In partnership with the Huntsville Symphony School, the 3rd Grade Violin Program was established in 1997. Although the Athens City School System has long supported music education, instrumental programming is not available in the elementary schools. Most public school students rarely have the opportunity to touch, much less learn to play a string instrument. This program allows students of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to receive training from highly skilled members of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra School and to be involved in performances and orchestral field trips. Research suggest that not only does school and community-based music instruction have an impact on brain functioning, but that it could possibly make a significant difference in the academic trajectory of lower-income kids. Unfortunately, these are the students who typically have less access to music education programs. The violin program does three things for our students in addition to learning to play the violin: teaches them to succeed in a collaborative environment at the highest level, builds their personal confidence and self-worth, and encourages them to recognize that they exist as an important piece of a bigger picture. Each of these areas is crucial to developing healthy children who will contribute to the future of our community.