Connecticut orchestras create free music education hub and resources

Posted on: May 14, 2021

Five Connecticut orchestras have joined to create “Pick Your Instrument CT,” a free music education initiative to increase enrollment in school music programs, which declined during the pandemic. The orchestras—Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Stamford Symphony Orchestra, and Waterbury Symphony Orchestra—have added free recorded, live, and online services to encourage students to join their school’s instrumental ensembles. The free hub for students and teachers includes videos by orchestra musicians about each instrument; webinars and live, virtual “open houses” on May 22 and 26 about instruments; an instrument selection toolkit, in English and Spanish; and “For Kids by Kids,” an online portal where students can submit their own videos about playing various instruments. New Haven Symphony Orchestra Education Director Caitlin Daly-Gonzales said, “As schools went virtual last spring, many students lost connection to their school’s music departments. Our teacher network shared that they were seeing a drop in the number of students…. Most teachers couldn’t use their normal recruiting methods like in-person instrument demonstrations and open houses for parents and students. This felt like a problem that orchestras could help solve and it was wonderful to see orchestras across Connecticut orchestras quickly jump into action.”