On Monday September 19, 2011, 110 children at St. Francis de Sales School began music classes with 17 of the region’s professional Teaching Artists through a new program Play On, Philly! (POP). The students, ages six through thirteen, started attending music classes after school for three hours each weekday, which they will continue to do throughout the entire school year
and summer. The mission of Play On, Philly! is to foster generational change, develop critical executive functioning skills, provide an environment of opportunities, and increase achievement by providing daily musical training for children and adolescents living in challenging economic and social conditions.

“Our primary goal is to build a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society in Philadelphia,” said Stanford Thompson, Executive Director of POP. “By making this investment in children to acquire high-level executive functioning skills, they will soon pay back society through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.”

Students in grades first through eighth had the opportunity to select one instrument of study from the family of strings (violin, viola, cello, and bass), woodwinds (flute and clarinet), or brass (horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba). In addition to their instrumental study, the students participate in general music classes, choir, percussion ensemble, jazz, and composition while performing in the POP Symphony Orchestra, string orchestra, wind ensemble, and chamber music program.

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