For more than 25 years, Philharmonic Schools has provided elementary schools with the opportunity to integrate orchestral music into school communities through culture, history, and other core subject areas. Philharmonic Teaching Artists use a range of orchestral repertoire, chamber music, and other genres to teach students, teachers, and families how to listen, perform, and compose, providing them with tools to enjoy concerts in their schools and elsewhere. The program employs music as an essential element of the classroom, of the school community, and as a tool to explore social and emotional expression.


Philharmonic Schools offers students a three-year curriculum that taps into their innate creativity, helping them to better hear and understand music, compose their own pieces, and perform both existing and original melodies and rhythms. The curriculum emphasizes exploration of orchestral and other musical works by diverse composers through a method that embraces culturally responsive pedagogical techniques.

  • Goals

    1. • To nurture a lifelong love of music in students, teachers, and parents by cultivating a foundational knowledge of orchestral music through the lens of creative exploration
    2. • To demonstrate a commitment to long-term partnerships through residencies, concerts, and other collaborative opportunities
    3. • To reach every third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade student in partner schools — more than 3,000 students — of all learning types and abilities.
    4. • Support the learning of middle and high school students and teachers through a similar age-appropriate adapted curriculum.

  • Student Experience

    1. • 8 or 17 Teaching Artist sessions, delivered in-person, virtually, or asynchronously
    2. • Digital resources created for each school by Teaching Artists
    3. • Creative composition and instrument-making resources developed by the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program
    4. • 1–2 in-school interactive chamber concerts
    5. • Attendance at one New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts for Schools and / or a live community virtual watch party



Philharmonic Schools Teaching Artists use a variety of resources, including our sequential and evolving curriculum, Pathways to the Orchestra. Each individual school community influences the way students creatively engage with concepts in a manner that is culturally responsive and celebrates diverse musical traditions.

Pathways to the Orchestra

A curriculum in three levels that introduces students to the orchestra and musical concepts.

Digital Activities

Teaching Artist-created content supports student and teacher explorations of concepts like musical layering in the classroom or at home.

Bilingual Lessons

Some resources are available in both English and Spanish to foster a more inclusive classroom.

Get Involved

If your school is interested in becoming a Philharmonic Schools partner, please contact us:

Philharmonic Schools
(212) 875-5733

Philharmonic Schools program openings are limited; they only become available upon the dissolution of a current partnership or when the Orchestra’s resources allow for expansion. Schools pay a modest fee; the New York Philharmonic covers remaining costs.

Lead support for Philharmonic Schools is provided by The Hearst Foundations, with generous support provided by The Carson Family Charitable Trust.

Support for Philharmonic Schools is also provided by Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, Bank of China, Herbert M. Citrin Charitable Foundation, Constans Culver Foundation, Sally E. Cummins, Suzan Gordon, The C.F. Roe Slade Foundation, The Staten Island Foundation, and Theresa S. Thompson.

Additional support is provided by Jephson Educational Trusts; Leo Rosner Foundation; and Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, Inc.

Philharmonic Schools is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.