Music in Schools Initiative

Symposium on Music in Schools

Examining the role of music education in today’s society.

The Symposium on Music in Schools is held biannually at the Yale School of Music. With support from an endowment created by the Yale College Class of 1957, the Symposium was created with the goal of bringing together leaders to discuss how music education might best become an integral and important part of the curriculum of public schools. 

About the Symposium

In its 2005 indenture for the Music in Schools Initiative, the Yale Class of 1957 included a specific call for the School of Music to hold:

"a convening at least every other year to bring together teachers, school administrators, public officials and citizens to discuss how music education may best become an integral and important part of the curriculum in public schools."

This mandate led the School of Music and the Music in Schools Initiative to develop and host the Symposium on Music in Schools, a biennial gathering that brings together a unique subset of people from the field of music education.

In its earliest iterations, the Symposium was an opportunity to recognize excellent music teachers from public schools across the country. In 2017, the Symposium’s focus turned to national arts policy discussions. Experts from higher education, public schools, arts organizations, national service organizations, and foundations gathered to participate in a “think tank” that addressed pressing topics in music education. The Symposium continues to honor outstanding music educators and—since 2019—teaching artists, who are invited to participate and be recognized as expert practitioners in their fields.

The 2017 Symposium resulted in the publication of the Declaration on Equity in Music for City Students, a powerful statement that identifies music as a basic human right. The Declaration calls “for every student in every city to have access to a robust and active music life.”

The 2019 Symposium was focused on the preparation of teaching artists and music educators within the context of higher education. We anticipate the release of a policy paper in 2020 based on the work of the Symposium.

Our Declaration
The yield of the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools, the Declaration asserts the right of all city students to have access to an active music life.