Paterson Music Project





To use music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring young children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.

How It Started

Paterson Music Project, (PMP) an El Sistema-inspired music program at Community Charter School (CCSP) in Paterson, New Jersey, was established by Wharton Music Center (WMC) for thirty second-grade students in January 2013. WMC chose Paterson to initiate what has become one of its principal outreach programs because the arts had been drastically reduced in the Paterson schools due to financial constraints. In Paterson, there was a clear need. At the time, CCSP had no school-wide music program and was looking to augment its arts program. WMC’s purpose in instituting an El Sistema-inspired music program was to provide a social structure for these underserved children that would emphasize the values of self-confidence, respect for oneself and others, and discipline.

PMP uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. An El Sistema-inspired music education program, PMP is provided after school to 30 third grade students enrolled at CCSP. Students are furnished with violins, violas, and cellos and participate weekly in six hours of music instruction, ensemble practice, and group exercises. Each day includes instruction in music fundamentals; basic rhythms, and note reading. These skills are applied to the recorder and finally to their stringed instrument. Music appreciation and music history are taught hand in hand with the rudiments of playing an instrument toward the goal of not only creating a school orchestra, but creating a program that students will participate in each year that they attend school at CCSP.

Students learn discipline and responsibility throughout the program. As part of a group or a team, each student is responsible to each other and to the teacher, to attend, to be respectful and to participate. Students learn to respect themselves and each other as they work together as a group. As an El Sistema-inspired program, Paterson Music Project at CCSP offers a structured environment for fostering social change and youth development through music to enable participating students to feel valuable within their community. The mission of PMP is to use music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.

The artistic director of Paterson Music Project, Jeffrey Grogan, is the Artistic Director of WMC’s New Jersey Youth Symphony and conductor of its Youth Symphony. Mr. Grogan is also the Education and Community Engagement Conductor of New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Instructors include four highly experienced and accomplished music educators and performers. The coordinator of the program, Elizabeth Moulthrop, a violinist, teaches musicianship and is a Spanish-speaker who founded a similar program in Peru. In addition, Shanna Lin teaches viola; Terrence Thornhill teaches cello; and Erika Tesi teaches violin. In addition to faculty, CCSP’s music teacher serves as a liaison between CCSP and PMP. There is a strong commitment to the program from the CCSP administration, teachers, and parents.

PMP students performed for the first time in April 2013 at the Wharton Music Center New Jersey Youth Symphony Spring Gala at Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. The students joined Youth Symphony, the premier orchestra of New Jersey Youth Symphony, to play Fanfare and Rondo for Orchestra composed especially for the two orchestras by New Jersey composer Taylor A. Goodson. They also performed at a Mother’s Day Brunch and year-end concert for parents and friends at CCSP. The PMP students are scheduled to perform for The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers in December 2013.


Read about Paterson Music Project in the News Here and Here. Follow the Paterson Music Project blog Here.

El Sistema

In El Sistema, students are immersed in learning music several days a week and taught by loving and caring music teachers. Students learn to respect themselves and each other as they work together as a group. El Sistema incorporates such core values as “every child has limitless possibilities and the ability to strive for excellence”. As an El Sistema-inspired program, the Paterson Music Project provides a social change and youth development program that uses music to enable every child to feel like an asset within her or his community. For more on El Sistema, visit


Paterson Public Schools is the third largest school district in the state and one of the most diverse: 62 percent of all students are of Hispanic origin; 28 percent are African-American, and approximately 10 percent are of Caucasian, Middle Eastern, or Asian descent. Nearly 50 percent of all students in Paterson speak a primary language other than English, with a total of 37 languages spoken in district schools. Providing an education to all of the nearly 30,000 students in Paterson has been challenging. Due to economic and financial constraints, arts programming in Paterson has been severely limited.



Jeffrey Grogan, Artistic Director

Recently applauded for performances “high in energy, with close attention to ebb and flow,” American conductor Jeffrey Grogan is hailed as a musical leader who “knows what kind of sound he wants from an orchestra,” “rich and vibrant.” His humanistic leadership style, coupled with a strong command of skills as a musical communicator, has earned him an impressive reputation with audiences and music programs throughout the country.

