The program currently runs from September through the end of May during and after-school, Monday through Friday. Occasional Saturday enrichment activities are also offered along with frequent performance opportunities. During the 2013-2014 school year, OrchKids expanded from 550 students to 725 by continuing with the natural expansion of the program by growing with the children grade by grade. OrchKids also opened its fifth site at Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts.
- Pre-K and Kindergarten: Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of music and musicianship, using techniques developed by Dalcroze (Eurythmics), Kodaly (Solfege), Gordon and Orff. These age-appropriate games and activities invite the children to discover musical concepts in a fun, participatory manner.
- 1st grade: Students will have the opportunity to explore the different instrument families (strings, woodwinds and brass) by learning to play the violin, trumpet, and recorder. Through the "exploration of the instruments" experience, they will discover their own personal preferences and proficiencies by active participation. The Bucket Band will help children develop respect for an instrument, give immediate gratification of being able to play an instrument and act as a vehicle to teach ensemble playing and rhythm. Musicianship classes will continue during the school day with off-site enrichment activities. Homework tutoring sessions will begin to ensure high academic achievement.
- 2nd grade: Students will select an instrument to play and be involved with group lessons, mixed ensembles, homework tutoring, rhythm class, and enrichment activities. Each child will receive an instrument of his or her own to practice in the program and at home. Young musicians from the program will be provided opportunities to play side-by-side with other community partner music groups, including BSO musicians. Students will also begin participating in leadership activities in preparation for significant mentoring roles they will undertake in coming years.
- 3rd grade: Students will continue to play orchestral instruments and will be involved with group lessons, mixed ensembles, rhythm class, and enrichment activities. Third grade students will also begin to act as mentors for the younger students. Homework tutoring sessions and mentoring training will continue. Students will become advocates for the program in new schools through collaborative and informative performances.
- 4th grade: Students will continue to play orchestral instruments and will be involved with group lessons, mixed ensembles, rhythm class, and enrichment activities. Fourth grade students will begin to assume their role as mentors for the younger students and continue community collaborations and advocacy and have increased performance opportunities.
- 5th grade-7th grade: Students will continue to play orchestral instruments and will be involved with group lessons, mixed ensembles, rhythm class, and enrichment activities. Fifth grade students will also act as mentors for the younger students and continue community collaborations and advocacy and have increased performance opportunities.
Year Round Learning: A four-week, full-day summer program is planned for the 2014 summer session. This program will be for Kindergarten through 8th grade students and will include study in musicianship, group lessons, mixed ensemble rehearsals, orchestra rehearsal, jazz band rehearsal, chamber music rehearsals, physical education and off-site enrichment activities. There will also be several performances during the summer session.
In addition, throughout the year students will take part in activities other than musical instruction that will help to develop the whole person. These activities will include family activities, field trips to local, cultural, and civic organizations, as well as leadership and personal development training. Such activities will include frequenting the Meyerhoff Symphony Center, Peabody Conservatory, The Lyric Opera House, Walters Art Gallery, Smithsonian National Zoo, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and many other Baltimore landmarks, higher education institutions, sporting events, and meetings with civil servants and government officials.
At several points in the year, students, families, faculty, and advisors will participate in activities to evaluate the impact of the program to ensure that the goals we have established for the programs are appropriate and are being met.