OverviewOur Programs

OrKidstra’s free after-school programs appeal to children of all ages, offering a progressive musical study that is inspiring, engaging, and fun! Led by professional Teaching Artists, OrKidstra works to create a harmonious community with a focus on singing and playing together. 

OrKidstra’s after-school programs provide a safe, beneficial, and creative environment for students to thrive. Research continues to show that music education helps improve academic and social skills, promotes discipline, increases teamwork and problem-solving skills, and boosts self-esteem! 

OrKidstra currently offers after-school programming to kids living in and neighbouring the Ottawa communities of Centretown, Vanier, and Heron Gate. 

 

KiddlyWinks

KiddlyWinks is an energetic music and movement program that’s great fun for children ages 5 to 8 years old.

KidSingers

KidSingers is an upbeat choir program that celebrates the beauty and joy of singing together for students 8 years and older.

KidStarters

Get ready to play an instrument! Using singing, percussion, recorder, and other instruments, KidStarters sets students up for instrumental success. (8 years +)

KidPlayers

KidPlayers explores the joy of playing wind and brass instruments in a group, proper technique and the basics of music theory. (8 years +)

KidStringers

KidStringers explores the joy of playing string instruments in a group, proper technique and the basics of music theory. (8 years +)

OrKidstra

Orchestras, chamber ensembles, masterclasses, improv & composition, and a youth group. (8 years +)

Locations

Centre Hub

Click here to learn more about our COVID-19 safety response .

OrKidstra’s Centre Hub is located at the Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Avenue, Ottawa) and provides after-school programs Tuesday-Friday for the under-served areas of Centretown, Centretown West (Chinatown) and Lowertown. OrKidstra’s Centre Hub opened its doors in 2007 and currently serves up to 175 children and youth. OrKidstra’s main offices are also located at its Centre Hub.

Get Directions

Scroll through to find information on our other locations!

Vanier Hub

Click here to learn more about our COVID-19 safety response.

OrKidstra’s Vanier Hub is now located at Rideau Community Hub (815 St. Laurent Blvd.) and provides after-school programs on Monday and Wednesday for the under-served areas of Vanier North/South and Overbrook-McArthur. OrKidstra’s Vanier Hub opened its doors in 2016 and currently serves up to 150 children and youth.

Get Directions

ScheduleTimes and Locations

We’re proud to say that OrKidstra has over 3,000 hours of programming per year! Led by dedicated professional Teaching Artists, find out when and where OrKidstra classes are happening.

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AwardsOrKidSTARS: Shining bright in our community

At OrKidstra, we celebrate each and every student for their achievements! Created in 2020-21, our OrKidSTAR awards honour the students and mentors who have reached for the stars and gone above and beyond with their kindness, commitment, respect, musicianship, helpfulness, and love. Please join us in congratulating these shining stars in our community!

2021-22 OrKidSTAR recipients

Oyindamola Peters (KiddlyWinks)
Oyinkansola Peters (KiddlyWinks)
Koby Vic-Elmi Jean (KiddlyWinks)
Dima Barkay (KiddlyWinks)
Annika Chang (KidSingers)
Andrew Rose (KidSingers)
Jeannette Ezechiel (KidSingers)
Sophia Lada (KidStarters)
Aleksander Sanchez (KidStarters)
Kevin Lin (Junior KidStringers)
Moyra Kenward-Park (Intermediate KidStringers)
Ben Uch (Intermediate KidStringers)
Maya Pasionek (Intermediate/Senior KidStringers)
Ricky Tan (Senior KidStringers)
Shaveen Silva (Junior KidPlayers)
Rose Greaves (Junior KidPlayers)
George (Yiou) Wang (Intermediate KidPlayers)
Sam Yu (Senior KidPlayers)
Kelly Lin (Senior KidPlayers)

Ariana Choudhury (Musicianship Award)
Mobashera Mohsin (Musicianship Award)
Naomi Hagedorn (Volunteerism Award)

Ariana Choudhury (Musicianship Award)

“OrKidstra is such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and even after you graduate, you’re still a family here. – Ariana, 2022 OrKidstra Graduate

Watch more of Ariana’s story in this CTV News Ottawa interview

Sam Yu
(OrKidSTAR – KidPlayers)

Hear more from Sam in this KidComposers video

TeachersHelp change a child’s future

OrKidstra’s Teaching Artists are extraordinarily talented musicians and music educators who are passionate about OrKidstra’s social mission of success through music.

