Kids’ Orchestra Partnership Gives the Gift of Music to Elementary Students

September/October 2017


Kids' Orchestra Practice


LSU School of Music’s partnership with the non-profit organization, Kids’ Orchestra, is giving hundreds of Baton Rouge elementary school students the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument – many of them for the first time.

Maricel Mendez, an LSU master’s candidate studying viola performance at the School of Music, says, “The main purpose of education is improving people's lives. In Kids' Orchestra, we educate and the same time we learn. It's amazing.” Maricel added, "More people should know about this kind of program and support it. It's not only about music, it's about human development."

Mendez, originally from Costa Rica, spends many of her teaching assistantship contract hours working with the students of Kids’ Orchestra. She is one of five LSU School of Music students who are currently working with the non-profit organization.

The majority of Kids’ Orchestra teaching artists are current or former LSU School of Music students. The teaching artists receive a salary for their time. Five LSU School of Music students currently have teaching assistantship contracts that include teaching hours at Kids’ Orchestra.

Kids’ Orchestra participants are asked to pay a tuition. Organizers say a majority of the students receive scholarships. The program takes place after school. Transportation is also provided to students from their school to their assigned Kids' Orchestra location. 

“This is my first year with the violin, though previously I’ve done two years of cello. Most of the songs I learned on cello, instantly transition to the violin,” said 10-year-old Thomas Diamond. 

For some of the students, it’s their first time learning how to play an instrument.


To learn more about LSU’s School of Music visit their website,


This article was adapted from a news release by LSU’s Rachel Spangenthal. For the original article, please visit,