• PlayUSA

    Carnegie Hall’s PlayUSA supports partner organizations across the country that offer instrumental music education programs to low-income and underserved K–12 students. These organizations receive funding, as well as training and professional development for teachers and arts administrators, in addition to guidance from Carnegie Hall staff to help address challenges and build on best practices. During the 2016–2017 season, Carnegie Hall is supporting projects administered by seven organizations: Atlanta Music Project, Community MusicWorks, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama, The People’s Music School, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) here in New York City. The 2017–2018 PlayUSA application will be available in spring 2017.

  • PlayUSA (Richard Termine)
    Photography by Richard Termine

  • Timeline

    February 15: Eligibility form available via Decision Desk

    March 22: Eligibility form submission deadline

    April 12: Full PlayUSA Application available

    May 17: Full PlayUSA Application submission deadline

    June 30: Application status notifications sent 

  • 2016–2017 Partners

    Atlanta Music Project (Atlanta, Georgia)

    Founded in 2010, the aim of the Atlanta Music Project (AMP) is to inspire social change by providing Atlanta's underserved youth with the opportunity to learn and perform music in orchestras and choirs. Funding from PlayUSA will support the addition of a new site to AMP’s orchestra program for 40 middle and high school students, the expansion of AMP’s private lesson program from 45 to 55 students, and the launch of a robust professional development program for AMP teaching artists.

    Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama / Scrollworks (Birmingham, Alabama)

    The mission of Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama (MYOCA) is to make music instruction and ensemble playing available to all, thereby developing character and a sense of community. Young people of diverse racial, social, cultural, and economic backgrounds are encouraged to explore and cultivate their musical talent and contribute to Alabama's musical culture. Funding from PlayUSA will expand teaching days from two to five days per week, and increase teaching staff and compensation to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged youth in the Birmingham area. The program will add horn, bassoon, and bass instruments, as well repairs of existing instruments.

    The People’s Music School (Chicago, Illinois)

    Based in Chicago, The People's Music School is the only completely tuition-free music school of its kind in the country. The school is wholly devoted to increasing access to all the artistic, scholastic, behavioral, and societal benefits of music. Funding from PlayUSA will support the growth and expansion of a new community band program on Chicago’s south side, which will celebrate the rich musical heritage of Chicago and be a cultural asset to the community. All students participate in a rigorous multi-hour per week program that consists of instrumental instruction, ensemble group experience, music theory, and performance. The curriculum is geared towards developing those skills transferable to all areas of life.

    Tocando After School Music Program (El Paso, Texas)

    Previously selected for PlayUSA’s pilot year, the Tocando After School Music Program is the most recent education and outreach program of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra (EPSO). Inspired by Venezuela’s highly successful El Sistema program, Tocando (“to play”) is designed to engage and empower disconnected youth at Title 1 elementary schools through intensive music instruction, academic tutoring, and performance opportunities. Funding from PlayUSA will provide quality teaching artists at each of EPSO’s two Tocando After School Music Project campuses and provide professional development opportunities for the staff. In its second year, Mission Ridge Elementary will expand Tocando's offerings to include 30 additional students, and provide both beginning and advanced music classes.

    Music for Life (New Orleans, Louisiana)

    Previously selected for PlayUSA’s pilot year, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s (LPO) Music for Life program offers disadvantaged youth in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans the opportunity to study music intensively throughout the year in private and small-group settings with both LPO musicians and peers from the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras. Funding from PlayUSA will support teaching and performance fees for 10 musician mentors, reaching 81 participants at three program sites in the upcoming year, in addition to professional development, instrument repair and service, and other program costs.

    Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (New York, New York)

    The Orchestra of St. Luke's is a gathering of outstanding musicians whose purpose is to bring classical music and the communication that is unique to music to a broad audience through performance and education. Funding from PlayUSA will support the growth of the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL) during the 2016–2017 school year. YOSL will expand to create 40 new slots for beginning musicians, while maintaining all current commitments to YOSL students and families.

    Community MusicWorks (Providence, Rhode Island)

    Founded in 1997, Community MusicWorks' (CMW) mission is to transform the lives of children, families, and musicians through chamber music education and performance in the most diverse and economically challenged urban neighborhoods of Providence, Rhode Island. Funding from PlayUSA will support an increase in CMW’s enrollment by launching a new cohort of 25 beginning students in its Daily Orchestra Program, and effect a fundamental change in the trajectory of its 125 existing students' learning, enabling them to advance consistently and more rapidly to the highest levels of music making.


    2015–2016 Partners

    Columbus All City Orchestra (Columbus, Ohio)

    Funding from PlayUSA will allow the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) to expand access to sustained, high-quality music instruction through Columbus All City Orchestra (CACO), with a pilot program that will offer private lessons with CSO musicians. Selected CACO students will be provided access to rented instruments and be paired with a CSO musician who will provide private lessons and mentoring throughout the school year.

    Tocando After School Music Program (El Paso, Texas)

    Now in its third season, the Tocando After School Music Program is the most recent education and outreach program of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by Venezuela’s highly successful El Sistema program, Tocando (“To Play”) is designed to engage disconnected youth at elementary schools through intensive music instruction, academic tutoring, and nutritional snacks. Funding from PlayUSA will support the expansion of Tocando to a second site in El Paso and professional development for program staff and teaching artists.

    Music for Life (New Orleans, Louisiana)

    Through Music for Life, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) offers disadvantaged youth in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans the opportunity to study music intensively throughout the year in private and small-group settings with both LPO musicians and peers from the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras. Now entering its third year, Music for Life will partner with PlayUSA to support teaching and performance fees for artist mentors, staff and teacher professional development, instruments for new students, instrument repair and service, music stands and books, and other program costs.

  • Click the button below to access our eligibility form. In order to apply, you will have to create a free account with Decision Desk.

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  • Contact Information

    playusa@carnegiehall.org

  • Lead support for PlayUSA is provided by Fund II Foundation.

    Fund II Foundation logo  

    The Weill Music Institute's programs are made available to a nationwide audience, in part, by an endowment grant from the Citi Foundation.