Our Teaching Artists care deeply about the well-being of their students and guide them towards making positive life choices by encouraging commitment to musical and personal excellence. OrKidstra Teaching Artists are deeply engaged in the community as well as their musical craft.

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Our Teachers

OrKidstra’s Teaching Artists are highly skilled musicians and music educators with their own unique experiences and expertise. 

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Become a Teaching Artist

Are you interested in exploring how your skills as a teacher and as a musician intersect? 

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Experiential Teaching Artist Program (ETAP)

In partnership with the University of Ottawa, OrKidstra offers a 3-credit course to undergraduate and masters level students. 

Learn more

MentorsA safe and welcoming place to learn and grow

We encourage and foster mentorship with all our students, along with peer-to-peer teaching, which breaks down barriers and fosters friendship. As the late Maestro José Antonio Abreu said, “A child who knows five notes can help a child who knows only three!”

We also proudly extend this philosophy to our partnerships with local universities and high schools. Since our beginning in 2007, mentors have made a profound and positive impact on OrKidstra’s students – and it’s a two-way street, as there’s no better way to learn about your playing than by teaching it!

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Overview

OrKidstra encourages mentorship with all our students, along with peer-to-peer teaching, which breaks down barriers.

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A photo of two young flute students being mentored

Become a Mentor

Do you want to make a difference in a child’s life? Do you have musical skills you would like to share? Think about becoming a Mentor with OrKidstra!

Apply now

I hope to pursue medicine in the future and OrKidstra has definitely helped me reach the potential needed for my goal…

In the fall of 2015, my family moved from Colombia to Ottawa. Our life in Canada faced difficulties in the immigration process as refugee claimants, the process of integration into…

Read the Story

I hope to pursue medicine in the future and OrKidstra has definitely helped me reach the potential needed for my goal…

In the fall of 2015, my family moved from Colombia to Ottawa. Our life in Canada faced difficulties in the immigration process as refugee claimants, the process of integration into Canadian culture, and the linguistic barriers of immigrants. OrKidstra welcomed my brother Mateo and I with open doors and caring feeling as it does for every single person that seeks the love for music.

The OrKidstra program is based on the building of community and that is one of the most important facets of the program for me. We live in a world where we face globalization and rapid urbanization, these sometimes lead to the sympathetic division of people within. Whenever we are faced with overwhelming different kinds of people whether personally or through the media, our empathy becomes selective and we stray from the definition of humanity. OrKidstra helps enforce the multiculturalism and proficiency of an unified world by giving the gift of music free of charge. OrKidstra serves as the social basis for children to learn not only music but to realize that they belong to a community and to a program that is bigger than themselves and extends to impact more children to come. This sense of community is rare and that is what makes me a proud member of this organization.

OrKidstra has impacted and shaped the character I possess today. Learning a new instrument, the double bass, as a teenager is an unorthodox decision, but it has shaped how I see learning and has made me mature as it takes patience and discipline. Being one of the few bass players at OrKidstra has also pressured me to develop and attempt to play at the highest level of music. Music is a part of who I am and allows me to appreciate more genres of music as OrKidstra, and my teachers, introduce me to new possibilities. Appreciation, gratefulness, and humility are probably the things that I can confidently say that OrKidstra installs in its graduates. What I love about playing music is the human connection, being able to make something sound beautiful with another is a gift and allows not only for the amusement but for the enrichment of the soul as it takes a lot of feeling to play music and do it justice. As well, the never-ending aspect of learning an instrument is something that allows for the thrill of learning to motivate a learning brain.

