Musical Opportunity with Music Haven

Musical Opportunity with Music Haven

Photo Kathleen Cei

After more than a decade of teaching classical chamber music to young children, Music Haven is seeing its first students about to graduate high school and go on to college. And the program continues to be a sought after as ever. 

“We consistently have thirty to forty kids on the waiting list,” says Executive Director Mandi Jackson. “We have a ninety percent retention rate. Once they come they tend to stay. It gives them not just a passion for music, but also an avenue to new opportunities.”

The young musicians also have a passion for giving back. The Music Lanterns, Music Haven’s youngest chamber ensemble, recently raised money and awareness to benefit orphan girls in India. The musicians, ages 8–11, learned about the girls, members of India's Dalit community who live in Simon’s House orphanage. A past project by Music Haven students raised money for Simon’s House to build a well. The Music Lanterns raised money through their performances to help pay for some of the girls to attend school.

Music Haven is a free after-school program that provides boys and girls from struggling neighborhoods in New Haven the opportunity to learn from world-class musicians. The program starts with children as young as six years old and includes both one-on-one lessons and ensembles and trips to concerts. While no experience is necessary, the children must be committed to practicing and attending classes three days a week, for two to three hours a day. This past summer, two students flew to Los Angeles to play with Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

In addition to providing a music education, Music Haven staff members mentor high school students during their college decision-making process. 

“All of our kids are applying to colleges and have big plans for the future,” says Jackson. “They aren’t necessarily looking at music careers, but all of them want to continue playing music.”

Music Haven is supported by individual, corporate, and foundation contributions. The Community Foundation is a longtime supporter of Music Haven. In 2016 it was awarded a general operating support grant of $45,000. Grants have been made over the years by several donor advised funds, as well as the Henry & Nancy Horton Bartels Fund for Education and the Arts Fund.

For more information about the Music Haven, visit its profile on

Did you know?

Music Haven has been recognized as a top 50 after-school arts program in the country by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities for five years in a row.   

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.  


70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510



Sign Up for E-news