“Ms. Stern’s teaching has opened up the world to our students: when they study American Indians, they play Navajo flute tunes. They are equally familiar with drumming patterns, African American Spirituals, and Macedonian folk songs. Additionally, classroom teachers report that these direct instructional music lessons have helped to increase the attention span of their students. The exercise of learning to read music has fortified our lessons in manipulating abstract symbols, both language and math. But, perhaps most importantly, having a student body actively engaged in making music has brought a great sense of accomplishment and enjoyment into the lives of these children.”
— Laura Garcia, Principal, the Ella Baker School, Manhattan, NY

“The first question I get on most days is, "Do we have Orchestra today?"  I have seen children in my class step up as leaders during this time; they love to teach each other. On numerous occasions, my classroom has spontaneously broken out into song. I am very proud of my class and very appreciative of the work Nina Stern has done to inspire them in their learning.”
— Jennifer Ruff, 3rd Grade teacher, The AmPark School, Bronx, NY

“What I loved the most was that I saw all the kids involved in the program...and those who normally may not have been able to handle certain aspects of the program were helped by the other children. Also, through the exchange with the students in Kibera our children at Ampark really became sensitized to what was going on in their world. I could even see a shift in the music – they wanted to connect more, they wanted to give more, they wanted it to be more of an authentic relationship.”
— Betty Lopez-Towey, Former Principal, The AmPark School, Bronx, NY

“Music education should be aimed at making music become a part of a child’s life, and that is what Nina is doing.”
—  Libby Larsen, American composer

“This music helps me express my feelings. I thought I couldn’t play the recorder. Now I know I can, and if I can play the recorder I can play almost any instrument. And I can learn other new things, too.”
—  Nyja Poe, fourth-grade, The Ella Baker School

"They do this [play recorders] in a hut that has mud on the inside...and rows and rows of benches. I think it's cool because we're helping them feel like they're loved. I want them to know that we care about them."
— Sara Armstrong, 4th grade, talking about the exchange between AmPark School in the Bronx and students in Kibera, Kenya


Free Spirit: Nina Stern on the Majesty of the Recorder and the Power of Reaching People through Music
“When we’re teaching in another country, it’s very important to us that we highlight how wonderful their own musical traditions are. So we use the recorder as a tool for students to be playing their own music and also to be learning about music from other parts of the world. ”
— Nina Stern, Allegro Magazine

Where the Toot, Toot Tootling is in Earnest
“It's something of a music class tradition: third- and fourth-graders learning to play the recorder, proudly tootling 'Hot Cross Buns.' Just not in Nina Stern's class...”
— Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post

Getting an Early Start: Children and Historical Performance
“Nina Stern set out to create a music outreach program for inner city kids, but not one in which they'd merely be 'exposed' to music...”
— Shulamit Kleinerman, Early Music America

Ampark Shares a Song with Kenya
“Some local students are involved in local free trade. Of music, that is...”
— Kate Pastor, Riverdale Press

The Remarkable Mission of Nina Stern
“Recorders without Borders is the motto under which Nina Stern depicts simple tunes from around the world...”
— Kate Bracher, Cynthia Shelmerdine, ARTAfacts

The Recorder Takes a Stand
“On June 18, I flew to Nairobi, Kenya .... With me, I had a small suitcase for my clothing and a duffel bag filled with 100 plastic Yamaha recorders...”
— Nina Stern, American Recorder

Taking Recorders Back to Kenya, and to Syrian Refugees in Jordan
"In my most recent trip in June 2016, I went first to Kenya to check on the recorder programs that I helped to start in the Kibera slum there. Then I traveled to Amman, Jordan, where I met up with a team of volunteers assembled by Lexi Shereshewsky and Demetri Blaisdell, the dynamic young founders of the The Syria Fund." 
— Nina Stern, American Recorder