Yale Hosts Sixth Symposium on Music in Schools

Rubén Rodríguez, left, and Michael Yaffe during the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools. Photo by Matt Fried

On June 15-17, the Yale School of Music hosted its sixth biennial Symposium on Music in Schools, an event at which 43 participants discussed “how to ensure that every child in every city in America has access to an active music life,” YSM Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said. That topic is one that Yaffe and Rubén Rodríguez, the lead teacher in YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, have been thinking about for more than a year.

Among those invited to participate were public-school and university teachers and administrators, foundation leaders, music-education scholars, and public-policy experts who worked, Yaffe said, to “help us craft and complete a declaration about why music has the potential to change children’s lives and have an impact on issues of exclusion.” The purpose of the document, a draft of which was sent to participants ahead of the Symposium, is to “encourage the creation of ecosystems” that support the goal of guaranteeing children in city schools the same opportunities their suburban counterparts enjoy. The “gap” in quality public-school music education in the United States, Yaffe said, “is usually represented by city schools that don’t have full-time certified music teachers” or music-specific activities.

Symposium participant Tarik Ward, the director of music programs at ELMA Philanthropies Services, talked about the “story of inequity,” saying, “If you tell me your zip code, I can tell you your life story.” To Ward, the Symposium and the declaration that’s being crafted represent “an exercise in storytelling” about systemic inequity, and a chance to address “what we have to do” to bring about change. Music, Ward said, “is the cultural equalizer, the thing that everyone can do.”

Lara Davis, the arts education manager at Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, said the conversation about music education in city schools is part of a larger discussion about “the inequities that are running rampant across public education in this country,” and that the gathering at Yale “is a step in the process.”

Lara Davis, the arts education manager at Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, addresses a working group during the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools. Photo by Matt Fried

“We have to have an intersectional lens as we approach this,” and ask, “How does that inform the ways we talk about music?” Davis said.

Mike Blakeslee, the executive director and CEO of the National Association for Music Education, said, “We’ve constructed a system where the self-interest of many constituencies is not social justice. You can tell the story,” he said, but “the real question for me is, what are we going to do to make [change] really happen?”

In the coming months, Yaffe and Rodríguez, with YSM staff and input from Symposium participants, will finalize the declaration, launch a website, and identify organizations that will help disseminate the information. “We learned so much from this group of experts,” Yaffe said. In essence, the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools was the opening salvo in what will be an ongoing effort to address the inequity that plagues America. And while the Symposium itself was an important step toward bringing about real change, what follows, in terms of the resulting document, will be even more critical.

In addition to brainstorming and sharing ideas and perspectives during the three-day event, participants also honored their peers. As has been tradition since the first Symposium on Music in Schools in 2007, the 2017 iteration included the presentation of Distinguished Music Educator Awards to 10 public-school music teachers, all of whom work in city schools.

The impetus for the efforts undertaken at the Symposium was the work of YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, which was created in 2007 with an endowment from the Yale College Class of 1957.

Rodríguez looks forward to a paradigm shift in terms of how we think about music in schools. “We are declaring that we are all equal and we all deserve the same opportunities and freedoms and services and access to the same spaces and opportunities to thrive,” he said.


Published June 21, 2017
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YSM honors Distinguished Music Educators

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Awards. Ten awardees, who represent city school districts across the United States, will be honored at the sixth Symposium on Music in Schools, which takes place June 15-17 on the Yale University campus.

The recipients were identified and nominated in partnership with the National Association for Music Education and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. They were selected in recognition of their innovative approaches to music education, their dedication to the urban communities in which they teach, and their unwavering desire to make a substantive difference in the lives of students and families.

“The Yale School of Music is continuing its tradition of recognizing exceptional music teachers working in schools across the United States,” YSM Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said. “This year, we’re focusing specifically on the leadership of educators in city schools whose work is made more critical by a growing disparity in opportunities for music-making in America’s cities.”

The biennial Symposium on Music in Schools provides a national forum for the discussion of the role that music and music-teaching plays in community development. The 2017 Symposium, which will focus on the role that music-making plays in America’s city schools, will mark 10 years since the Music in Schools Initiative was launched with an endowment from the Yale College Class of 1957. MORE

Published May 12, 2017
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Stephanie Tubiolo awarded Music in Schools Initiative Fellowship

Stephanie Tubiolo | Photo by Kyle Picha

Stephanie Tubiolo | Photo by Kyle Picha

Stephanie Tubiolo ’14BA ’16MM has been named the first Postgraduate Teaching Artist Fellow at the Yale School of Music’s Music in Schools Initiative. The position was created through an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Lester Morse ’51BA, whose generosity helped establish the Morse Summer Music Academy, which is part of the Initiative. Tubiolo, who studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma, and David Hill at Yale, will teach and serve as an administrator, working directly with the Initiative’s lead teacher, Rubén Rodríguez. Tubiolo worked as a teaching artist for the Music in Schools Initiative throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies and helped launch the Morse Chorale, the Academy’s first choral program.

“What I hope to bring to the program, particularly to the choral division, is a standard of vocal excellence and musical intelligence that brings these students to the level of a collegiate choir,” Tubiolo said. “By the time our singers graduate, I want to expose them to all choral genres, not just the standard school-choir repertoire. … Though students might feel alienated from the classical genre when they are first exposed to it, we find that they quickly embrace it and grow to love it. My goal is expand their choral horizons and to be certain that any singer who graduates from one of our choirs feels empowered to be a leader in their college choir and beyond.”


Published July 26, 2016
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2016 Music in Schools Winter Festival

IMG_5851For 120 New Haven Public Schools students, vacation from school doesn’t mean taking a break from music.  During the NHPS Winter Break (Feb. 16-19), the Music in Schools Initiative hosted its annual Winter Festival for students across New Haven.  Nineteen Yale School of Music graduate students participated as Teaching Artists, providing instrument-specific instruction, leading sectionals and ensembles, and developing close relationships with their students.


Published March 3, 2016
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Music in Schools Students to Perform with U.S. Navy Concert Band

The U.S. Navy Concert Band, the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy Concert Band, the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy

The United States Navy Band is coming to New Haven!  The Navy’s premier wind ensemble will give a concert on Saturday, March 12 at 7 p.m. in Woolsey Hall (500 College St.).

Five high school musicians from the Music in Schools All-City Honors Ensembles have been invited to join the Navy Concert Band onstage: Brianna Chance (flute, Wilbur Cross High School), Charlie Orr (B-flat clarinet, Wilbur Cross High School), Laura Rosado (percussion, Wilbur Cross High School), Juan Pablo Rodriguez (alto saxophone, Wilbur Cross High School), and Jose Ayala (trumpet, Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School).  The event will be attended by New Haven and Yale community members, including over 250 New Haven Public Schools students and families hosted by the Music in Schools Initiative. MORE

Published March 2, 2016
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Yale recognizes Music in Schools Initiative with Linda K. Lorimer Award

2015.10.28 LKL AwardOn Oct. 28, President Salovey and Linda K. Lorimer presented 35 Yale staff members representing nine key initiatives with the Linda K. Lorimer Award for staff excellence and distinguished service to the university.

Salovey noted that the employees’ unique and important contributions represent the true sprit of Yale: innovation, leadership, teamwork, commitment, and exemplary service.

The staff members of the School of Music’s Music in Schools Initiative — Michael Yaffe, Rubén Rodríguez, and Kate Gonzales — received the award for their work connecting Yale with the New Haven community. The President’s citation reads:

By teaming to develop the innovative Music in Schools Program, they have reinforced Yale’s connections with the New Haven community and earned us national recognition for this model of cultural leadership.

In his letter of nomination, Dean Blocker said that –

The evolution of this venture, especially under the watchful eyes of Michael, Rubén, and Kate, has been extraordinary. And the enthusiasm, hope, and joy seen in these children and their families have united the many diverse populations of New Haven. In the closing concert of the Morse Academy this summer, Sprague Hall was almost filled to capacity with parents and friends who only two or three years earlier had not entered the campus, certainly not to see their children on an international stage.

Read the full list of 2015 Linda K. Lorimer Award winners here.

Published November 3, 2015
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Morse Summer Music Academy expands concert series

Morse 2014 044The Morse Summer Music Academy, a partnership between the Yale School of Music and the New Haven Public Schools, is currently taking place on the YSM campus and at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. With a total of 142 students from 27 schools, this year’s Academy is bigger than ever.

Accordingly, Morse Academy has expanded its concert series to include a total of 38 concerts throughout the program. This includes a series of chamber music pop-up concerts that will take place simultaneously at four different locations on Yale’s campus: the Peabody Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and Cross Campus, as well as the New Haven Free Public Library downtown.

These concerts will take place every Thursday and Friday afternoon during the program—July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, and 31—starting at 1:00pm. Each will feature 5-6 student chamber ensembles, with groups rotating between the different venues each day. MORE

Published July 9, 2015
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Sixth Morse Summer Music Academy begins Monday, July 6

Morse 2014 278On Monday, July 6, the Yale School of Music will welcome 142 young musicians to the fifth Morse Summer Music Academy, which will take place July 6–31, 2015.

The Morse Summer Music Academy provides free, comprehensive music instruction to New Haven Public School music students. In the intensive, four-week program, each student has a weekly private lesson and takes part in scheduled daily chamber music lessons, ensemble rehearsals, workshops, and master classes. Field trips include museums and galleries as well as the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in northwest Connecticut.

The most significant addition to this year’s Morse Academy programming is the addition of a choral program. With 16 new students and 3 new teaching artists, the choral program will also include daily classes, rehearsals, and chamber music study. Many students focusing on instrumental study will also be able to spend part of the day singing with the chorus.


Published July 2, 2015
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Young Artists Solo Showcase announces participants, winners

9th-12th grade prize winners and judges

9th-12th grade prize winners and judges

The Music in Schools Initiative proudly announces the participants and winners of the 2015 Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Showcase, which took place May 19–21 from 6 to 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall.

The showcase, a collaboration between the Yale School of Music and the New Haven Public Schools, offers top-performing young students the chance to perform on the YSM stage in front of their peers, families, and community members, as representatives of their schools. The participants were selected by their school music teachers and perform with accompaniment from a Yale School of Music pianist.

Each of the three age groups performed on a different night: 9th–12th grades on Tuesday, May 19; 7th–8th grades on Wednesday, May 20; and 4th–6th grades on Thursday, May 21. The two younger age groups include students who play percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments. The high school level of the Showcase includes voice students as well as instrumentalists.

In addition to representing their schools, the 9th–12th grade students were adjudicated by a panel of local music professionals, and the top performers were awarded prizes, including tickets for their family to attend a Yale School of Music performance.


Published June 24, 2015
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Symposium on Music in Schools June 4–7 to focus on music partnerships

Music in Schools - All City Honors Ensemble - 5

Music in Schools Initiative

The 2015 Yale Symposium on Music in Schools will take place June 4–7 on the Yale campus. This year, the event will focus on partnerships between public school systems and private music organizations.

Thirty-eight music partnerships from across the United States were selected to participate in the event. Two representatives from each partnership will travel to New Haven to take part in the biennial event. Over the course of four days, those representatives will participate in a variety of discussions and workshops, culminating with the presentation of the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Awards at the closing banquet.

The Symposium is designed to spark ideas and provoke conversation. Workshops on topical issues in music education will be followed by breakout sessions that will allow participants to explore ideas in depth. An event on Friday, June 5 will feature the Emanio String Quartet in a combination of conversation and performance. MORE

Published June 3, 2015
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