Dallas Symphony keeps the music going with virtual classes for our Young Musicians Program


VIDEO: Learn more about the program

DALLAS, TX (March 25, 2020) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra launched a Young Musicians Program in Southern Dallas in summer camps in 2019 and after-school programs in five schools in September 2019. Almost 500 children have participated in the program thus far, which includes free instruments for the students and 6-8 hours of music per week as part of the after-school programs.  With school cancellations caused by COVID-19, the DSO has morphed its Young Musicians and Young Strings initiatives to provide virtual music instruction during this period when schools are closed. Classes and individual instruction have been moved online with curriculum and lesson plans created to facilitate remote learning.

“Our Education Department began working on a program immediately after they learned that schools would be closed,” said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “The kids in our program have made tremendous progress over the past six months, and though our teachers and staff can’t visit the schools in person, it is important to continue music lessons to keep the children improving and motivated during this unprecedented period.”

Remote learning opportunities for Young Musicians will have three components:

General Music: Music Theory, Chorus, and Fun Music Activities (no instrument needed)

These lessons will include the original plans for in-person classes but reformatted for remote learning. Teachers will add additional fun activities as needed including mindful listening, drawing or coloring, and using existing online resources to guide students through classical music-related games. This will be broken down into a class for first through third graders and fourth and fifth graders.  

Group Lessons and Mindful Listening (instrument needed)

In addition to their normal class content, teachers will lead students in practicing parts for “virtual ensembles.” After class, students will record (video and audio) their own part and send to the teacher who will use an app to combine the parts. The DSO will be able to share these performances after they are compiled.  These groups will be divided by school and instrument group (high strings, low strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion) with the children performing in duo, trios and larger ensembles.

One-on-One Lessons (instrument needed)

This will be a new initiative for the Young Musicians program and will allow teachers to spend more time with each student. Lessons will be scheduled once a week for approximately 25 minutes. The DSO’s Young Strings students who have already been taking one-on-one lessons, have already started virtual lessons for free with the DSO.

“When we launched Young Musicians, we wanted to be sure that the DSO had a strong, long-term presence in the schools and in the communities,” said Noltemy. “We are happy that technology allows us to continue the music while being physically distant but socially connected.”

About Young Musicians

Young Musicians was launched in June 2019, as part of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Southern Dallas Residency. The program provides free instruments and free instruction to students in Dallas’s southern area through after-school and summer camp programs. Since its inception, Young Musicians has served nearly 500 students in grades 1 through 5 with the goal of providing as many students from Southern Dallas as possible with access to music education. The children receive instruction on their chosen instrument as well as in percussion/drum circle, music theory and chorus. As the program has progressed, the students have been provided opportunities for performance, such as at a DSO Annual Board Meeting and prior to a performance at the Meyerson. After-school programs are currently at Trinity Basin Preparatory (for all students), and Halliday Elementary, Kahn Elementary, Silberstein Elementary and Moreno Elementary (for DISD students). Information and registration for the program is available at mydso.com/youngmusicians. This program is generously supported by Capital One, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, O’Donnell Foundation, The Morton H. Meyerson Family Foundation, Sammons Enterprises, Inc. and the Harold Simmons Foundation. 

About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Designate Fabio Luisi, presents the finest in orchestral music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, regarded as one of the world’s premier concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches more than 243,000 adults and children through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives annually. The DSO’s involvement with the City of Dallas and the surrounding region includes an award-winning multi-faceted educational program, community projects, popular parks concerts and youth programming.

The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900 and is a cornerstone of the unique, 68-acre Arts District in Downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks; the largest district of its kind in the nation.