Advance the Arts
Many school systems around the country have experienced reductions of their budgets for arts education programs. As a premier regional cultural institution, the Stamford Symphony partners with Parent Teacher Organizations to help raise funds for arts programs in local schools.

Every year, through Advance the Arts, the Stamford Symphony provides vouchers for concert tickets to Parent Teacher Organization. Each PTO receives 70 vouchers. The PTOs sell the vouchers for tickets to a Stamford Symphony concert and keep 100% of the proceeds for their schools. The proceeds must, in turn, be used by the schools to fund Arts Education programs.

To order ticket vouchers for your school, contact the Stamford Symphony’s Education Department.

Residencies and interactive performance workshops bring Stamford Symphony musicians into elementary schools to work with students and provide interactive performances for students. To organize a residency or workshop at your school, contact the Stamford Symphony’s Education Department.

Through each residency program, a Stamford Symphony musician pays three or four visits to a local school and works with an entire grade level. The program is tied in with the regular classroom curriculum, and culminates in a performance by the students.

Residencies cost between $1,800 and $2,800, depending on the number of classes per grade.

  • “Compose a Song”: 2nd and 3rd grades: This language arts program takes students through the creative process of song writing. Children choose a musical genre, write lyrics, and set them to a melody. Teachers select the topics, which are based on the students’ reading curriculum
  • “Sound Is All Around”: 3rd and 4th grades: This science residency explores the properties of sound. Students experiment with resonance, timbre, pitch, and sound waves, using instruments like pot lids, rubber ducks, and desk tops. They measure and chart their results. Finally, they create a musical story, setting music apart from other sounds.
  • “Music Through Percussion”: 4th and 5th grades: This energetic residency guides students in rhythm dynamics and improvisation. Students create their own instruments from everyday objects and study pattern recognition in order to understand different cultural genres of percussion.

These classroom showcases include a visit by one or several Stamford Symphony musicians to a school. Programs establish the link between music and the core classroom curriculum.

  • “What Can You Do with a Tune?”: Kindergarten through 2nd grade: In this program of music and storytelling, musicians tell an interactive story with simple songs to demonstrate the basics of melody, harmony, rhythm, and pitch.
  • “Brass Attacks”: Kindergarten through 2nd grade: This energetic performance introduces each instrument in the brass section and demonstrates their unique qualities. Children participate in marches and learn about the effects of brass instruments in both classical and contemporary music.
  • “Up Close with the Orchestra”; Kindergarten through 5th grade: Musicians look at the families of musical instruments and perform styles of music from the Renaissance to popular music from modern times. Students will hear how the instruments work together to create a beautiful, harmonious sound.
  • “Rhythms Around the World”: 4th and 5th grades:Students take a multi-cultural tour of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe through music. The concept of rhythm as a universal element of music is introduced. The importance of drums and percussion in all cultures throughout history as a means of communicating and signaling change is demonstrated.


MusiKids is the Stamford Symphony’s pre-concert interactive guided listening program. Each session focuses on the performance the children are about to see and is run by a trained Stamford Symphony. Young listeners aged 6-12 can participate and are encouraged to bring their instruments or just their voices. Sessions take place before Sunday’s HARMAN Orchestra Classics Series at 1:45 p.m. in the second floor lobby of the Palace Theatre.

Student Concert

Each spring, the Stamford Symphony invites the entire fourth- and fifth-grade of the Stamford Public Schools to two concerts at the Palace Theatre. These special performances are integrated into their Social Studies American History Curriculum. Four 45-minute lesson plans and a complete Teacher Resource Box are provided to all schools. High school music students perform side-by-side with Stamford Symphony musicians.

Boys and Girls Club After School Program

The Symphony Project is an integrated music appreciation program run by two Stamford Symphony musicians. This 13-week sequential program focuses on the basics of music. Called “Many Families Make an Orchestra” for children aged 6-8, it correlates with the Connecticut Education Social Studies standards for grades 1-3.

The Symphony Sprites pre-school music appreciation program was designed by the Stamford Symphony as a pilot program for the Childcare Learning Centers of Stamford ("CLC") in 2010.  The program serves 160 children (ages 3-4) at the Palmer's Hill location of the CLC.  The goals of the program are to stimulate and nurture a lifelong interest in music, provide exposure to orchestral instruments and music, make the children "comfortable" with the language of music, and to provide a hands-on, activity-based curriculum appropriate for the developmental needs of the 3-4 year old child.  The CLC is currently looking into options to expand the Symphony Sprites program to additional locations for next year.