supportive, high-energy, and creative experience with a subject they might never have known they loved. Although we spend our days learning music theory and history and listening to classical masterpieces, Music Lens feels like a camp, not a school. Kids come away remembering a magical week of possibility, discovery, and excitement, and classical music organically becomes a valuable part of their lives. 

Who can register?

Music Lens is free and available to any incoming second, third, or fourth grader, though we particularly seek to partner with communities underrepresented in classical music - specifically black and Latinx children - as well as families who experience financial barriers to music education and enriching summer programs. No prior musical experience is required.

Why classical music?

​We love classical music and have seen it change our lives immeasurably for the better. Our goal is to spend a week creating a nurturing and energetic community centered around the discovery of an art form that all our teachers love. We focus on developing our students’ skills in approaching and enjoying any music that is new to them, so that they will have more to enjoy after the camp is over. Although classical music is our area of expertise, it is only one corner of a vast and wonderful world of sound, and we encourage students to make connections to music with which they are familiar. We also include daily world music lessons in the curriculum to broaden our students' outlooks. At Music Lens, we believe in using music to create happier and more engaged students.

What is your philosophy regarding community development?

At Music Lens, we strive to follow an asset-based community development model, which differs from the traditional "social service model" by focusing on our communities' assets, rather than their needs, and by viewing our students and their families as partners, rather than clients. Teacher training involves discussion of the specific communities in which we work, our teachers' positionality in relation to their students, and this asset-based model. We build Music Lens around the needs of our communities, and we let host locations tweak the details of close to 50 elements of the program, down to the length of the camp days, so as best to serve working parents. We allow early drop-offs. We operate in familiar and convenient locations. We limit our classes to ten students to make sure all our participants get individualized attention. By catering to parents’ needs, we make ourselves an asset to our communities. 

What is Music Lens' history?

We have run one session of Music Lens in Boston each of the past four years and have received enthusiastic reviews from participants and their parents. Many children choose to pursue further musical study after the program, and we offer help with finding a teacher and instrument. Every year, parents tell us about how their children have begun identifying Baroque music playing in public settings, arranging their dolls in orchestras, or making instruments from objects around the house. In the summer of 2018, we expanded our reach to Cleveland and hosted five more sessions in three neighborhoods there. There are no Cleveland programs running this year, but there will be in 2020 and going forward!


I still have more questions!

We're happy to answer them! Just send us an email at musiclensboston@gmail.com.

What Do Parents Say?

"My daughter came home every day really excited to tell me what she had learned. She was thrilled to be able to play the instruments on the final day, she loved all of the guest performers, and she was so excited to show me the instruments she made. My daughter and I would look at the photos together, and she would be able to relay her day to me in great detail."

My daughter loves your camp. She told me about the world music (Indian), and how she learned to really like it. She told me about Sarah's cello and knowing now that she likes Bach. She told me about the difficult words "pianissimo" and "fortissimo" and we practiced those at dinner (even I stumbled)! She's (earnestly) creating her duck-sound + pluck instrument and looking forward to the rest of the week. Seems to me like you totally nailed it! 

"It was well-organized and engaging, and it is evident that the passion of the instructors transferred down to my daughter...she loved going!"

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[Early arrival period]
8:15​ - Check-in/arrival
8:45​ - Introductions, icebreaker questions, classroom tour
9:05​ ​- What do we already know about classical music?
9:15​ ​- Guess/learn the instruments of orchestra with

            videos and an interactive velcro poster

9:45​ - Teachers demonstrate their instruments
10:00​ -​ Snack and recess

10:40​ - ​Guest performer!

11:20​ -​ Folkways world music lesson: Nigerian-style flute

12:00​ - Lunch and recess

1:10​ - ​Dynamics game with instruments

2:05​ ​- The science of sound lesson

2:30​ - Start the week-long build-your-own-instrument craft

3:15​ - ​Review the day as a group

3:30​ - ​Time to go home and look forward to tomorrow!

Sample Schedule