These internal forms of documentation and evaluation help the program evolve quickly, but they do not answer the hard question: “So what?” What does all of this activity do—for individuals, for partner institutions, or for the city as a whole? This is the kind of bottom-line information that matters to
As a result, we have developed a several-tiered strategy for sharing
evidence of the outcomes or the effectiveness of Musical Connections, with steps outlined below.
Program staff at Carnegie Hall collect basic statistics on the scope of the Musical Connections work, such as
When meeting and planning with partners,
the overall data can be tailored to the needs and interests of specific
partners and supporters (for the Department of Child and Family
Services, staff can produce a report of all the performances and
residencies involving young people in the juvenile justice system, and
so on). Over time, these data can create a strong record of sustained
partnerships with specific venues and the department as a whole. This is
a vital resource in a city where staff and programs change across
administrations and in response to new demands.
Download Spreadsheet: Statistical Analysis of Musical Connections
In order to build a deeper understanding of the possible effects of Musical Connections, we used our field notes, interviews, video recordings, and so on to generate a set of in-depth case studies. Each of these case studies included:
This background research delves into the wider context of the settings in which Musical Connections works best. For performances in correctional facilities, this involved investigating both broad issues in the US prison system as well as the issues specific to the New York City region. For the work at Jacobi Medical Center, we researched the disparities in access to health care that many Bronx residents face and what the hospital is doing to transform itself into a neighborhood resource for wellness and preventive care.
This is the story of the residency or performance(s) at a given site, told with an emphasis on capturing where performers and audiences/participants connected through music. Here is
where we made extensive use of personal interviews from artists and participants alike.
Watch Video: Daniel Levy & David Broxton discuss how they connected through music
This section also outlines what the immediate and longer-term
effects of the program appear to be. For instance, the case study of Musical Connections at Sing Sing Correctional Facility suggests that
through planning, set-up, and sitting in with artists, participating
inmates spend a considerable number of hours in goal-directed,
productive activities—hours that might otherwise be empty.
The case studies conclude by
raising questions for practice. For instance, given the success of
songwriting programs for seniors, could some Musical Connections artists
be trained to lead this kind of workshop? What kind of peer mentoring
and professional development might it require?
The depth of the case studies provides a powerful way to
The cases provide compelling documents to share with development
officers, senior staff, and other organizations interested in the work.
They can also launch planning conversations with partners because they
highlight both accomplishments and next steps. Finally, they provide
evaluators and staff with a growing understanding of the effects of the
program on participants, staff, musicians, and partners.
Currently our evaluation data is largely descriptive and exploratory. Some audiences may want harder evidence about the program. For example, a funder or government agency might want to know
This is currently a frontier for the evaluation work. We are considering
HomeSelf-Directed AssessmentExternal EvaluationAssessment Resources