YSM interns serve as Morse Academy Teaching Artists

Jesús Cortés-Sanchez, left, and Jocelyn Hernandez

Talking about Jesús Cortés-Sanchez and Jocelyn Hernandez, in the context of YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said, “They represent the reason we’re doing this.” While Cortés-Sanchez and Hernandez worked as interns in previous years, this was the first summer that they served, alongside YSM students, as Teaching Artists during the month-long Morse Summer Music Academy. They also helped Yaffe’s team in June during the School’s sixth Symposium on Music in Schools, whose focus was on “how to ensure that every child in every city in America has access to an active music life,” as Yaffe has described it.

Cortés-Sanchez and Hernandez, who are studying music education at the University of Connecticut and Western Connecticut State University, respectively (he’s a senior and she’s a junior; each is a clarinetist), are “going to be great role models for the next generation,” Yaffe said. Cortés-Sanchez and Hernandez have spent half their lives in and around the Music in Schools Initiative, starting as participants when they were middle-schoolers at John C. Daniels School of International Communication. Their participation continued through their high-school years at New Haven’s Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. Today, they are New Haven Promise scholars and served their internships at YSM through that program.

Reflecting on what music afforded him early in his life, Cortés-Sanchez said, “It kept me busy, and as simple as that sounds, it did a lot for me. The easy thing to do would be to be in the streets.” Instead, he said, “I was focused.” Working with young people this summer during Morse Academy, he said, “I saw my reflection in a couple of students.” He also saw in them the difficulties that many families face getting students to and from Morse Academy activities, as his parents experienced when he participated in the summer program.

Hernandez, too, recognized the hardships that young people and their families endure in our community and elsewhere. This summer, she worked with an Iraqi student who was a bit culturally out of step with his peers. “As a teacher,” Hernandez said, “I will not always have kids who will know what it’s like to live here.

“Be friends with him,” she told other Morse Academy students. “Don’t make him feel like an outsider.”

Several years ago, when Hernandez lost her drive to study and play music and entertained the idea of becoming a lawyer, her music teachers helped her find the musical inspiration she’d lost. It was at that point that she decided to pursue a degree and a career in music education. “It’s about inspiring kids to be the best that they can be,” she said. “Music is a universal language, and that’s what I want to help teach.”

Cortés-Sanchez decided during his senior year of high school to become a music educator — to influence young people’s lives the way his teaches had an impact on his.

“Music is the way that these two young people found themselves, found their voices,” Yaffe said.


Published August 31, 2017
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Yale community to gather for candlelight vigil

Sterling LibraryYale community will hold a candlelight vigil in support of refugees and immigrants on Sunday, January 29, at 6pm, in front of the Women’s Table at Sterling Library. A benefit concert for IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) will follow, at 7pm in Battell Chapel. YSM faculty and the director of the Yale Glee Club Jeffrey Douma and Stephanie Tubiolo ’14BA ’16MM, Postgraduate Teaching Artist Fellow at the Yale School of Music’s Music in Schools Initiative, are among the organizers for this benefit concert. Suggested donation is $20, and $10 for students. All proceeds will go to IRIS.

The public is encouraged to attend both events.

Published January 29, 2017
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Music’s Newest Career Track has a Social Conscience

21CM | By Diane Haithman

Sebastian Ruth

Sebastian Ruth

The word “outreach” in the performing arts conjures up visions of the local orchestra performing for underserved communities – then rushing back to the concert hall in time for the 8 p.m. curtain.

But a new crop of classical music entrepreneurs wants to make social activism the main event. Musicians are forming more ensembles outside the orchestra in pursuit of new models of giving back. They are devoting their careers to music as social entrepreneurship.

Sebastian Ruth is a violinist, violist and the founder of Providence, R.I.’s Community MusicWorks, which provides music education for at-risk kids. The landscape was different 19 years ago when he founded MusicWorks. “When we started in the late ’90s, our work was much more of a marginal activity,” Ruth says. “I would say people were not flocking to do this kind of work. That seems to have shifted pretty dramatically.”


Published June 7, 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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[ students + alumni ]

Ian Tuski honored with Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award

Tuski teaches in the New Haven Public Schools

Tuski teaches in the New Haven Public Schools

Ian Tuski ’15 MM is to be honored with a Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award. The awards recognize those who inspire the Yale community through innovative, effective, and sustained service for the greater good.

The Yale-Jefferson Public Service Awards were launched in 2012 by the Association of Yale Alumni, Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY), and the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. Three awards are now given each year: one to a Yale undergraduate, one to a graduate/professional student, and one to an alumnus. MORE

Published November 19, 2015
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[ music in schools ]

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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[ in the press ]

The sound of music

music-schools16Yale Alumni Magazine | By Christopher Arnott

It’s a Saturday morning. But at Wilbur Cross High School, the joint is jumping.

The school lobby is scattered with violins, cellos, basses, and their respective cases, as a classical ensemble sets up chairs and prepares to rehearse. Down the hall in the school’s band room, a trombonist blows the main melody from “Summertime,” and then a roomful of brass and other instruments chime in, finding their collective way through the Gershwin classic. A glee club is sitting in a different classroom, planning the next practice session. “I gotta go early,” one student says. “I gotta be in college,” says another. This leads to a discussion about responsibility and collaboration.

“Rehearsal is a sacred time,” announces Rubén Rodríguez Ferreira ’11MM, lead teacher of the Music in Schools Initiative. This gentle rejoinder effectively ends the excuses.


Published October 29, 2015
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[ in the press ]

Yale School of Music and New Haven Public Schools: Changing lives through music-making

all-city-chorusYaleNews | By Bess Connolly Martell

It’s not uncommon for the students at the Yale School of Music to “blow their own horns,” but when it comes to the wealth of opportunities the school presents to New Haven schoolchildren, the school leaders aren’t known to boast.

YaleNews recently met with Michael Yaffe, associate dean at the School of Music, to discuss the recent Music in Schools Symposium, the numerous programs that the school provides for New Haven schoolchildren, and how this collaboration gives students “distinctive opportunities to flourish as musicians.”

An edited version of that conversation follows. MORE

Published July 21, 2015
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[ music in schools ]

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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[ in the press ]

Yale Symposium 2015: Music in the Schools

Polyphonic.org | By Ann Drinan

The Yale School of Music held its fifth Symposium on Music in the Schools on June 5 & 6, 2015 in New Haven to explore the role of music partnerships. A gift from the Yale College class of 1957, the Music in the Schools symposium, held every other year, honors public school music teachers from around the country. Previous symposiums explored music as a child’s birthright; El Sistema programs in America; integrating music in the classroom and the relationship between teaching artists and public school music teachers; and the role of music in school reform.


Associate Dean Michael Yaffe

Associate Dean Michael Yaffe invited Polyphonic to attend the opening day session on June 6th, to which New Haven public music school teachers were also invited.

The Symposium also welcomed representatives from “Distinguished Music Education Partnerships” from across the country[…]. 39 partnership programs participated, 25 (64%) of which involved a partnership with a symphony orchestra or opera company. MORE

Published June 30, 2015
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