Our Impact

Music education makes a quantifiable difference in a child’s life and we have the data to prove it.

Since 2012, Play On Philly has made formal evaluations a priority of our programming; we obtain quantifiable data as to the program’s effectiveness and use the research for our students’ benefit to provide the best after-school music education programming possible. We work with independent consulting firm WolfBrown to evaluate students’ progress as they proceed through our program. Tests are administered at the beginning and at the end of every school year and measure memory, inhibition control, focus, and overall executive functioning skills.

The research study is guided by an essential theory of change: Access to high-quality music education can mitigate the effects of risk on academic achievement and prosocial behavior by fostering participants’ executive functions which are sets of goal-directed behaviors.

The evaluation results at our Music Center have shown quantifiable success: 

  • POP students earn 10 points higher on standardized tests than their peers
  • They score higher on English Language Arts tests
  • They score higher on math tests
  • They have increased study skills
  • Students demonstrate better executive functioning skills like determination and focus
  • We hope to continue adding to the body of evidence available about the powerful impact that music education can have on a child’s future.

POP by the numbers:



teaching artists


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Meet Makayla, Alumni

“Music has given me a chance to be myself. I’m really shy and quiet but POP has given me more confidence to be more social. I’ve made friends through POP. If it weren’t for POP I wouldn’t have talked to them. People in my neighborhood stop me when I have my violin case with me, ask me questions about what I play. When they see me, they see a musician. Music gives me something to talk about.”