Phoenix group adding music camp for preschool children in need

An instructor teaching a child how to use an instrument.

Harmony Project Phoenix is launching its first music education summer camp for preschoolers.

Children ages 3-5 will learn how to make violas and percussion instruments out of cereal boxes and recycled materials. Participants will learn songs and choreography. Classes will be offered at no cost to families with low-to-moderate income. The program will run from May 31 through June 4.

Harmony Project offers free music lessons to low-income students in grades K-12 who can learn how to play instruments, including violin, cello, clarinet, saxophone and guitar. Every student joins one of six ensembles that focuses on different music genres including mariachi, Latin Caribbean and classical.

The group was founded in Los Angeles in 2001 to provide equal access to music education and opportunities to children from low-income families. Today it serves more than 4,000 children across the country. Harmony Project Phoenix was launched in 2015 and serves more than 200 children with year-round music lessons.

Preschool aged children learn how to make their instruments out of recycled materials.

Executive director Diogo Pereira said the group is in need of financial support to expand its programs. Building partnerships with schools in low-income areas to reach more students is a priority.

“Since I was a young teenager in my home country, Brazil, I always had two passions: music and social justice. It became a way to express my passions by using the transformative power of music as a tool to foster social justice,” Pereira said.

Senior high school students that participated in the program since 2018 had a 100% high school graduation rate and each of them enrolled in college and became first-generation students in their families.

Children who commit to the program learn about teamwork, creativity and develop a strong work ethic which equals success in other areas of life, Pereira said.

Upcoming Harmony Project Phoenix Concerts:

Roxanne De La Rosa covers Arizona's nonprofit community. Reach her at

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix nonprofit starts music camp for preschool children in need