Music Programs

Music Education

The YoFES music program, also known as Open Access to Music Education for Children (OAMEC), uses music as a vehicle to empower youth leaders to develop the skills of teamwork, creative thinking, and perseverance.

In partnership with the Suzuki Institute of Boston, OAMEC was launched in 2003 as a private violin lesson program. Since 2012, the music program has expanded its offerings tremendously to provide opportunities for students of all ages and ability levels to perform in small and large ensembles. Currently, OAMEC offers students weekly private music lessons in violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, piano, clarinet, flute, and saxophone. The ensemble program includes three levels of orchestras (Kreutzer, Viotti, and Berlioz Orchestras), a cello group class, and intimate string chamber ensembles that meet for intensive weekly rehearsals.

YoFES connects with the community at large by providing quality arts education programs at many partner schools and churches in Greater Boston: Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, TechBoston Academy, Boston International Newcomers Academy, Mattahunt Elementary School, Church of the Holy Spirit and Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Our Instructors

Ariel Friedman

Ariel Friedman

Ariel is a classically trained cellist from the Boston area, is one of few musicians to be challenging the boundaries of cello-playing. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2008 where she studied cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen, and received a masters of music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2011.

A winner of ASTA’s 2009 Alternative Styles Award, she is in current exploration of American roots traditions, early jazz and standards, and in composing songs and pieces influenced by her diverse musical tastes. She tours internationally with Scottish National Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel, plays with New England’s highly acclaimed fiddle band, Childsplay, and has taught at fiddle camps from New England to New Zealand.

David Palumbo

David Palombo

David, originally from Atlanta, GA, is a passionate music educator who has extensive experience teaching students of all ages in various private lesson and group settings. David incorporates a wide range of musical experiences as a performing violinist, conductor, composer, and musicologist into his teaching. An active member of the Greater Boston El Sistema community, David is the Artistic Director at Youth and Family Enrichment Services (YoFES) and Orchestra Conductor at El Sistema Somerville. Additionally, he teaches elementary and middle school strings classes in Somerville Public Schools.

David has made it a priority to connect with, inspire, and educate under served communities in Boston and abroad.  In summer 2013 and 2014, he completed teaching residencies in Haiti, where he led string orchestras, private lessons, music theory classes, and teacher training sessions at the Jean Baptiste Dessaix Music School in Jacmel and the Cemuchca Music Camp in Cap Haïtien, Haiti.

Jody Sharninghausen

Jody Sharninghausen, Piano

Music has always played a special role in Jody's life, especially as a source of healing and means of communication. She is passionate about sharing her love of music with others through performing and teaching and believes all children should have access to music opportunities. Jody graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) with a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance in 2013. Her primary teacher was Stephen Drury. At NEC, Jody was actively involved in the Community Performances and Partnerships program, which connects musicians with the greater Boston community.

John Cheadle

John Cheadle 

Saxophonist/flautist first decided to study jazz after hearing John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’and Charlie Parker with Strings – one of Parker’s greatest albums by any standard – at the age of 13, studying with local legend Jay Thomas while attending the award winning jazz program of Garfield High School A soloist award winner himself, John arrived in Boston’s New England Conservatory (NEC) in 2007, where he would spend the next four years studying with saxophonist and renown jazz educator Jerry Bergonzi, New York based trumpeter John McNeil, free jazz guitarist Joe Morris, and flautist/world music artist Amir Milstein. Cheadle has performed the music of Dave Holland, Anthony Braxton, Cecil McBee, and countless others as well as his own original compositions.

Lauren Nelson

Lauren Nelson

Violist Lauren Nelson believes that music has the power to reach everyone and she's building a career that combines performing, teaching and social action to make an impact on her community. A recent graduate of Boston’s New England Conservatory (Graduate Diploma) she is making an impact teaching music to the children of the Haitian community of Hyde Park, MA. Lauren’s performance career takes her through many musical environments, from Boston’s Jordan Hall, to New York’s Whitney Museum with the Wordless Music Ensemble, from Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center to Sculler’s Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA.

Lauren is also a committed educator and arts advocate. She is fully behind the El Sistema movement, and is currently a dedicated teacher at the Youth and Family Enrichment Services after school program in Hyde Park. Here she focuses on musical and personal development through peer-teaching and rigorous lessons and rehearsals.


back to top


OAMEC partners

• New England Conservatory
• Longy School of Music of Bard College
• Berklee College of Music
• Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
• Suzuki Institute of Boston
• Johnson String Instrument
• Boston City Singers
• Ashmont Boy Choir
• Haitian Mental Health Network

back to top