James J. Chittick Elementary School
154 Ruskindale Road, Mattapan, MA 02126
James J. Chittick Elementary School (a Boston Public School) is our main partner site. Begun in 2007, our permanent residency at the Chittick School provides intensive mentoring and community building through violin, viola and cello lessons taught within a chamber music model. With a majority of the student population at the Chittick School qualifying for free/reduced price lunch, offering opportunities that are free of cost is crucial. The Chittick School population of students in grades K-5 do not have general music or visual arts.
musiConnects at the Chittick School
In addition to the staff listed below, musiConnects teachers at Chittick Elementary include Resident Musicians from the Boston Public Quartet and Sumner Quartet.
Rachel Panitch, violin
Music Theory & Improvisation Instructor
Rachel teaches improvisation and theory classes as part of the musiConnects after-school program at Chittick Elementary. She is a Boston-based fiddler, teacher, and improviser. In 2009, she founded Rhode Island Fiddle Project, a free music program based in Pawtucket, RI, teaching traditional fiddle and dance music to students ages seven to 17. Rachel loves teaching music from a variety of aural traditions, enabling students to question their assumptions about what music is and its purposes. As a performer, she is equally happy playing for people actively dancing to French Canadian tunes as she is with audience members sitting and listening intently to a North Indian Raga. Rachel is a contra dance fiddler with bands French Roast and Pizzazz, she performs classical music with the Cardamom Quartet, and tells stories with Thread Ensemble (an improvisatory trio of violins, voices, and vibraphone), and has recorded with The Bourbon Boys, Tallahassee, and Neha Jiwrajka. In 2014, she was the first musician to serve as an Artist-in-Residence in Zion National Park in Utah, where she composed music inspired by her surroundings. She has a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology and Music from Vassar College, and a Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory. Rachel has studied with Carla Kihlstedt, Hankus Netsky, Nicholas Kitchen, and Tanya Kalmanovitch.
Boston Public Schools 2014-2015 District Calendar (PDF)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Information (PDF)
"musiConnects is a wonderful opportunity for our students and our school community. Learning to play a musical instrument helps students to develop faster: physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. The one-on-one music lessons have helped our students to thrive. Research indicates that music instruction promotes academic achievement and we are able to see our students that participate in the program succeed in their other academic subjects. We are very proud of our partnership with the BPQ Residency as we work collaboratively to support the growth of our children."
— Michelle Burnett-Herndon, Principal