November 5, 2012
Letter from the Editor
It is both an exciting and challenging time for us all in the orchestra world. Our traditional ways of doing business just aren’t working as well as they have in the past, and we’re all searching for new and innovative ways to become more relevant within our communities. In years past, this task has fallen squarely on our shoulders as Education and Community Engagement professionals. Now, however, the tide seems to be turning. It was evident at the June League Conference that the issue of community engagement is now at the forefront of conversations throughout our field (see Meaghan Heinrich’s personal takeaways from the Conference). So much so that Carnegie Hall’s Clive Gillinson challenged attendees to take “an integrated approach to our organizations as ones that serve music and our wider communities as a single unified mission.”
At this critical time for both our individual organizations and industry as a whole, those of us with the expertise in connecting with and serving the needs of our community can help lead the way. As our colleagues’ stories below demonstrate, we already embrace the practice of listening to and addressing real needs in our communities, working together, developing partnerships, and learning from and respecting one another. We have much to contribute to our institutions’ efforts to more effectively engage our communities and embrace a new path forward.
I hope you find this edition of the League Update for Education & Community Engagement to be both informative and inspiring. To quote Peter Drucker, "The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic." By communicating with one another about what’s working, challenges we’re facing, and lessons learned, we may gain the knowledge and motivation necessary to lead our orchestras in navigating through these turbulent times!
Vice President, Education & Community Engagement
Conference 2012: Redefining Community
by Meaghan Heinrich, Cleveland Orchestra
Something was different about Conference this year. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but as I scanned through the schedule, highlighter in hand, I remember thinking, “wow, there are a lot of Education and Community Engagement meetings.” Taking a closer look, I realized that a number of the presentations I had mistaken for EDCE meetings were open sessions – General Sessions, Toolboxes, and Perspectives – that constituents from any area could attend. From the opening session, “How Labor and Management Came Together at the Ford Motor Company,” to the closing “Call to Action” from Clive Gillinson, both flanked by performances from talented young musicians, an overarching theme seemed to emerge from the Conference as a whole: one of working together, embracing our similarities and differences, and listening to our communities.
My optimistic suspicions were confirmed upon arriving in Dallas. At past Conferences, I had felt most at home with my EDCE and Youth Orchestra colleagues. We held “Kum-ba-yah”-singing campfire circles about how we were going to change the world with our education programs, letting everyone else worry about fundraising campaigns, negotiation strategies, and which pops shows had the best ticket sales. But this year, something had shifted. Suddenly our little feel-good subculture was at the forefront of the conversation. The words “community engagement” flew from everyone’s lips, whether in a meeting room, in the Exhibit Hall, or in a booth at Peet’s Coffee. “How can we be more relevant to our audience members?” “How can we diversify our stakeholders?” “How do we, as orchestras, improve the public lives of our citizens…and how do we make sure people know about it?” These were just a few of the questions that kept coming up. Sessions were offered on Music in Healthcare Settings, Diversity, Participatory Arts Experiences, El Sistema programs, and Earning Public Value – not just for Education and Community staff, but for everyone. The whole orchestra world was finally speaking our language. I believe I can speak for all of my constituents when I say that by the end of the week we were especially empowered to act on that energy, and that we left Conference feeling like everyone was counting on us.
More than ever, this year’s Conference gave me both practical tools to take home (I couldn’t wait to implement some of the new assessment strategies I learned in our half-day EDCE meeting, or help our school partnership students choreograph a selection from our Education Concerts!) and an enlivened long-term vision for the future of the American orchestra. And perhaps for the first time, I felt that our work in education was not just a part of that vision, but truly indispensible to it. The defining moment of Conference for me came from Jeff DeGraff’s “Driving Innovation” presentation: in as many words, he suggested that orchestras give the “crazy people” in their organizations room to experiment, connect their discoveries to something that has value, and give it back to the system. My dear Education and Community colleagues, we know that we have always been the crazy people. Should we be fortunate enough to be granted this “room to experiment,” I thoroughly look forward to the success stories that next year’s Conference will bring.
