NYU Steinhardt News

Woodwind Students and Professors Give Back

For the past two years, Woodwind Studies professor Matt Sullivan has been bringing NYU students to give complimentary performances to the children who attend the Northside Center in Harlem.

Most of the children who go to the Northside Center are living in poverty and have little exposure to the arts outside of school. In addition to arts workshops, the center provides behavioral and mental health services as well as enrichment programs to children in need.

Music Education professor Michael Breaux connected Sullivan to the Center after having performed there, telling Sullivan what a wonderful place it is.

“Music builds community, whether it’s for the people playing or listening,” said Sullivan.

In addition to giving concerts, Sullivan and his students teach the children about the instruments they play, the materials from which they are made, and the sounds they produce.

The NYU group also coaches the kids, who are in the fourth and fifth grade, in careful listening, helping them appreciate the music they are hearing and understand the sounds the instruments before them are producing.

Since many of the children in attendance are of Latin American background, he has tailored his program to music of that region, hoping to make a connection to music the Northside kids might hear at home with their families.

This school year, Sullivan is planning to introduce the Northside students to the concepts of melody, harmony, and rhythm.