Atlanta Music Project Helps Kids Make Beautiful Music

The Atlanta Music Project is a nonprofit providing intensive, tuition-free music education for underserved youth right in their neighborhood. The organization was inspired by the El Sistema movement that has its origins in Venezuela. In 1975, Jose Antonio Abreu founded El Sistema (“the system”) in Venezuela to teach Venezuela’s impoverished to play instruments and participate in youth orchestras around the country. Ultimately, El Sistema became a transformative tool for youth to improve their socioeconomic status, stay away from crime and for some, become professional musicians and teachers. In 2009, Abreu was awarded a TED prize and partnered with the New England Conservatory to establish the Sistema Fellows Program, a training program for “gifted young musicians, passionate about their art and social justice and dedicated to bringing El Sistema to the United States and other countries.” Dantes Rameau, AMP’s co-founder and executive director, and Aisha Moody, co-founder and director of AMP’s choir program, are both graduates of the Sistema Fellows Program.

Now in its seventh year of programming and serving 250 students at five sites, AMP provides students with an instrument, a teaching artist, classes and numerous public performance opportunities. AMP does not hold entrance auditions—the only requirement is a commitment to attend all classes. AMP’s programs include the AMP Orchestra; AMPlify, the choral program of the Atlanta Music Project; the AMP Academy, which provides advanced musical training to AMP’s most talented and dedicated students; and the AMP Summer Series, a music festival and school. AMP’s young artists have performed at Atlanta’s most prestigious venues, including the Woodruff Arts Center, Spivey Hall and the Rialto Center for the Arts. In 2015, Clayton State University established the Atlanta Music Project Endowed Scholarships, providing scholarship funds for AMP students choosing to attend Clayton State as music majors and music minors. In 2016, the White House named AMP one of the top 50 afterschool arts programs in the nation. In the same year, Bank of America selected AMP as the winner of a Neighborhood Builders Award, providing the organization with $200,000, leadership training and access to capital. For more information, visit AtlantaMusicProject.org.