Education Programs from the Field
Atanta Symphony Orchestra: ArtsVibe
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences are partnering together on ArtsVibe thanks to a five-year grant from Wells Fargo. ArtsVibe offers a focused and multi-dimensional exploration of the arts for teens, providing powerful channels for expression and communication to help them develop into confident, caring, and creative individuals. The initiative builds upon and enhances the partners’ existing programs and supplements them with fresh, new programming designed specifically with teens in mind. ArtsVibe is off to a tremendous start. In addition to the success of teen night, the program is engaging teens in successful Poetry Slam events, special concerts and theatrical productions, and “Open Studio” sessions to hang-out and create. The “Access to Excellence” series features master classes with acclaimed artists such as Midori and Alfred Uhry. Each division is offering workshops to help teenagers develop their existing arts skills and find interest in new mediums of art. Workshops feature improv classes, drum circles, glass-blowing, and more. The season will come to a rousing finale with the highly anticipated Voices & Vibes festival, a weekend of teens finding their voice through the arts and celebrating their own expression. Visit: www.artsvibe.com and www.facebook.com/ArtsVibeTeens.
Los Angeles Philharmonic: YOLA – “On Behavior Management”
Orchestras’ education and community work often takes us into the classroom – to coach youth orchestras, introduce young children to music in a residency format, to teach group instrumental lessons, or to present an interactive ensemble performance. Inevitably in these situations, our musicians and teaching artists are faced with managing students’ behavior, a task that is integral to great teaching and learning, but one that is likely the least comfortable or familiar to our teaching musicians. The LA Phil has encountered this challenge in many settings throughout the years, but perhaps never so intensely as we have in our Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) program – our initiative created to build El Sistema programs with community partners in Los Angeles.
YOLA currently serves over 500 students in two communities that would not otherwise have access to music education. Implementing a program with such intensity has been, and continues to be, a learning process. As we strive to build a culture of citizenship and musical excellence in the classroom, behavior management can be a challenge. Paloma Ramos, Harmony Project Program Manager of YOLA at EXPO, recently wrote a candid article on this topic for The Ensemble, a newsletter for the U.S. El Sistema Movement. Click here to read Paloma’s article, “On Behavior Management.”
For a free subscription to The Ensemble, you may request it by emailing:
Symphony Orchestra Augusta: Music Institute at the Miller Theater
Symphony Orchestra Augusta is, while in the midst of its 2012-13 season, designing and developing the re-opening of the historic Miller Theater, after nearly three decades of dormancy, as its first permanent home in almost 60 years of existence. After three years of careful consideration and study, the SOA Board unanimously voted to accept the gifted property in 2011, and moved forward with the space's reanimation. Since that time, Lord Ayck Sargent, architects of Atlanta, Kirkegaard Associates of Chicago, and Theatre Consultants Collaborative of Raleigh are jointly working with the Miller Theater, LLC Design Team to repurpose the former movie palace into a state of the art hall for live music, as well as other performances. The building and the adjoining property are on schedule to re-open in 2014 in time for the 2014-15 concert season.
Symphony Orchestra Augusta believes that music should be an essential part of life for everyone and intends to put that belief into practice through a Music Institute at the Miller Theater. The Music Institute will serve as the focal point within the community for the study of music as a human endeavor and as a performing art. Music offers to all persons a medium for the expression of the human spirit. Accordingly, the Music Institute will address music through a broad array of academic, pedagogical, and performing activities. Consistent with the mission of Symphony Orchestra Augusta, the Institute maintains and promotes the highest standards in the pursuit of scholarly and creative work, in the delivery of instruction, and in the promotion of professional and public service.
News and Resources You Can Use
Register for El Sistema Symposium December 3-5, 2012
Registration is now open for the Social Action Through Music Symposium, which will take place in Philadelphia December 3-5, 2012. The symposium is designed as a resource for anyone in the non-profit arts, educational, and social organizations interested in El Sistema and the power of improving young lives through the pursuit of music. Sessions will be an opportunity for shared problem-solving in which all session presenters and participants will be encouraged to connect the philosophy and promise of El Sistema, the music education and social development program of Venezuela. Learn more about the sessions, registration information, our facilitators and guests, and general symposium information at www.elsistemasymposium.com.
Sphinx Holds Inaugural Convening on Diversity in the Performing Arts
From February 15-17, 2013, the Sphinx Organization will host “Sphinxcon,” its inaugural conference bringing together performing arts leaders and practitioners to discuss the topic of diversity in the arts. Participants will share ideas, build connections, and be empowered to take action via a series of featured and guest speakers in an innovative, unconventional format. Click here to learn more and to register: http://www.sphinxmusic.org/sphinxcon.html.
