The first time Anne Fitzgibbon picked up a clarinet, she was hooked.

"I chose the clarinet as a young person because I just fell in love with the sound of it," Fitzgibbon recalled.

She was only in fifth grade.

What she didn't realize then was that music would help her find harmony - and a sense of direction - through the rest of her life.

"I don't know that I ever wanted to be a professional musician but it was just such a valuable part of my life that I think it inspired me to feel as though every child should have access to such a life-affirming experience," Fitzgibbon said.

This is what inspired Fitzgibbon to launch "The Harmony Program" in 2008.

It's an organization that gives intensive musical training to children in underserved communities across the city all year-round for free.

No skills are required, kids just need to have a love of music and be willing to commit 12 hours a week to practice. 

Over the last 10 years, more than a thousand children have studied in the program. 

"I always thought music could connect anybody no matter what race, no matter where you come from, anything, and I always wanted to meet new people and I felt like that was the greatest thing about music, you could do that with anybody. It's like being in a second home," said Sabria Love, student at The Harmony Program.

That's music to Fitzgibbon's ears. She says The Harmony Program's goal is much more than teaching notes and scales but to give children the skills needed to work as a team and to help them build confidence.

"When children learn that if they apply themselves to something challenging like music making, they can succeed -- they carry that self-confidence with them throughout their lives. So I think it's an obligation we all have to open up those opportunities to young people to discover exactly how musical they are," Fitzgibbon said.

So for playing her part in shaping the lives of the city's young people through music, Anne Fitzgibbon is our New Yorker of the Week.