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Paper Instruments Return In-Person!

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Each year, Boston Music Project welcomes youth as young as four years old to begin their musical journey. Before our youngest musicians pick up real instruments, they work alongside their parents, BMP teaching artists and youth mentors to construct paper instruments, inspired by the tradition from Venezuela's El Sistema program.

In many parts of Venezuela, resources to acquire real instruments are limited.

As a way to keep young children engaged in the music community of their local nucelo, or community center, they make paper instruments to begin learning basic musicianship skills until a real instrument becomes available. At BMP, we have continued this tradition, and each year introduce new design elements and make way for more opportunities for our families and friends of BMP to take part in this community-building experience.

Example of a vibrantly decorated paper cello from a previous year.

Last year, our Paper Instrument Project went virtual and we shifted our focus to creating a step-by-step guide and design kit for our BMP families to build and decorate their instruments at home. Four years ago, our team was hand-cutting cardboard instrument shapes. Three years ago, parent volunteer Iván Nieves and BMP Executive Director Christopher Schroeder designed a way to laser-cut the instrument shapes and subsequently began a partnership with students at Beaver Country Day School (BCDS) who improved on the laser-cut designs as part of their middle school curriculum.

This year, we were thrilled that our Paper Instrument Project could return in-person, and although we couldn’t return to our previous capacity of inviting families and BCDS students into the school to help build the instruments, we were able to enlist some extra help from our wonderful BMP Teaching Artists and Staff. Thank you to everyone who helped make this project possible! Special thanks to the BCDS students and staff (Amelia Walske, Nate Guevin, Liz Latour, Tiffany Smith, Debbie Apple, and Tina Farrell) for continuing to strengthen this partnership, year after year!

Check out some of the photos from this year's build!

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