Kalamazoo Kids In Tune (KKIT) is a daily afterschool “orchestra immersion” program offered at Woods Lake Elementary in Kalamazoo, MI. The program is a collaboration of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, and Kalamazoo Public Schools.

The program serves 1st through 5th grade students from Woods Lake Elementary, as well as program “graduates” who are now in middle school. The program meets four afternoons per week. Each student selects an instrument to study and participates in group lessons and orchestra rehearsals.

Each day includes a nutritious meal and assisted homework time. Mindfulness practice is taught in dedicated classes and integrated into music lessons and orchestra rehearsals, creating a culture of kindness to self and others. Additional “club” opportunities are offered to reinforce academic learning and provide avenues for exploration.

Middle school students return to the program as KKIT Young Leaders twice per week to mentor younger children and continue their studies.

By learning to play instruments in an ensemble setting, students develop a sense of community and build mastery and resilience: skills that make music study rewarding, and also contribute to success in the classroom.

The KKIT partnership draws on the expertise of all three organizations, with Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra providing curriculum design, professional music instructors, and instruments, Communities In Schools providing the program framework, with an afterschool coordinator, youth development staff, bussing, meals, clubs and additional services; and Kalamazoo Public Schools providing the venue, instruments as available from the school inventory, bussing for middle school students, and leadership support.

This program and instruments are provided free of charge to participants, thanks to the support of these foundations, businesses and individuals:

Major Support

  • Michigan Department of Education—21st Century Community Learning Centers, through Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo
  • Getty Education and Community Investment Grants
  • Irving S. Gilmore Foundation
  • Kalamazoo Community Foundation
  • Sally Appleyard Trust

Additional Support and Sponsorships

  • Anonymous
  • Chemical Bank
  • Denso
  • Eaton
  • Greg Jennings Foundation
  • Barbara Patterson
  • Thursday Morning Musicale
  • Robert and Judith Whaley


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