Over the last 30 years, March has been designated by the National Association for Music Education for the observance and celebration of Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM). The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education and to advocate for equitable access to music education for all students in all schools. As a strong advocate for music education, the Negaunee Music Institute will be celebrating MIOSM with programming and concerts that support music education in Chicago schools and connect students with musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

CSO Musicians in Schools

Throughout the month of March—and as part of the orchestra’s commitment to presenting 125 Concerts in the Community during its 125th  anniversary season—CSO chamber ensembles will offer 24 educational performances at Chicago Public Schools and community locations.

“Bringing music to the schools and to children is simply one of the most important things that we can do for the children of this country.  There is a great need to show and teach the children examples of creativity, sensitivity, love and beauty in the world. Music is the best way to do this. Music is an art form that can be understood and loved by everyone.” — Jim Smelser, second horn, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Programs of the Institute provide opportunities for people of all ages with diverse backgrounds to participate actively in the life of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

CSO-Connect Program in Action

Schools participating in the CSO-Connect program will be implementing arts-integrated curricula developed over the course of four professional development workshops hosted by the Negaunee Music Institute. Each school’s team of teachers consists of various disciplines—music, visual art, science and language arts—who collaborated to create a curriculum based on their students’ learning needs and connecting with CSO school concerts.

Agassiz Elementary School teacher testimonial: “This has been a hugely beneficial program, both for the opportunity to integrate arts into other disciplines, and to focus more deeply on interdisciplinary collaboration. My colleagues and I would not have been able to work on this unit as cohesively and broadly without this shared time and focus. The CSO staff and presenters know what works in a real educational setting and imparts the knowledge and best practices to the teachers in a meaningful and instructive way.”

During the 2014/15 school year, the Negaunee Music Institute partnered with 129 CPS schools.

Civic Orchestra Concert for Chicago Students

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago will present a concert at Northside College Preparatory High School on March 21. In preparation for this performance, Civic musicians are visiting the school to lead chamber music coachings with the school’s band and orchestra students. The evening’s concert is offered free of charge and open to students and community members.

Civic Orchestra Fellow Davis King: “Performing and working with the talented students of Northside College Prep was a pleasure. Upon walking to the school, it was immediately clear that the school has a thriving arts culture; music plays on the speakers between classes, while student-made sculptures, paintings and pottery line the hallways. Working with the students was a joy; well-prepared, flexible and eager to learn, working with their chamber groups felt less like working with students and more like working with dedicated, budding musicians. I look forward to going back to the school on March 21 to perform two great orchestral masterpieces for the school.”

Once Upon a Symphony Concerts

Also on March 21, the Institute will welcome approximately 500 of its youngest concertgoers to Symphony Center for interactive performances of the Once Upon a Symphony program Goldilocks and the Three Bears, designed especially for preschool students.

A teacher’s testimonial: “The music is introduced in a way that makes it easy for the child to absorb and remember it. The whole event is entertaining as well as educational.”


To contribute to the Negaunee Music Institute and support its effort to bring music education to Chicago area schools, please visit http://cso.org/support/personal-giving/support-the-institute/.

TOP: Young students listen to the Once Upon a Symphony program Goldilocks and the Three Bears. | Todd Rosenberg Photography