One of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra’s missions is to introduce the wonderful world of instrumental music to students. By offering these programs, the MSO hopes to inspire students to develop or continue their interest in symphonic music. The MSO supports various programs of benefit to students in Worcester County Public Schools in MD, Sussex County Schools in DE, and any other schools in our performance area who make requests.
Since beginning these programs 9 years ago, the MSO has had programs in eleven schools, introduced twelve different symphony instruments to students, had 96 presentations by MSO musicians, and reached over 6,000 students.
In 2016 board members from the MSO were invited to a Summer Symposium at Yale University, centered on the education of classical symphonic music to youth in schools across the country. At that time the MSO was presented with a special award from Yale University in honor of their work.
In 2017, the partnership of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and the Worcester County Public Schools was recognized at the Worcester County Board of Education Meeting. Tamara Mills, the school system’s Coordinator of Instruction for Music and the Arts, gave a brief summary of the symphony’s support for the school system’s music program. JoFran Falcon, MSO Vice President of Education and Outreach at the time, gave a short explanation of our programs including the fact that the MSO had reached 1,148 of Worcester County Public School students in six schools during the 2017-18 school year. Ms. Falcon accepted on behalf of the symphony, a plaque which certifies that the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is recognized for outstanding contributions to the youth of Worcester County.
There is no money in the MSO operating budget for education programs. They are funded solely by donations and grants. These programs are made possible through the generosity of Mr. Michael Jahnigen, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, The Worcester County Arts Council, as well as numerous local community organizations and individual donors. The MSO is very grateful to these supporters who enable the opportunity to give students a positive musical experience by professional musicians. Additional financial support and instrument donations are always welcomed and encouraged.
The MSO loans instruments free-of-charge to students who cannot obtain their own. With thirty-one donated instruments in the collection, these instruments are repaired or refurbished and then loaned (along with a maintenance kit) to students who do not have the means to purchase an instrument. Arrangements for a loan are made through the instrumental music teachers.
ABC Me Play!
The MSO introduces the violin to third grade elementary students at no charge to them. The symphony owns the violins and pays the violin teacher. The students have 10 violin lessons where they learn to play one or two simple pieces. This program gives young students the opportunity to learn about the instrument and hopefully inspires some of them to be part of an instrumental program the following year in their intermediate school.
Introduce an Instrument Classes
Teachers request to have professional MSO musicians come to their school and work with their students. Elementary school teachers often ask for two musicians who play different instruments. They want the musicians to introduce their instrument to the students, play a short piece either separately or together and then have a “hands on” time when the students invited to play the instruments themselves.
Band and string orchestra teachers with older students may request several different MSO musicians for their band and orchestra classes. They want the musicians to listen to their students play pieces that they are learning in class, and then conduct individual Master Classes for their specific instrument with the students. The musicians work with the students on improving their individual techniques and performance. Then the students assemble again and hopefully, present an improved performance. Often the musicians perform a short piece individually or as a group for the students. This program provides a unique opportunity for young people to have personal contact with professional musicians, improve their own playing, and see the capabilities of their own instrument.
Student Concert Tickets
The MSO continues to offer a limited number of free tickets to MSO concerts to 18-year-olds and under. Reservations for these tickets are required. The MSO contacts area teachers and offers an invitation for students when tickets are available. Accompanying parents are invited to attend at only $10 per ticket.