Music Haven

Music Haven — a nonprofit that provides music education to New Haven students — last October moved from its old space on Whalley Avenue to a new location at 315 Peck St. in hopes of reaching more of New Haven.

The move positions the organization in an accessible location central to the 20 schools from which it attracts students, Executive Director Mandi Jackson said in a recent press release. Founded in 2006 by Tina Lee Hadari MUS ’04, Music Haven runs a string-based music program, taught by professionals from the Haven String Quartet.

“What we do goes beyond music,” said instructor Philip Boulanger, a cellist in the string quartet. “It’s about community, conversation and connection. We bring together students from all parts of New Haven to come together and just make music.”

Music Haven is tuition-free and works with students who live in the city’s “promise zones,” high-poverty areas designated by the government. Such criteria allow the organization to target students from underserved areas for whom music would otherwise be inaccessible. According to program data, 82 percent of Music Haven students have families whose incomes are below $50,000, and most students are people of color — 54 percent are African-American, and 35 percent are Hispanic. The organization also offers diversity programs such as Music Bridge, in which instructors offer violin lessons to refugee students in the area.

The organization also offers outreach programs to the community. These range from free in-person performances to instructional workshops in which instructors work with students directly. Last year, Music Haven hosted 54 concerts and recitals, garnering a total of more than 4,200 audience members.

“Our program is based on the idea of a string quartet rooted in the community,” Jackson said.

Music Haven grows through word-of-mouth workshops, and concerts generate awareness in the program, she said.

Enrollment to the program begins early: Music Haven accepts students from grades one through six, who are not expected to have any musical background whatsoever. The organization has a consistent waiting list of 20 to 40 students.

Music Haven hosts a number of community workshops for the public that explore themes of teamwork, communication and collaboration.

On March 10, Music Haven will host an concert exploring the link between feminism and music-making, entitled “Pushing Boundaries: Women Who Compose.”

Minh Vu |

Correction, Feb. 5: This version of the article has been updated to reflect that Music Haven was founded in 2006, not 2004 as previously stated. In addition, the Haven String Quartet consists of professional musicians who are employees of Music Haven, not volunteers. 

Correction, Feb. 6: A previous version of this article reported that Music Haven relocated last month. The group, in fact, moved last October. 

Correction,  Feb. 6: Music Haven’s March 10 concert is titled “Pushing Boundaries: Women Who compose.”