Education & Service

Expanding Possibilities, One Note at a Time! 

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of nationally recognized education and community engagement (ECE) programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music, annually serving as many as 60,000 New Jerseyans in nearly 21 counties.  

Core program offerings include Concerts for Young People, the NJSO Youth Orchestras, Preschool Program and the touring chamber music program, NJSO Community Partners.

Through its diverse array of programs, the NJSO expands access to quality music instruction as well as provides vital arts learning experiences that reinforce social and emotional learning outcomes, foster confidence and bring joy.

Select Examples of Program Impact

The NJSO Music and Wellness Program promotes healing through music for patients, staff and caregivers through a chamber concert series and/or customized bedside serenades by our musicians. These customized offerings provide social, emotional and therapeutic benefits in hospital settings—including creating positive, uplifting environments to help listeners relax. Adding to the quality of life of patients, staff, and visiting loved ones, the NJSO Music and Wellness Program serves a variety of healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and hospices.

Initiated by two of New Jersey’s premier performing arts organizations—New Jersey Performing Arts Center and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra—MANY (Music Advancement for Newark-area Youth) is a partnership designed to provide opportunities for high-quality instrumental music instruction. Comprised of two sister ensembles—the NJSO Training Ensemble (of the NJSO Youth Orchestras) and the NJPAC Symphonic Band, the partnership is designed to serve beginning and experienced students alike. Its more than 100 young musicians, spanning grades 4–11, can study string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments with the goal of developing musical and instrumental proficiency while building leadership skills. MANY also aims to prepare young instrumentalists for acceptance into performance-based educational programs within the community, including Arts High School Orchestra and Concert Band, Newark School of the Arts, NJPAC Brick City Jazz Orchestra and Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens programs and NJSO Youth Orchestras.

Learn more about all programs

 

Leveraging Past Accomplishments for Future Success!

As of 2019, NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project) has been integrated into the Training Ensemble of the NJSO Youth Orchestras. The NJSO is proud to continue to build on the CHAMPS program’s best practices and nationally recognized successes. This program was a nationally recognized intensive after-school string program for 4–8 graders, inspired by the Venezuelan social change and music education program El Sistema. During its six-year tenure, NJSO CHAMPS served more than 150 students across two Newark partner schools (University Heights Charter School and Philip’s Academy Charter School). Many of whom have gone on to the Arts High School Orchestra and the NJSO Youth Orchestras. Annual retention rates for NJSO CHAMPS ranged from 65% to 78%, well over the national averages for similar programs.

Evaluation studies by WolfBrown consistently demonstrated the following program accomplishments:

  • Students in CHAMPS made substantial progress as young musicians. Jury scores (assigned independently by two trained jurors) showed an increase of 10–50% from the beginning to the end of each program year.
     
  • Students enrolled in CHAMPS consistently demonstrated significant increases in character over the course of each program year. Character was defined as a set of social/emotional skills that are critical for success in school and life. The largest increases were observed in students’ pro-social behavior (working well with peers).
     
  • Students in CHAMPS displayed larger increases in their academic grades over the course of the school year than their peers. For example:
    • In the 2015–16 program year, the average increase in CHAMPS students’ English Language Arts scores increased at a rate twice that of their peers.
    • In the 2014–15 program year, overall academic grades among CHAMPS students increased at more than double the rate of their peers.

Supporters make these programs possible

These life-enriching programs would not exist without the support of many generous donors. Click on each program below to view the individuals, companies, foundation and government support which make it all possible.

NJSO Youth Orchestras

  • BD
  • Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund
  • Merck Foundation
  • M&T Bank (NJSO Youth Orchestras Winter and Spring Concerts Sponsor)
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Turrell Fund
  • Wells Fargo
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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The NJSO Training Ensemble is supported by the following sponsors, in addition to those listed above:

  • Broadridge Foundation
  • Ken and Susan Fahrenholtz
  • The Leavens Foundation
  • The Harold I. and Faye B. Liss Foundation
  • Verizon
  • Victoria Foundation

Community Partners

  • AON
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Delta Dental of NJ (Music and Wellness Program)
  • Hackensack Meridian Health (Music and Wellness Program)
  • Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Music and Wellness Program)
  • Merck Foundation
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Prudential
  • PSE&G Foundation
  • TD Charitable Foundation

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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Special thanks to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Hackensack Meridian Health for their help with the production of the Music and Wellness Program promotional video.

Family Concert Series

  • The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey–Series Sponsor
  • Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund
  • Merck Foundation
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Wells Fargo

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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Concerts for Young People

  • Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Merck Foundation
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Turrell Fund
  • Wells Fargo

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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Preschool Program

  • Merck Foundation
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • PNC Foundation
  • Turrell Fund
  • Wells Fargo
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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Coach-in-Residence

  • Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund
  • Merck Foundation
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Turrell Fund
  • Victoria Foundation
  • Wells Fargo
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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.