According to Dallas Symphony Orchestra League President/CEO Anne Ligon,
“Music has given me an opportunity to express myself. When I play the cello, I feel inspired and free; the Young Musicians program has helped me discover my true passion-music. With the instruction of my wonderful teachers and the support of my classmates, I have achieved more than I could ever imagine. In many amazing ways, the program has not only impacted my life, but my family’s as well. After a year, the cello has become my second voice.”
-Young Musicians Student
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League (DSOL) has been supporting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s educational and outreach work for 75 years. The mission of the DSO’s educational programs goes far beyond the cultural lesson of learning to play an instrument. The DSOL supports the Symphony in innovative and time-tested methods of poverty intervention through music education. The DSOL understands that music education matters because it primes the brain for success in academics, careers, and relationships in the following ways:
- For children to successfully navigate this world, they must develop executive functioning skills, which can be acquired through musical training. Executive functioning includes tasks such as impulse control, managing time, paying attention, problem-solving, organization, emotional control, and self-monitoring.
- Learning to play an instrument improves a child’s memory and reading skills. Music and reading share common neural and cognitive mechanisms. As students receive online education, this added booster to academics is critical to narrowing the educational gap.
- Learning to read music can enhance math skills. For instance, the student will learn about quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes and increase their understanding of spatial awareness.
- Music decreases stress and depression. Some of these children face tremendous strain in their lives, and the lessons are a source of encouragement and joy. Covid-19 adds additional stressors, so the continuance of the online programs is crucial.
Two of the DSO’s most essential programs are the Young Strings And Young Musicians. In these programs, the children are given free instruments and instruction. They are currently receiving private and group lessons via the internet, along with much-needed meals due to not being able to attend school in person. The Young Musicians Program serves first through fifth-grade students in Southern Dallas. Since the program’s inception in June 2019, the DSO has worked with 500 children. The Young Strings Program reaches 250 inner-city Dallas students in the second through twelfth grades. There is a 100% college acceptance rate for students who stay in the Young Strings program, and students attend universities on scholarship throughout the US.
The DSO serves other important causes: The My DSO Concert is designed for children and adults on the autism spectrum and developmental disabilities. The DSO also supports children who have experienced hardship by providing free concert tickets to the CASA and Big Brother/Sister programs.
The DSOL welcomes anyone interested in serving our community. Please refer to the membership tab on the DSOL’s website to become a member and learn about volunteer opportunities. To donate, please refer to the “donate” tab. www.dallassymphonyleague.com
* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra League