Research shows that participation in music and art programming improves students’ confidence, teamwork, academic performance, perseverance, motivation, and other verbal and thinking skills. For downtown students, art programs also give these students something to do and something to focus on so they don’t get distracted by less productive activities.
That’s why Play On Philly is so important. Play On Philly (POP) provides a high quality music education for after-school students who do not have access to these programs. During a typical year, they provide 2 hours of music training and ensemble practice each day after school and more than 25 performance opportunities throughout the year. They have five centers and serve about 300 students. Students participate in this program for free and are provided with a tool. The children in this program range from the previous kindergarten to the twelfth grade. The cost of purchasing and maintaining the tool is very high. It is even more expensive to pay for current lessons. POP provides these services to students who need them, for free.
To continue her commitment to music education and the arts, Play On Philly has launched a program for young performers Marian Anderson. Marian Anderson was known as a humanist who violated many racial boundaries as an African American opera singer in the 1930s. She was the first African-American to perform at the White House, and the first to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In honor of one of Philadelphia’s most famous daughters, this program for young artists offers Philadelphia students admitted to the program free tuition in the music study program for children in grades three through eleven. They will receive individual musical instruction, mentoring and training from professional musicians. The program is a long-term program that will serve students in communities that have historically been excluded from high-level music professions due to structural and economic barriers. Those who apply do not have to be on Play On Philly. It is open to anyone with any musical background who demonstrates a clear passion and talent to play music professionally.
Jessica Zweig, director of educational programs for POP, is proud that Marianne Anderson’s family is actively involved in the program. “We are very good partners with The Marian Anderson Estate. We have a license to use her name. A member of her family is very involved in helping us run this program. We are very happy to work with the family in this program because it really speaks to the heritage that the family wants to preserve, ”she said.
There are two ways in this program for young artists. Zweig says, “From fourth to eighth grade you can audition to become a student. A student is a student who is so fond of his instrument. They love to play. They love to practice. We are going to give them the support they need to become the best player they can be. ” At this stage the student does not need to state that he will do so for the rest of his life.
The second way is the Scholars program. “In the eighth and ninth grades, if you successfully transfer to the Scholars program, these students make a commitment to enter a music conservatory or music school and want to play professionally. We know that to reach such heights, there is a level of dedication that they have to start at that moment to move on to the next step, ”says Zweig.
Applications are accepted until April 20. Learn more about the program and its connection to world-renowned contralto Marian Anderson at playonphilly.org/andersonartist.