Innovative After-School Music Program Enhances Academic and Social Skills in a Safe and Nurturing Environment
(Philadelphia, September 23, 2013) Underscoring the increasing demand for music education, Play On, Philly! (POP), opened its third season today with a doubling of enrollment at The Freire Charter Middle School. The innovative after-school program, which serves Philadelphia youngsters grades K - 11 for whom music is not readily accessible, also added classes in tuba, oboe, composition and early childhood music at the St. Francis de Sales School.
250 students attend Play On, Philly! classes every day after school at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia and Freire Charter Middle School in Center City. POP meets for up to three hours, during which students take group instrumental lessons as well as choir, general music, chamber music and orchestra.
Commenting on the upswing of students in the Freire program, Freire Head of School Kelly Davenport said, “We partnered with POP because we are all working towards a common goal – to provide a nurturing and safe environment to help our students achieve, succeed and contribute to our city. Last year’s class learned so much so quickly, creating a very positive vibe throughout the school. It’s no surprise that more students want to participate.”
According to POP Chief Executive Officer, Stanford Thompson, music education may be a key to closing the growing achievement gap seen in Philadelphia. Approximately fifty percent of Philadelphia students graduate high school and a mere ten percent graduate college.
“POP addresses these important educational and societal concerns by using intensive music instruction to impart the cognitive and social skills associated with success,” explained Thompson. “It’s well researched that musical study develops the skills and motivation children need to succeed in school and throughout their lives. We designed our program to keep our most vulnerable resources, our children, engaged at high-risk times of the day outside of school.”
Already POP graduates have gone on to the finest Philadelphia high schools including Masterman, Central, Girls’ High, GAMP, West Catholic and St. Joseph’s Prep. Older students, grades 9 – 11, stay involved by assisting in classes, mentoring younger students and continuing to perform with POP through our Ambassadors Program.