Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) Artists' Initiative

What is the PMAY Artists’ Initiative?

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is an intensive education program designed to prepare gifted young students from underrepresented communities to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond. The Initiative represents a collaboration among ten Philadelphia organizations who are committed to the music education of young people. These organizations are:


Philadelphia Sinfonia

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

Play On, Philly!

Project 440

School District of Philadelphia Office of Music Education

Settlement Music School

Temple University Music Preparatory Division

The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Primavera Fund

How many students will the PMAY Artists’ Initiative serve?

In 2017-18, approximately 75 PMAY Artists will be selected to serve as the inaugural class. Auditions will be held again for the 2018-19 school year for new students.

What will PMAY Artists receive as part of the program? What will be required of them?

Students accepted into the program will have a myriad of opportunities available to them provided by the 10 participating organizations.  A Personalized Learning Plan will be developed for each student to ensure that excellent opportunities are provided and that progress is being tracked and fully supported by the staff at each of our institutions. Each PMAY Artist will have primary contact with one organization, though they may take part in programming and receive support from multiple organizations.

What follows is what all PMAY Artists can expect to receive, regardless of their member organization:

  • PMAY Artists will receive regular support from a PMAY student advocate. (Every student advocate is deeply knowledgeable about what is required to attain acceptance into music school and/or a university with a strong music program, and will help PMAY Artists achieve their goals.)
  • PMAY Artists may apply annually for financial support for summer study. (Student advocates will support PMAY Artists with their applications to summer music programs and will help PMAY Artists decide on a course of study). Financial support for summer programs will be need-based. Older PMAY Artists will typically be eligible for greater amounts of funding.
  • High school-age PMAY Artists will be able to attend Project 440’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Seminar and Community Engagement Seminar at no cost. High school-age PMAY Artists will also be eligible to participate in Project 440’s either the Interactive Performance Chamber Music Series or Social Entrepreneurship Project Development.
  • High-school age PMAY Artists will be able to attend Primavera Fund’s audition preparation seminars at no cost.
  • PMAY Artists’ will attend the Initiative's Community Celebrations series, which will provide special music learning opportunities 4 to 5 times a year.
  • Parents will have access to the PMAY Artists’ Initiative parent collective, which will include presentations and conversations designed to support the parents of serious young musicians.
  • PMAY Artists will receive support from Initiative administrators in identifying and securing an appropriate instrument for use. Musicopia’s instrument donation program, specifically, will prioritize lending/donation of an appropriate instrument for study.

Additionally, PMAY Artists may receive the following opportunities from their specific member organizations. Each PMAY Artist will be assigned a lead member organizations, which will be determined during the course of auditions. However, PMAY Artists may move among member organizations over the course of their studies.

Musicopia: Participation in Musicopia String Orchestra and private lessons, at little or no cost. Financial and transportation assistance of student’s daily schedule of music immersion. Musicopia will help students obtain an instrument.

Philadelphia Sinfonia: Participation in Sinfonia at little or no cost, as well as up to $2,000 of support for private lessons annually.

Philadelphia Youth OrchestraParticipation in one of PYO’s ensembles at littie or no cost. PYO will also have limited funding to assist with high-quality instrument loans from the PYO Instrument Library and instrument maintenance needs for high promise students.

Play On, Philly!: Participation in POP’s annual and summer programs at no cost. POP will also provide individual lessons to PMAY Artists to prepare them for auditions/competitions at key points during the year.

Settlement Music School: Individual lessons, music theory classes, and chamber music at a reduced cost.

Temple University Music Preparatory Division: Individual lessons and ensembles at a reduced cost.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s All-City Fellowship: Lessons with a Philadelphia Orchestra member at no cost. (Participation in School District of Philadelphia’s High School All-City Orchestra is required.)

The Primavera Fund: All the benefits of the Primavera Fund, plus audition preparation courses.

Who is eligible to audition for PMAY Artists’ Initiative?

Students from underrepresented communities currently in grades 4-11 who have already exhibited a deep commitment to and passion for the study of classical music are eligible for the program.

Teachers, students, and families should use the benchmark repertoire guide, found HERE, which is intended to indicate appropriate level by age and instrument. Students do NOT have to learn the specifically-listed pieces- rather, they should use them as a guide for deciding what audition repertoire to choose.  

Auditioning students must reside in the Philadelphia Tri-State Area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware), must be able to attend weekly lessons/rehearsals in Philadelphia, and must audition on a standard orchestral instrument:

  • Violin, viola, cello and double bass
  • Flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
  • Trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba
  • Percussion
  • Harp

If you have additional questions about auditioning for the PMAY Artists’ Initiative, please contact Najib Wong at

Is it a requirement to take individual lessons with a PMAY organization in order to participate?

No. Students who already have a private teacher may continue to take lessons with that teacher. However, certain financial supports for individual lessons may not be available to these students.

How do I apply to be part of the PMAY Artists’ Initiative?

Complete audition requirements may be found on Settlement Music School’s website at, along with a link to the audition request form.