The Memphis Symphony Orchestra educates and inspires the Memphis community through meaningful musical experiences, serving in multiple ways that extend well beyond the concert hall. Through our educational programs such as: Orff Side by Side Concerts, mentoring and coaching in middle and high schools, School and Library Tunes & Tales, The Overture Series, and other in-depth programming, the MSO education initiatives encourages life-long learning.
After years of building robust partnerships for education and community services, MSO experienced a financial reset in 2014-15 that reduced the season and nearly ended its innovative work. In early 2015, MSO began a ground zero reimaging of how to partner with educators to improve student outcomes city-wide. Working closely with the Shelby County School district and its new plan, Destination 2025, and other school systems, MSO went to work. Best practices and proven education trends were matched against real community needs, and the result was a customized 5-year plan that engages elementary students and motivates the election of music in middle/ high school.
Launched in 2015-16, the plan reached an estimated 25,000 students in year one and 31,000 students in year two. In 2016-17, MSO entered a new partnership with the University of Memphis that added in the capacity of higher education. Currently MSO and the University, partnering with SCS, are designing a community music education system that builds on MSO’s 5-year elementary plan. Once complete, it will provide music lessons in the community: new summer music camp opportunities; professional development for music teachers; practicums for emerging music educators; and more. Now three years from reset, MSO deeply understands how it authentically integrates education to support students, teachers, parents and communities to help make Memphis a more educated and vibrant city. MSO muscians plan an active role in developing and delivering our education and community engagement programs. These programs reflect the musician's unique abilities and talents.