As part of its mission to enrich the lives of New Mexicans through musical excellence, educational opportunities, and community engagement, and in cooperation with the Albuquerque Public Schools, the New Mexico Philharmonic (NMPhil) operates a set of education programs reaching nearly 20,000 children in the Albuquerque area each year, all at no cost to the students or their parents. The four main programs are described here. Other programs are offered as funding is available.
Popejoy Concerts for Children
Every fall and spring over 17,000 4th and 5th grade students attend live symphony concerts presented by the musicians of the NMPhil in Popejoy Hall. These concerts are a continuation of a 50 year plus tradition developed by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and are the first live classic orchestral concerts attended by most of the students. In the 2014-15 season over 95% of the teachers surveyed said their students enjoyed and valued the experience.
Symphony for Autism
Now two years old, the Symphony for Autism is the first of its kind in the US, and likely the world. The NMPhil full orchestra performs a regular concert live in Popejoy Hall for an audience composed exclusively of children with significant degrees of autism. While music is often used for and with children with autism, full regular concerts are not. Children with moderate to significant autism are seldom taken even one by one to such concerts because of parents’ concern for their behavior. Over 300 of the 800 APS students with moderate to severe autism have now attended. Ultimately all APS children with autism will have the opportunity to attend each year.
In-School Ensemble Visits
NMPhil musicians visit APS schools to perform and demonstrate string, woodwind, percussion, and brass instruments for small groups of students. The musicians discuss the instruments, music structure, and music literature. This program introduces children to the instruments, presenting the information in an accessible and engaging manner. The visits encourage interaction and maximize the one-on-one connection with students. The number of students impacted each year depends on funding with up to 2,000 students being reached.
Young Musician Initiative (YMI)
Begun by the NMPhil in 2013, YMI is an in-depth music education program for Title 1 elementary school students. Based on the internationally renowned El Sistema Program, YMI builds confidence and instills life skills that serve them immediately and throughout their lives. YMI takes place after school, 4 days a week for 2 ½ hours each day. The students receive vocal and rhythm training, private lessons, and sectional practice with their chosen instrument, and full orchestra rehearsal. They perform regularly for audiences both small and large. In 2015-16 three schools and 150 students will be reached. The students’ academic performance consistently improves by 50 to 60% in mathematics, reading, and science.
YMI 2014/15 Achievement Report (PDF 200KB)
Mission: Graduate & NMPhil
The NMPhil’s education programs are recognized as full partners with Mission: Graduate. Our programs serve the long term strategy of creating the solid foundations of a love of education and schools that are a key part of keeping students in school and completing their educations.
Mission: Graduate is a cradle-to-career education partnership in Central New Mexico, which includes the counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia. Its goal is to add 60,000 new college degrees and certificates to Central New Mexico by 2020.