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Elizabeth Moulthrop

Elizabeth Moulthrop, a violinist and music educator, attended The Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia where she received a degree in music education and teaching certification. Ms. Moulthrop received a performer’s certificate at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University where she focused on chamber music under the direction of the Shanghai Quartet and played violin in the Montclair State University Graduate Quartet.

Ms. Moulthrop studied with violinists Mary Ann Mumm, Lenuta Ciulei, and Meichen Liao-Barnes of the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. She participated in master classes with the Shanghai Quartet, Borromeo Quartet, and the Quartet Arthur Leblanc and performed with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, Temple University Orchestra, and Montclair State University Orchestra. She performs throughout the New York Metropolitan area with her string quartet and as a freelance artist.

Ms. Moulthrop maintains a private violin studio, pre-school to adult, in the North Jersey area.  As program coordinator and faculty member, she manages the El Sistema-Inspired Paterson Music Project at the Community Charter School of Paterson on behalf of Wharton Music Center. She also teaches Suzuki Classes through the South Orange Maplewood Adult School.

In 2011, Ms. Moulthrop founded Notes for Change, Inc., a non-profit organization that aims to increase access to music education for underserved youth.  She was inspired to begin the organization after visiting Pisco, Peru and establishing relationships with residents over a period of several years.  Through Notes for Change, Inc. Elizabeth started a music festival for local students in Pisco, free of charge.  The festival, called The Pisco Music Program, focuses on Peruvian music and culture.  Each summer, she collaborates with a team of teachers, both Peruvian and American, to teach in The Pisco Music Program.

Being passionate about music and increasing access to music education, Ms. Moulthrop believes all students deserve the opportunity to grow as people through the community experience of learning music.


Terrence Thornhill

Native of Maplewood New Jersey, Terrence is a Performers Certificate graduate student at Montclair State University, majoring in Cello Performance at the John J. Cali School of Music. He Graduated from the Cali School of Music in 2011 with a degree in Music Education. He served as student representative on the board of trustees and principle cellist of the Montclair State Symphony Orchestra. He studied cello with Nicholas Tzavaras, String Coordinator at John J. Cali School of Music and cellist of the Shanghai String Quartet. He has participated in master classes with Yo-Yo Ma, Carter Brey, principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic, Peter Wiley, cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio and Guarneri String Quartet, and members of the Shanghai, Emerson, JACK, Borromeo, Daedalus, and Colorado String Quartets. He has participated in masterclasses with Yo-Yo Ma, Carter Brey principle Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, Peter Wiley cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio and Guarneri String Quartet, members of the Shanghai, Emerson, JACK, Borromeo and Daedalus, and Colorado String Quartets.

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Shanna Lin

Originally from Fairfax, VA, Shanna Lin moved to New Jersey in order to attend the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. There she received her Bachelors degree in viola performance and music education and is currently pursuing a performance certificate degree at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

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Erika Boras Tesi

Erika Boras Tesi, cellist and educator, was Past President of The New Jersey Chapter of The American String Teachers Association and the 2012 recipient of The American String Teachers Leader of the Year Award. Mrs. Boras Tesi started her music studies on the violoncello with Nellis DeLay and continued with Stephen Geber at the New England Conservatory of Music. She continued her studies with David Wells at Manhattan School of Music where she earned her master’s degree in performance.

Highlights of her career as a cellist include principal cellist for the Bolshoi Ballet’s American Tour performing in New York at Lincoln Center’s State Theater, Chicago, and Los Angeles; solo performances of Giselle and Swan Lake at the State Theater; principal cellist at the State Theater for D’Oyle Carte Opera Company and Berlin Opera Ballet; and principal cellist for Rudolph Nureyev and the Boston Ballet at the Uris Theatre in New York. Mrs. Boras Tesi also performed at Lincoln Center with the Joffrey Ballet, The Canadian National Ballet, Radio City Music Hall, Rolland Petite, The National Ballet of Marseilles, and Makarova and Company. She was a founding member of The All Seasons Chamber Players.  Chautauqua Symphony,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Newburgh Symphony as principal cellist, and Broadway pit orchestras have all been a part of Mrs. Boras Tesi’s performance history.