Both my brother Mateo and I are excelling as students and aim to be useful to society both inside and outside of school by doing volunteering and working. We speak Spanish as our first language, however we have worked hard to become fluent in both English and French in Canada. For the integration into Canadian culture my brother and I are prime examples of excelling citizens and dedicated people in the things we do. OrKidstra has been a pillar of support for our family, the OrKidstra family and has taken care of us during our hardships with language, culture, and health. Thanks to the support of community organizations like OrKidstra, we are in the process of waiting for our citizenship oath celebration. The result of the OrKidstra program is not hard to see, it is a radical change in the community and builds amazing citizens for new generations of Canadians.

Being able to learn a new instrument has been amazing and I am so grateful for this opportunity. OrKidstra has also been a place where I have made important friendships and I could not imagine my life without all of it, all of OrKidstra. I hope to pursue medicine in the future and OrKidstra has definitely helped me reach the potential needed for my goal. The discipline, motivation, and patience OrKidstra has taught me are the values that I hold dearest and the stress-reliever that is music will accompany me for the rest of my life. OrKidstra will always live in my memories as a place of growth and hope.

OrKidstra has been a pillar of support for our family. OrKidstra has taken care of us during our hardships with language, culture, and health and I also hope to contribute and help to the growth of the organization in years to come. – Javier, OrKidstra graduate and Honours Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa

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MusicTeach the children the beauty of music and music will teach them the beauty of life.

Timeless pieces. Modern classics.

At OrKidstra, we choose music that excites our students and resonates with different cultures. We’re proud to say that our students come from over 62 different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and our program includes music from classical, jazz, world, pop, folk and other traditions.

Teaching Method

All OrKidstra Teaching Artists are professional musicians and music educators. While they focus on teaching music, they also deeply care about the well-being and social development of the child.

Under the guidance of their Teaching Artists, OrKidstra’s Kid-Powered levels allow students to determine their own level of commitment.

Research

Music education has proven benefits on the cognitive and emotional development of children and these benefits last a lifetime.

“What you have done in the past has a legacy…Older adults who have had music training in childhood…have stronger sound processing in the brain of these particular details…that are so important for communication.” – Dr. Nina Kraus, Ph.D. and Professor at Northwestern University

Anne Taylor Summer ProgramRemembering Anne, strengthening the future

The Anne Taylor Summer Program (also known as CAMP OrKidstra and OrKidstra @ Home: Summer Edition) enables Beginner, Junior, Intermediate, Senior, and Dedication students from all OrKidstra after-school programs to benefit from individual lessons and ensemble rehearsals throughout July and August. The Program, established in memory of Anne Taylor, also gives students the opportunity to strengthen their role in the community.

Anne Taylor was a member of OrKidstra’s Board of Directors who passed away in the summer of 2014. For Anne, OrKidstra was a perfect fit, combining her abiding passion for children’s education with her deep love of music.

Wisdom & Compassion

The late Anne Taylor was at heart an educator, teaching in Montreal, Alberta and Pakistan. Anne was also responsible for bringing a wealth of films from the National Film Board into Canadian classrooms. As well, she founded and co-directed MediaSmarts, an online media literacy site for kids. Anne was a much-loved volunteer in the Ottawa community; she is truly missed by all those who knew her.

Summer fun & music

We are honoured to dedicate our OrKidstra summer program (CAMP OrKidstra) to the memory of Anne. OrKidstra students benefit from individual and group music lessons as well as special workshops, community service events and recreational outings during the summer months.

Apply to OrKidstraBring music into your child’s life

OrKidstra offers free after-school programs in Centretown and Vanier for kids ages 5-18. Parent Marie says, “I really like that my kids can be involved in music; it’s a very beneficial place for them to be after school.” Help your child grow their potential through music!