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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
Outside the Ivory Tower
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Winter 2002
Outside the Ivory Tower
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BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

"THESE KIDS HAVE NO OTHER OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MUSIC."

VIOLINS SQUEAL. Trumpets burp and wail. It might be grating to some, but it's all sweet music to the ears of these young students at Bursch Elementary School in Compton as they embark upon a new year in "the band," as they call UCLA's Music Outreach Program.

Every Friday, Bursch second-through-fifth-graders in the program stay after school for lessons from students in UCLA's Department of Music. The excitement is evident on the faces of the kids.

"I love it!" says 10-year-old Sandra Ramirez as she gently, almost reverently, lifts a shiny black clarinet from its velvet-lined case. "The sounds … I love them. I feel happy when I play. This year I will learn violin," Ramirez says, smiling.

UCLA Music Department Chair Jon Robertson launched the program in 1994 at Washington Preparatory High School in East Los Angeles. Now in its sixth year, it continues at Washington Prep as well as at Bursch, Roosevelt High School in East L.A., Bret Harte Middle School in South Central L.A. and the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood.

For many of the children, this program is the only music exposure they receive in school.

"We are their music program," says Annissa Lui, outreach director for the Department of Music. "There's no way these kids could afford private instruction or the instruments."

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