Kidznotes is a Durham-based nonprofit, established in 2010, based on the internationally known organization, El Sistema. It partners with Title 1 public schools and each school’s music teachers in Durham and Wake Counties.

Photo courtesy of Kidznotes

Kidznotes provides all the instruments for the students and the musical instructors with the curriculum. In turn, each participating public school provides a music teacher for team-teaching after school, for orchestra or band instruction one Saturday monthly and transportation to Kidznotes’ home base, known as the “nucleo.” This partnership immerses students in music instruction beginning in kindergarten. Guests artists from professional performance venues, such as Duke Performances and the N.C. Symphony, work with Kidznotes and the students are invited to attend their performance for free.

Kidznotes changes the life trajectory of underserved students in lTitle 1 public schools. Starting at an early age, this orchestral training involves the students executive functioning skills, self-discipline, and improved learning and social skills. This scalable model is building a thriving network of children, families, and community partners in which excellence and collaboration in music foster the individual and group transformative potential. Founder and former executive director Katie Wyatt remarked, "El Sistema uses the orchestra and assembling a mini-society to create a model of living and of human effort that is really about every single person mastering their part and blending it to create something of great beauty that is bigger than just yourself."

The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation’s grant enabled Kidznotes to purchase more instruments and further extend program activities in underserved communities of Wake County. This grant also facilitated staff capacity expansion.