Making Music in West Harlem at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center!

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trumpetThe Children’s Aid Society’s Drew Hamilton Learning Center runs an arts-based after-school program, with a special focus on music. The overarching goal of music instruction at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center is to develop musicianship, discipline, and self-esteem; the program pursues this goal in various ways.

The 70 students enrolled in the program participate for an average of 2-6 hours per week. Students are taught music fundamentals –reading music, history, theory and related skills.


A keystone of the program is instruction in a variety of instruments: percussion, violin, bass guitar, trumpet, saxophone, keyboard and flute.  Teaching artists instruct the students in a small group setting, ultimately seeking to enable youth to create their own original music through improvisation. This DHLC after-school music program creates specific opportunities for instruction leading up to performances, promoting self-confidence and poise in each student.

The music program connects parents and other community members to the center by providing them with occasions to listen to and celebrate music though performances both within the center and in the surrounding community. Students in the performing groups, drumsuch as the Drew Drummers and the Harmony in Harlem Jazz Ensemble, share their talents throughout the community.

This past year, the students performed at the CAS 8th Annual Children’s Art Show, Make Music New York, and Harlem Week. We look forward to another year of jamming in Harlem and the inspiration that music brings to our youth.

-Mary Newcomb