Music for Youth in Cincinnati

Mission and Core Values

MYCincinnati's mission is to use ensemble-based instrumental music as a tool for youth development and community engagement by providing urban children with access to free, intense, high-quality music education. 

Message from MYCincinnati Founder and Teaching Artist Laura Jekel: "In MYCincinnati, I hope to embody the fundamental elements of El Sistema. In May, 2010, I traveled throughout Venezuela and experienced El Sistema first-hand; since then I have thought extensively about what makes El Sistema distinctive and successful. What is taking place in Venezuela is miraculous. In all corners of the country, children are making music together, sometimes with incredibly minimal resouces. El Sistema is something different to everyone, and my interpretation of its fundamental elements is by no means definitive. MYCincinnati's core values are my translation of what I saw there, and how they have been applied while building MYCincinnati." 

Every Child is a Main Character. Everything that happens at MYCincinnati is geared towards the children. This in a place where they can feel safe, loved, and challenged. MYCincinnati will be dedicated to the personal and musical growth of each child. 

The Orchestra and the Community. MYCincinnati is about making music together, and the orchestra is our musical family. MYCincinnati's youth orchestra will be a visible and audible symbol of harmony in the community, as well as a source of pride. 

Learning and Growing Together. In Venezuela there is a saying: "If you know five notes, teach someone who only knows four." If one student lags behind, their friend will help them catch up. If a student advances quickly, they will become a teacher and mentor to the other students. In Venezuela, a student as young as 12 often leads orchestra rehearsals, and teachers sit in the orchestra alongside their students. At MYCincinnati, everyone is both a teacher and a students because everyone learns together and plays together. 

Fun. MYCincinnati is a place where children come to learn music and be together. Having fun is a priority - it makes everything possible.

Centering Racial Equity. MYCincinnati is committed to embedding anti-racist practices at all levels of the organization, from its culture to its structures. Through our critical, reflective, and equity-based practices, we strive to dismantle and transform oppressive systems and mindsets that prevent members of our community from achieving and dreaming their fullest. The process of striving for racial equity and social justice within our community inspires other communities to do the same.

Access. The following are the words of Dr. José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema: "Today we can say that art in Latin America is no longer a monopoly of elites and that it has become a social right, a right for all the people."

Performance and Striving for Excellence. Children will perform frequently, because in doing so they will be continually striving for excellence and building self-confidence. At MYCincinnati we expect a lot of our young musicians, and hold them to extremely high artistic standards.