National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards: Be Ready to Apply Soon!
The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will soon be accepting applications for the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards this November. With its $10,000 award for each winner, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program assists organizations, furthers knowledge, and encourages development of future programs.
After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by performing arts organizations, museums, libraries, educational institutions, arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to submit an application. Be sure to review all of the program's Eligibility Criteria and note that the deadline will be January, 2013. Sign up for updates on when the application period begins.
Arts Education Toolkit Now Available: Federal Snapshot of Arts Education
The League, together with its national partners, created a toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools (2009-10 FRSS) to help orchestras understand and communicate about the Snapshot FRSS results, released in full earlier this year. The federal snapshot of Arts Education, "Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10" (also known as the Fast Response Survey System) was was conducted by the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, and it is the first collection of this information in 10 years. Principals and teachers (including arts specialists as well as elementary classroom teachers) reported during the 2009-2010 school year on the conditions of K-12 arts education.
Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.
Doug Borwick contends that established arts organizations, for practical and moral reasons, need to be more deeply connected to their communities. Building Communities, Not Audiences serves as an essential primer for any member of the arts community–artist, administrator, board member, patron–who is interested in the future of the arts in the U.S.
National YoungArts Foundation Provides Free Resources to Teachers
YoungArts is distributing copies of Pursuing Your Passion: Lessons from YoungArts MasterClass, a study guide booklet and 2-DVD set, free of charge to middle and high schools nationwide. The guide and DVD was developed in conjunction with Columbia University’s Teachers College and is based on the award winning HBO YoungArts MasterClass series in which masters teach and mentor young artists. The educational tool, as well as a plethora of materials are available free of charge to schools and teachers nationwide as a download from the Teachers College’s EdLab website at www.youngartsmasterclass.org.
The YoungArts MasterClass series, directed by the award winning documentary team of Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, captures the moments between young artists and the masters who mentor them. These episodes feature YoungArts alumni in the visual literary and performing arts working with internationally renowned artistic masters including Edward Albee, Jacques d’Amboise, Plácido Domingo, Olafur Eliasson, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones, Julian Schnabel, Michael Tilson Thomas and Liv Ullmann. Season 2 will feature, among others, Renée Fleming, Robert Redford, John Guare, Bobby McFerrin, Patti LuPone, Bruce Weber, Joshua Bell, and Wynton Marsalis.
The Power of Music in Juvenile Justice
What is the potential of music in the lives of court-involved youth and the juvenile justice system? WolfBrown, in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, has released an exploratory paper that investigates the potential of music to make contributions to the lives of young people in juvenile justice settings, building on the current work of many of the institutions committed to these young people.
Carnegie Hall’s commitment to this area stems from the Musical Connections Program, which offers diverse live music experiences for people in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, senior-service organizations, and homeless shelters across New York City. This season marks the fourth year of creative workshops for teenagers in detention settings, as well as new projects in non-secure placement and probation settings. This work is examined in the paper as an example of the possibilities and challenges of programs in juvenile justice settings. The publication, "May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me," is available for download under the “Featured Resource” section on the Musical Connections webpage.
How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood and he also provides new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty. Tough’s work was featured on a recent episode of This American Life, which is available for free streaming online.
Two Diversity Resources
As the demographics of our society change, nonprofit boards are recognizing the need to become more culturally competent to meet the needs of the diverse communities their organizations serve. BoardSource’s The Board Diversity in Action assessment tool focuses on age (multi-generational), gender, and racial/ethnic diversity.
Another useful resource that may help your board and staff increase its diversity and adopt inclusive policies and practices is the FREE Diversity in Action eBook. In order to function at the highest level, nonprofit boards need to ensure that their members represent diverse points of view and create a culture that encourages and nurtures diverse expression. Click here to register for this free eBook: Diversity in Action eBook.
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, or to CHANGE your e-mail address, please send your name, title, orchestra or organization name, mailing address and e-mail address to
and put "EDUCATION & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT UPDATE" in the subject line.
Please direct any related questions, including feedback or suggestions for the EDCE enewsletter, to Jessica Balboni, Director of Orchestra Leadership Academy,
or Najean Lee, Senior Manager of Education Advocacy,
The League of American Orchestras, 33 West 60th Street, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10023-7905