Play On Philly

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Making Time for the Milestones

01-05-2021

This past summer, the evening that Play On Philly (POP) presented its virtual showcase concert happened to mark the ten-year anniversary of our decision to launch the program. As I sat at my laptop watching, I felt sad not to be celebrating that milestone in person with my POP family. But I also felt gratitude as I reflected on how our community has supported each other since the day we started. We have always embraced the El Sistema philosophy and encouraged our students and teachers to reach for levels of learning and engagement we know are possible to achieve.

El Sistema Programs Share Their Resources

11-03-2020

As a result of the pandemic, El Sistema programs are launching initiatives that aim to share their learning more widely. Play On Philly is opening its resources and programming to students in non-Sistema programs across the country—not just in Philly. Read more about how they’re doing it here. Similarly, the Harmony Program in New York has developed an original series of YouTube-based beginner music lessons for learners ages 7–10, called “Harmony at Home.” This free, year-long series consists of weekly, 30-minute lessons in music fundamentals from prominent artists, including Joshua Bell, Anthony McGill, Jamie Bernstein, and Imani Winds. No instruments necessary.

Editorial: March 2020

03-03-2020

Institutional funders of El Sistema-inspired programs are typically limited to those dedicated to the arts and arts education. Foundations supporting social programs might think, “Why would we fund Sistema? That’s arts, which we don’t do.”

The Jose De Piro Kabataan Orkestra Nurtures Citizens of the Community through Music in the Bataan Province of the Philippines

07-02-2019

The Formation Center, founded in 2005 by the Missionary Society of Saint Paul (MSSP), aims to improve the lives of young people in the Bataan province and to eventually build a vibrant community through its orchestra program.  Father Joseph Cremona (Father Joe), who has been  with the parish since its inception, observed that in the beginning, “the parish center quickly became a safe space where the children could gather instead of roaming around the village streets.”

Supporting the Young Artist’s Initiative

12-01-2018

This fall marks the second year of an exciting new talent development program at Play On Philly! Our Emerging Artist Collective (PEAC) is a cohort of nearly twenty students who have demonstrated the utmost dedication and whose families have demonstrated the devotion needed for success. Unlike all other Play On Philly students, those in PEAC receive private lessons and advocacy as they navigate Philadelphia’s musical landscape. As director of this program, I work to show them that a life playing music and immersed in music is a true possibility for them.

Elevating the Holiday/Winter Concert

09-01-2018

Every year, one of the highlights of the winter concert at Sistema Ravinia in Chicago is the moment when the young musicians whack their guests on the head. Let me be more specific: the real highlight is when one young musician almost whacks a guest on the head with a boomwhacker the size of a pool noodle.

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