YOLA Launches Its First School-Day Program

The LA Phil has partnered with Camino Nuevo Charter Academy to create its fourth YOLA site. The program is the first to combine in-school music education with YOLA’s after-school rehearsals.

CNCA schools serve the area a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, which include some of the city’s most under-resourced and densely populated neighborhoods. The new YOLA program has enrolled 300 students in grades K-3, and over time, it will grow into a complete K-12 music program at two of CNCA’s eight schools.

Students begin in kindergarten with a robust general music education. “It isn't your typical music classroom,” explained Elsje Kibler-Vermaas, the LA Phil’s Acting Director of Educational Initiatives. “They get dance; they get classical music; they sit on the floor; the room smells like lavender. It’s an incredible environment.”

YOLA teachers start working with students in grade K, and, in grades 2 to 8, students receive their own instruments and add five to eight hours of weekly orchestral training during school hours, in addition to two or three 90-minute rehearsals after school.

Ana Ponce, chief executive of CNCA, said parents were particularly excited about bringing music to their children. “It's something that the community values, that they want for their kids,” Ponce said. “We will not only build a model, but we will be able to understand the impact of this intensive music education system from early age through high school.”

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