LSU Music Students Share Their Love of Music with Elementary Students


BATON ROUGE – Nearly 800 Baton Rouge elementary students are learning how to play an instrument, thanks to a relationship between LSU School of Music students and the non-profit organization, Kids’ Orchestra.

“A program like Kids’ Orchestra gives an opportunity to these kids, to have a different experience in life,” said Maricel Mendez. Mendez, who is originally from Costa Rica, is pursuing a master’s degree in music and studying viola performance at LSU’s School of Music.

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.

“First of all, of course, there’s something magical about teaching progress and working with kids,” said Anton Zholondz, who is from Russia and working toward a doctor of musical arts degree, specializing in string performance.

“More people should know about this program and support it. It’s not only about music, it’s about human development for the kids and for the students working here. It’s a social benefit for everyone I think,” said Mendez.

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

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Contact Rachel Spangenthal
LSU Media Relations


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