Reaching Out to Community Music Ensembles

Have you established a relationship with your community symphony or chamber group? If not, now may be the time to reach out. Why? Because there can be added benefits for you and educational opportunities for your students. Many community groups have established education programs that are targeted for specific age groups.

For example, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Alexandria, Virginia, led by Maestro Kim Allen Kluge, has an annual mentoring program. The ASO matches area high school string students with its principal chair string players for a series of master classes and group coachings. The program culminates with the students joining the ASO to play “side by side” with their mentors later in the season. This full-scholarship program provides high school string students with the opportunity to study with ASO musicians; observe rehearsals and attend concerts; and participate in master classes and discussions with musicians, guest artists, and the ASO management.

Music educators can be leaders in establishing effective partnerships with community music organizations. As leaders, they demonstrate their commitment to student musicians by sharing their goals to enhance student learning and their strong sense of ownership in the education of students. They also encourage mutual respect among all of the adults committed to student learning, regardless of their roles.

MENC member Lorie Wacaster, music teacher at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Florida, says, “a little grant is possible to enhance our vocal and instrumental programs. I am working with the executive director of our local professional symphony to build a formal relationship with them. We would attend concerts, their musicians would come and work with us in master classes/lectures like technique for the instrumentalists and music history and performance tips for singers.”


— Nicole Springer, November 16, 2010. © National Association for Music Education.