In its fifth year, Kidznotes is bigger than ever and growing still

Rashad Hayward, Kidznotes Durham artistic manager, directs students at the Holton Career and Resource Center.

“We’re partnering with the organization Band Together in order to raise $1 million by the end of the 2015-16 school year,” said Rashad Hayward, Kidznotes’ Durham artistic manager.

Instructor Omar Ruiz- (Staff photo by Jock Lauterer)

Instructor Omar Ruiz-Lopez demonstrates violin technique to students as parents look on. (Staff photo by Jock Lauterer)

While exact plans for how the money will be used have not been finalized, the general goal is to use the money to increase enrollment over the next few years in Raleigh and Durham.

“Right now, we’re still reaching out to each others’ resources,” said Hayward.

Every year, Band Together picks a nonprofit organization to partner with in order to increase fundraising by pooling these resources. According to Band Together’s website, the Raleigh based-organization has helped to raise $5.5 million since 2001.

Meanwhile, Kidznotes has partnered with another children’s education organization, Marbles Kids Museum, for the “Kidz in Concert” event on Nov. 21 at Marbles.

“Marbles reached out to us wanting to include more daily music activities,” said Hayward.

It’s a great partnership for the two organizations because the Kidznotes students will perform, and afterward “they can play and have fun,” according to Hayward.

The performances and music-themed activities throughout the museum will begin at 1 p.m. and go until 4 p.m.

The kids will perform in ensembles based on their experience levels and age groups.

“There will also be an instrument zoo where our kids can show off their instruments and show other children how to play,” said Hayward.

Kids teaching kids is a big part of the Kidznotes system, and the children begin doing so after they graduate from the Mozart ensemble, the first learning level.

At the Mozart level, everyone is taught how to play the violin in order to work on their musical training and performance abilities.

When they graduate into the Haydn ensemble, they can pick new instruments to learn, and join smaller ensembles within the larger ensemble.

The Kidznotes program in Durham serves five schools: Club Boulevard Elementary, Eastway Elementary, E.K. Powe Elementary, Maureen Joy Charter School and Y.E. Smith Elementary.

Mozart ensemble kids meet at those schools after the normal school day, while Haydn ensembles and above meet at Holton Career and Resource Center. On Saturday mornings, all 200 plus students meet at Holton to play together.

To get involved with Kidznotes, visit