UpBeat’s mission is to bring about positive change in the lives of South Bronx children through the pursuit of musical excellence and ensemble performance. Working in one of the poorest congressional districts in the US, UpBeat promotes social justice through youth leadership development and community building.
Established in 2009, UpBeat NYC is a free community music program in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx in New York City. The program operates 5 days a week during the school year and offers a summer intensive. Activities include an orchestra program for ages 9 and up providing lessons, sectionals, and ensemble rehearsals, a beginner violin orchestra that transitions children from paper orchestra to real instruments and prepares students for the orchestra program, and a pre-orchestra program for ages 5–7 that implements Kodály methodology and a paper orchestra curriculum. The majority of UpBeat’s staff are volunteer musicians.
Support from the Cultures of Resistance Network in 2014 enabled UpBeat NYC to increase weekly after school program hours for young musicians.