Organizations in the Madison area and around the midwest are taking steps to introduce a new generation of music lovers to classical music. Here are five programs we think you should know about in the interest of music education:

Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Education Programs

Madison Symphony Orchestra is so proud of our award-winning Education and Community Engagement Programs that reach thousands of children each year. From concerts to competitions to master classes and more, our partnerships with local schools build the foundation for students to have a life-long relationship with music. MSO’s programs designed for school-aged children include Young Artist Competitions, Young People’s Concerts, and Up Close and Musical®.

The Fall Youth Concerto Competition is open to students in grades 3-8, and winners are given a chance to perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible for the Bolz Young Artist Competition, with the third and final round of the competition being presented in a live broadcast entitled, “Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte.”

The Young People’s Concerts include the Fall Youth Concerts and the Spring Young People’s Concert. The Fall Youth Concerts are designed to introduce students in grades 4-8 to classical music and the full symphony orchestra. They also feature the winners of the annual Fall Youth Concerto Competition. The Spring Young People’s Concert creates memorable musical experiences for students in grades 6-12, showcasing the talents of the winners of the annual Bolz Young Artist Competition.

Symphony Soup is a concert designed for students in grades Kindergarten-3 and is the culminating event of the MSO’s nationally recognized Up Close & Musical® in-school residency program. Link Up gives students in grades 3-5 the opportunity to explore music through a yearlong curriculum of classroom activities during which they learn to play the soprano recorder. A culminating concert brings the students into Overture’s Capitol Theater to perform with the MSO.

For more information on these programs, visit https://madisonsymphony.org/education-community/education-programs/.

Madison Symphony Orchestra & The Links, Inc. Partnership

The Madison Metropolitan Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, partnered with the Madison Symphony Orchestra Board to give guests from diverse Madison communities an opportunity to come to the Overture Center to enjoy A Madison Symphony Christmas. Organizations which received the tickets include the One City Learning Center, the Mt. Zion Junior Missionaries, the Mt. Zion Academic Learning Center, and families from other local African-American churches as well as individuals from other social institutions.

The Links, Incorporated, is one of the oldest and largest of predominantly African-American, not-for-profit, service organizations in the nation and the Madison Chapter is committed to education, civic, and intercultural programs and projects for K-12 students.

Learn more about Links, Inc. at madisonlinks.wordpress.com.

The Sphinx Competition and Music Assistance Fund

According to their website, “The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. Prizes range from $3,000 to the top $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize. The Sphinx Competition is held every year in Detroit, Michigan.” The organization also hosts the Sphinx Music Assistance Fund, which provides alumni of the Sphinx Competition a series of scholarships and access to educational opportunities and instruments.

Sphinx also provides a number of other programs, including the National Alliance for Audition Support, which is a partnership with the New World Symphony and the League of American Orchestras. This collaboration strives to provide mentorship, audition preparation, financial support, and more to Black and LatinX musicians. Other leadership programs include SpinxConnect, Sphinx Medals of Excellent which provides career grants to Black and LatinX classical artists, and Sphinx LEAD, a leadership development program for arts leaders and entrepreneurs of color.

Performance opportunities with Sphinx include Overture, a violin and youth development program for elementary-aged students in Detroit and Flint, MI. Additionally, the Sphinx Performance Academy is a full-scholarship intensive summer music program for middle and high school aged string players.

Find more information about Sphinx programming at https://www.sphinxmusic.org.

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra Music Makers

WYSO Music Makers was founded to provide quality music lessons and performance opportunities to under-resourced students in the Madison area. Starting with 11 students in 2007, there are now 91 enrolled students studying violin, viola, cello, piano, and guitar. Students each have a private lesson during the week and group classes on Saturdays, taught by professional musicians and music educators. The Music Makers perform one major concert and a series of recitals each semester, in addition to community concerts and events.

The Teen Teacher Program was established three years ago to build community among Music Makers students in middle school and high school. This program creates focus and identity with the older students and supports the learning and instruction of the younger children. Teen Teachers receive a stipend, and since the program was developed, have continued into high school music in greater numbers. The WYSO Mentors program creates the opportunity for accomplished high school students to help teach, coach ensembles, and add musical strength to our ensembles by playing with our students.

To learn more about WYSO Music Makers, visit https://wysomusic.org/wysomusicmakers/.

Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative

According to their website, “The mission of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative is to identify and develop gifted and motivated orchestral students from underrepresented backgrounds for acceptance into top-tier conservatory, college or university classical music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.”

Through resource sharing among a network of diverse and well-established Chicago area youth and music-education focused nonprofits, Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative helps to identify talented and motivated students to support. These relationships begin early in the training of these students, who are assessed and provided with a variety of support systems including musical, financial, instructional, and academic to “remove many of the barriers to access that can discourage or derail the training of talented young musicians from underrepresented backgrounds before they are able to realize their full musical potential.”

Visit the CMPI website for more information, https://chicagopathways.org.