CARNEGIE HALL’S WEILL MUSIC INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES 2016-2017 GRANT RECIPIENTS FOR PlayUSA; Supporting Music Education Programs in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas; Now Entering Its Second Year, PlayUSA Aims to Increase Access to Instrumental Music Instruction for Underserved K-12 Students Nationwide

Comment Off 54 Views

Supporting Music Education Programs in
Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas

Now Entering Its Second Year, PlayUSA Aims to Increase Access to
Instrumental Music Instruction for Underserved K-12 Students Nationwide

PlayUSACarnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) today announced the 2016-2017 grant recipients for PlayUSA, a program that supports a wide range of instrumental music education projects across the United States, all specifically designed to reach low-income and underserved students on a local level. For its second year, Carnegie Hall has selected projects from the following seven organizations:

  • Atlanta Music Project (Atlanta, GA)
  • Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama/Scrollworks (Birmingham, AL)
  • The People’s Music School (Chicago, IL)
  • Tocando After School Music Project (El Paso, TX)
  • Music for Life (New Orleans, LA)
  • Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (New York, NY)
  • Community MusicWorks (Providence, RI)

“We are excited to build on the success of our pilot season and expand PlayUSA to support seven organizations around the country that are bringing high-quality music education to students in their communities,” said Sarah Johnson, Director of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. “Each project and organization selected takes a unique and innovative approach to instrumental music instruction and is committed to reaching a diverse group of motivated young people. Through PlayUSA, we are excited to support each of these programs, but equally important to us is the opportunity to nurture a strong community of organizations across the country who are doing this work and can share and learn from each other. Eventually we imagine that what we learn together might also be shared more broadly across the field.”

PlayUSA provides support for new or expanded music education programs, all working on a local level. During the 2015 – 2016 pilot season, Carnegie Hall invited orchestras across the country that already partner with WMI on its Link Up program to apply for PlayUSA. This year, applications were made available to a wider array of music education organizations of all different types across the country, resulting in 75 letters of intent, of which 17 were invited to submit full applications.

The seven partner organizations selected for PlayUSA this year receive consultation with Carnegie Hall staff to help problem-solve, address challenges, and build on best practices. Carnegie Hall also provides training and professional development for teachers, including both onsite residencies and access to online resources, including monthly webinars. PlayUSA grants (totaling $250,000 this year, an increase of $150,000 from the pilot season) may be used to underwrite teaching fees for music instruction; purchase or rental of musical instruments as well as instrumental repair; and other programmatic costs. Representatives from each PlayUSA organization also convene at Carnegie Hall twice annually to meet each other and engage with leaders in the music education field.

During its pilot year, funding from PlayUSA enabled the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (Ohio) to launch CSO Instructs, a program that offers year-long private lessons with orchestra musicians; supported the expansion of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s Tocando program; and provided youth in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans with an outlet for creative expression through the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s Music for Life program. During the 2016 – 2017 season, the PlayUSA network will more than double, reaching seven programs around the country, including continued support for Tocando and Music for Life.

This season, Carnegie Hall will also be partnering with WolfBrown, a consulting firm for arts and cultural organizations, to document student learning at the PlayUSA partner sites. The research will inform future programming and serve as a resource for the music education field.

PlayUSA is part of a growing set of WMI programs that have expanded beyond New York City to reach students and teachers nationwide. The Link Up program now serves approximately 380,000 students and teachers around the globe through more than 90 partner orchestras, and Musical Explorers for grades K-2 reaches thousands more in New York City and at four national partner sites.

PlayUSA also complements NYO2, an expansion of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA). Launching later this month, this intensive summer program gives young American musicians from communities underserved by and underrepresented in the classical orchestral field the opportunity to study with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and meet talented peers from across the country.

About the PlayUSA Grantees

Atlanta Music Project (Atlanta, Georgia)
The Atlanta Music Project’s mission is to inspire social change by providing Atlanta’s underserved youth the opportunity to learn and perform music in orchestras and choirs. Founded in 2010, the Atlanta Music Project (AMP) provides intensive, tuition-free music education to underserved youth right in their neighborhood. Funding from PlayUSA will support the expansion of the Atlanta Music Project’s orchestra program with the addition of a new site for 40 new middle and high school students, the expansion of their private lesson program from 45 to 55 students, and the launch of a robust professional development program for their teaching artists.

Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama / Scrollworks (Birmingham, Alabama)
The mission of Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama (MYOCA) is to make music instruction and ensemble playing available to all, thereby developing character and sense of community. Young people of diverse racial, social, cultural, and economic backgrounds are encouraged to explore and cultivate their musical talent and contribute to Alabama’s musical culture. Funding from PlayUSA will expand teaching from 2 to 5 days per week and increase teaching staff and compensation to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged youth in the Birmingham area. The program will add horn, bassoon, and bass instruments, as well as provide for repairs of existing instruments.

The People’s Music School (Chicago, Illinois)
The People’s Music School, based in Chicago, is the only completely tuition-free music school of its kind in the country. The school is wholly devoted to increasing access to all the artistic, scholastic, behavioral, and societal benefits of music. Funding from PlayUSA will support the growth and expansion of a new community band program on Chicago’s South Side which will celebrate the rich musical heritage of Chicago and be a cultural asset to the community. All students participate in a rigorous multi-hour per week program consisting of instrumental instruction, ensemble group experience, music theory and performance. The curriculum is geared towards developing skills transferable to all areas of life.

Tocando After School Music Project (El Paso, Texas)
Previously selected for PlayUSA’s pilot year, the Tocando After School Music Project is the most recent education and outreach program of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by Venezuela’s highly successful El Sistema program, Tocando (“to play”) is designed to engage and empower disconnected youth at Title 1 elementary schools through intensive music instruction, academic tutoring, and performance opportunities. Funding from PlayUSA will provide quality teaching artists at each of its two Tocando After School Music Project campuses and provide professional development opportunities for staff. In its second year Mission Ridge Elementary will expand Tocando’s offerings to include 30 additional students and provide both beginning and advanced music classes.

Music for Life (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Previously selected for PlayUSA’s pilot year, Music for Life, from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), offers disadvantaged youth in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans the opportunity to study music intensively throughout the year in private and small-group settings with both LPO musicians and peers from the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras. Funding from PlayUSA will support teaching and performance fees for 10 musician mentors, reaching 81 participants at three program sites in the upcoming year, in addition to professional development, instrument repair and service, and other program costs.

Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (New York, New York)
The Orchestra of St. Luke’s is a gathering of outstanding musicians whose purpose is to bring classical music and the communication that is unique to music to a broad audience through performance and education. Funding from PlayUSA will support the growth of Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL) during the 2016-2017 school year. YOSL will expand to create 40 new slots for beginning musicians, while maintaining all current commitments to YOSL students and families.

Community MusicWorks (Providence, Rhode Island)
Founded in 1997, Community MusicWorks‘ (CMW) mission is to transform the lives of children, families, and musicians through chamber music education and performance in the most diverse and economically challenged urban neighborhoods of Providence, RI. Funding from PlayUSA will support an increase in their enrollment by launching a new cohort of 25 beginning students in their Daily Orchestra Program, and effect a fundamental change in the trajectory of their 125 existing students’ learning, enabling them to advance consistently and more rapidly to the highest levels of music-making.


About Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) creates visionary programs that embody Carnegie Hall’s commitment to music education, playing a central role in fulfilling the Hall’s mission of making great music accessible to as many people as possible. With unparalleled access to the world’s greatest artists, WMI’s programs are designed to inspire audiences of all ages, nurture tomorrow’s musical talent, and harness the power of music to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. An integral part of Carnegie Hall’s concert season, these programs facilitate creative expression, develop musical skills and capacities at all levels, and encourage participants to make lifelong personal connections to music. The Weill Music Institute generates new knowledge through original research and is committed to giving back to its community and the field, sharing an extensive range of online music education resources and program materials for free with teachers, orchestras, arts organizations, and music lovers worldwide. Approximately 600,000 people each year engage in WMI’s programs through national and international partnerships, in New York City schools and community settings, and at Carnegie Hall. This includes 380,000 students and teachers worldwide who participate in WMI’s Link Up music education program for students in grades 3 through 5, made possible through Carnegie Hall partnerships with over 90 orchestras in the US, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Kenya, and Spain.

For more information, please visit:


Lead support for PlayUSA is provided by the Fund II Foundation.

The Weill Music Institute’s programs are made available to a nationwide audience, in part, by an endowment grant from the Citi Foundation.

Leadership support for NYO2 is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Founder Patron: Beatrice Santo Domingo.

Image at top of release courtesy of El Paso Symphony Orchestra



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily