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Music in Schools Initiative

The mission statement of the Yale School of Music shapes the focus of the Music in Schools Initiative. It states:

The Yale School of Music educates and inspires students with exceptional artistic and academic talent for service to the profession and to society.

The School fosters a vibrant musical environment where graduate level performers and composers realize their highest artistic potential with an internationally distinguished faculty.

To prepare students for roles as cultural leaders, the School engages fully with the University’s extraordinary intellectual and technological resources while collaborating with artistic centers throughout the world.

In recent years, leaders throughout the field of music have focused attention on why music has value to society as a whole. Recent thinking about music as a tool for social change has provided the school with a frame for the programs and activities presented under the rubric of “Cultural Leadership.” Logically, these discussions often center on the role of music and music training in education. Sometimes, the focus is on the intrinsic value of music study; other times, it is on ways that music study can influence improvement in other areas, from workplace skills to test scores.

At the School of Music, we believe that both parts of the education discussion are relevant, AND that music can be a powerful tool for social change. When we say social change, we are saying that, among other things, music can have a strong impact on families, on diversity, and on integration. In this respect, the School of Music is fortunate that our home community is New Haven, a multicultural urban metropolis with a long-standing commitment to music, both for the general public and within the public schools.

To achieve these goals, we model our programs around the core ideas of mentorship—a close personal relationship between instructor and student based on mutual learning—and active music-making—encouraging students to learn and grow through playing or singing as often as possible. These methods, among others, serve the dual purpose of teaching young students how to play music and also showing our graduate student teaching artists how they can (and must) make a difference in their communities through music.

These basic principles explain the Music in Schools Initiative and its components:

  • Graduate Teaching Artists in the New Haven Public Schools
  • Biennial and National Symposium on Music in Schools
  • Visiting Faculty Member in Community Engagement
  • All-City Honors Ensembles, seasonal Festivals, and Young Artists Solo Showcase
  • Morse Summer Music Academy

The Yale College Class of 1957 created an endowment in the School of Music that allows us to host the visiting faculty member, to present the Symposium, and to operate the New Haven programs during the school year. Mr. and Mrs. Lester Morse (Yale College ’51) provided an endowment to fund the Morse Summer Music Academy. Further, we have received support from the Alfred & Jane Ross Foundation for the Winter & Spring Festivals (new vacation-week workshops, in development), and from New Haven Promise to provide interns for the Morse Summer Music Academy.

In addition to the New Haven Public Schools, the Yale Music in Schools Initiative collaborates with the Yale University Art Gallery, the New Haven Free Public Library, and the Peabody Museum during the Morse Academy. During the school year, we work closely with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the Neighborhood Music School.

Music Education Partnerships

Learn more about the importance of partnerships between public school music programs and professional music organizations.