As a teacher, Mrs. Boras Tesi was chosen as the New Jersey Region 1 Junior High School Orchestra Conductor, the Intermediate Orchestra Festival Conductor for Rockland County, NY and the All Cape Islands High School Orchestra Festival. As orchestra director for the Tenafly Middle School, she was selected as recipient of the 2000 Tenafly Middle School’s Governor’s Award as Teacher of the Year. She was a featured teacher on television’s NJN Classroom Close-up Program and has for several consecutive years had many chamber groups accepted to perform at Lincoln Center in the Young People’s Ensembles Concerts. As middle school orchestra director in Tenafly, New Jersey, her orchestras consistently earned a “superior” rating at area music festivals and won the 2006 American String Teachers National Orchestra Festival held in Kansas City where she took first place with the only “superior” rating in her category. Now retired from her public school position, she is delighted to be on the faculty of Wharton Music Center’s Paterson Music Project at Community Charter School of Paterson.

Angela Girvan

Angela Girvan, an active music educator and flutist in northern New Jersey, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. She currently teaches general music, choral music, band, and orchestra to kindergarten through fourth grade students at Stony Lane Elementary School in Paramus, NJ.  In 2013, she founded the inaugural season of the Stony Lane Bell Choir, providing students with a new approach to standard musical practices.

In tandem with her career at Stony Lane, Ms. Girvan is currently the assistant manager of the Region 1 Elementary Honors Orchestra.  Within Paramus Public Schools, she is an active staff member for the Paramus High School Spartan Marching Band, and directs the Paramus High School Flute Choir.  Ms. Girvan also maintains a private studio, in which she teaches flute, voice, composition, and theory.

Ms. Girvan is honored to be joining the team at Paterson Music Project as a general and choral music teacher.  She is looking forward to sharing her passionate devotion for the growth of young artists at Paterson Community Charter School.

Career Opportunities

Violin Teaching Artist Position Open, Paterson Music Project

Reports To: Program Artistic Director
Status: Part-time; approximately 8 per hours/week, Monday-Thursday 4:00-6:00PM
Start Date: September 29, 2014
End Date: June 12, 2014 (32 weeks of instruction)

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Collaborate with curriculum coordinator and program staff to create a shared curriculum, pedagogy and culture inspired by ideals of El Sistema.
Teach a beginner string class of approximately 10 students.
Along with other Teaching Artists, team-teaches an ensemble class of up to 75 students.
Working with the Curriculum Coordinator, assist with ensemble rehearsal, tune instruments and play in rehearsals and performances.
Participate in monthly planning and debrief meetings.
Participate in ongoing professional development workshops in effective classroom management, beginner-level instruction, lesson plan development, delivering an El Sistema-inspired program and related topics.
Communicate and build rapport with parents and students in the class.
Communicate with CCSP and PMP artistic and administrative staff to ensure program delivery and success.
Work with PMP staff and outside professionals to implement, document and evaluate the program.
Must be on site from 3:45-6:10 Monday-Thursday to set up and clean up classroom.

Qualifications and Special Requirements:

Demonstrate excellent musicianship and artistry as a teacher/performer.
Bachelor’s degree in string performance or music education required. Master’s degree in the same areas preferred.
Strong interest in the El Sistema philosophy of social change through music.
Strong knowledge of string repertoire, curriculum; experience with music pedagogy (Kodály, Orff, Dalcroze and/or Suzuki) a plus.
Passion for and experience in teaching young beginners to play string instruments.
Experience in teaching musicianship preferred.
Flexibility and creativity to adapt to curriculum goals and ability to work collaboratively.
Strong classroom management skills.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community.
Ability to work during program hours as well as additional hours for planning meetings, professional development and scheduled concerts.
Interest and ability to be a role model to students and parents as a citizen, artist, teacher and scholar and to encourage students to develop holistically.
Ability to work under frequent observation.

All inquiries can go to Program Director Elizabeth Moulthrop at

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