Resident Artists Present Paper Orchestra at National String Conference

On Saturday, March 2, 10 first-grade musicians from the Abreu Orchestra traveled to Providence, Rhode Island with Resident Artists Rebecca Levi and Levi Comstock to present at the National Conference of the American String Teachers Association. Music teachers from across the country attended the session, Paper Orchestra: Creating a Culture of Musicianship in the Early Childhood Ensemble, which featured a joint lecture from the two teachers and a live demonstration from the students.

ASTA Conference

Kindergarteners at Conservatory Lab Charter School participate in paper orchestra as a precursor to a string ensemble. Using paper instruments, children develop fundamentals of instrument position, build musicality through singing and movement, and practice the routines and norms of orchestra rehearsal. At the national conference, students demonstrated the songs and activities of paper orchestra which introduce the skills of playing real instruments.


The idea for paper orchestra came from Josbel Puche at Nucleo La Rinconada, one of the premier early child music centers inVenezuela’s El Sistema network. Ms. Puche began teaching her students on paper instruments at a time when real instruments were not available, but she quickly realized that paper orchestra could be a powerful pedagogical tool, as well as a way to bring a community together.


Rebecca Levi developed the paper orchestra curriculum at Conservatory Lab based on techniques and concepts she learned from Ms. Puche in 2010, with input from strings teacher Levi Comstock.