Free Music Classes for Underprivileged Kids in New After-School program ran by Judith Leist, Beth Stollman and Dennis Flint

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Three local musicians, Judith Leist, Beth Stollman and Dennis Flint, have started a new after school program to teach underprivileged children how to play a musical instrument. The after-school program provides free music lessons in a warm and encouraging environment.

In addition to weekly lessons, we provide a welcoming and supportive environment for the kids to come and practice after school as well as free lessons, we also provide the instruments

Three local musicians, all actively involved in community projects, have set up a new after-school project to teach underprivileged children a musical instrument. The program focuses on kids between the ages of 11 – 16 years who come from families that could not otherwise afford music lessons or the price of renting or buying a musical instrument. The idea is to encourage kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, to get involved with music. It also gives exposure to classical music and the chance to learn from classically trained musicians. Based in a local community center, the project runs Monday through Thursday in the afternoons.

"In addition to weekly lessons, we provide a welcoming and supportive environment for the kids to come and practice after school as well as free lessons, we also provide the instruments," comments Judith Leist, one of the three musicians who started the project. The price of renting or buying musical instruments is said to be one of the biggest obstacles for children from poorer families in starting to learn an instrument.

The three musicians who started the project – Beth Stollman, Judith Leist and Dennis Flint are all actively involved on a daily basis in giving the lessons. Students have the opportunity to study violin, cello, flute or clarinet. "Depending on resources, we hope to expand that to also include singing lessons," comments Judith Leist. They are supported by a host of volunteers and have received instruments donated from people throughout the area.

One of the initiators of the project, Judith Leist, explains; "Music is such a positive and constructive outlet. Not only does it provide a constructive way to spend spare time, it also allows children to express themselves. Additionally, studying music also helps children with concentration and even mathematics."

So far more than 40 children are learning to play an instrument in the program. They are aiming to put together a spring concert in March next year for family and those who have generously donated to the project.

About Judith Leist
Judith Leist is a keen musician and has played in professional orchestras in Europe as well as in the U.S. She has been actively involved with many charities and community projects over the years and donates a considerable amount of her time to performing for charity events. Judith Leist was exposed to music at a very early age thanks to her parents who both played in orchestras. Leist has played the violin since the age of 6, and the cello since she was 9. In addition, she can also play the piano and harp. Judith has many hobbies including reading and baking. She lives with her husband, son and three dogs and currently dedicates most of her time to the after-school music lessons project for local children.

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Ed Eshel
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