The Hammer Band was created to help at-risk children while empowering them to learn about the power of music rather than guns and gangs. The Hammer Band gives children an alternative to violence, while helping them gain life skills as well as giving meaning to their lives and current situations.
Started in 2006, their program From Violence to Violins exists as a response to renowned violinist’s Moshe Hammer’s take on Toronto’s tragic “summer of the gun.” With a strong belief in the power of music and the ways in which music instruction could help children of diverse backgrounds from in-need neighborhoods in “changing their tune,” Hammer took it upon himself to begin teaching. He walked into a public school in the Jane/ Finch corridor, initially offering to teach music. That same year, two schools with a total of 40 participants became part of the program. Today, with the involvement of other professional musicians and teachers, the Hammer Band is present in 18 schools, reaching more than 360 children in grades four through middle school. Having been awarded $8,000 through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Grant, the Hammer Band will continue to grow its program with the ultimate goal of establishing their presence in a greater number of schools, influencing a greater number of children.
Music classes run from early October through to mid-May, culminating in both recitals and concerts in the schools and community. These recitals and concerts serve as a great means for the children involved in the program to share their newly developed skills with parents, friends, neighbours, teachers and other invited guests.
Congratulations to The Hammer Band!