We are Dedicated TEACHING ARTISTS,
AND HARD-working musicians.

Founded in 1998 as Trenton Community Music School, our mission has always been to provide music instruction, and to support the powerful impact that music has on urban children’s lives. Since 2015 we’ve been doing that in an all-ensemble model, through our award-winning preschool program and our El Sistema-inspired afterschool orchestra.

One of our guiding principles is to honor and strengthen the promising elements already present in children’s lives - the network of caring parents and teachers, and the desire to develop skills that make them an asset to their school communities. To this we add proven, well-researched curricula, access to musical instruments, instruction at no cost to children and families provided by professional teaching artists, and opportunities to travel outside of their local community.

We bring children together in teams of music learners and makers, to develop their minds, imagination, and community.

what we believe

  • Building musicianship also builds great students and citizens.

  • Our role is to provide resources and to remove barriers.

  • Teachers, families, and music lovers all have vital parts to play in supporting young musicians.

  • Respect and responsibility are a cycle, building itself as it revolves.

  • Leaders show their strength when they support others.

  • Striving for excellence together is as important as achieving it.

  • We have more to offer as a team when we look and speak differently from each other.

  • Our children are our community's greatest asset.

The impact the music program is having on our students is immeasurable! My students who would usually sit quietly began taking on more leadership and became vocal during group assignments. Students that occasionally struggled to focus have shown strict discipline and detail when completing tasks in class.
— April Reid, Fourth Grade Teacher at Grant Elementary

our programs

Trenton Music Makers Orchestra

Orch 10 Lo-Res.jpg

The Trenton Music Makers Orchestra brings together young people from second grade through high school into one community orchestra. As part of the El Sistema movement in the United States, we use music as a platform for social change. Students from twelve different schools in Trenton meet 3-4 days per week after school, with a pre-orchestra program for second and third graders, orchestra for third grade through high school, and an advanced ensemble for our most dedicated players. Read on!

music for the very young

MVY 5.jpg

Music for the Very Young: Music, Movement and Literacy provides Trenton’s pre-K children with a joyful and interesting first music education experience. The program weaves music, movement and reading basics into the fabric of the preschool day, trains preschool teachers in creating a musical classroom, and engages children's families in their learning. Read on!


and for the latest news

Enjoy the most recent edition of The e-String, right here. You can also subscribe, by clicking the envelope in the bar below.