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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Birmingham nonprofits use music to teach children the value of community

Follow on Twitter as @kelseymstein
"When children first pick up an instrument at Birmingham nonprofit Scrollworks, they aren't just learning to play music." writes Kelsey Stein, for


The program also teaches them about becoming part of a community, appreciating diversity and pursuing their goals. It serves children ages 6 to 18, regardless of income, special needs or musical background.

"I saw that learning the cello changed my daughter's life," Scrollworks founder Jeane Goforth says. "I know a lot of kids don't have that opportunity to find out that music is something that could change their future."

Inspired by her daughter's experience with music, Goforth founded the nonprofit in 2008, seeking out volunteer music teachers and fundraising opportunities to support the program.

Each week, more than 200 children and teens learn to play orchestral instruments and sing in choir groups at St. Paul United Methodist Church on Sixth Avenue North, where the program is housed.

Scrollworks has grown from a handful of volunteers teaching with borrowed instruments to a a small staff working with hundreds of students. It's been fueled along the way by donations and instruments for students to rent.

The 12-week sessions include weekday ensemble rehearsals and Saturday performances. The youngest students begin with a general music class. They move on to the recorder or violin before committing to one instrument for at least a year.

Many young musicians have gone on from Scrollworks to the Alabama School of Fine Arts; some have even become Alabama Symphony Orchestra Rising Stars.
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Additional resources 
My Favorite Thing About Scrollworks Is...  

Source: and MYOCA & Scrollworks Channel (YouTube)