Music Education Pathways

A Music Education Pathways student rehearses for the Pathways Concert.
Changing Lives Through Arts Education

Launched in fall 2013 to expand the music training for children in schools throughout the city, Music Education Pathways is generously supported by the William Penn Foundation and serves as a model for how arts education can change lives and whole communities.

Music Education Pathways connects neighborhood schools in Philadelphia with Settlement’s Branches and, depending on the school’s needs, provides ensemble training experience in band, orchestra or choir, or supplementary individual and group instruction. Music Education Pathways will not serve as a replacement for existing music programs in the schools, rather as a partnership to enhance opportunities that are available to students.

The program promotes Creativity, Teamwork, Responsibility, Persistence, and Self-Evaluation as core values to guide teaching and learning. It also brings parents and families into the arts education environment by offering programs and performances at Settlement’s Branches. Music Education Pathways will create a network of support—from home to school to Branch—that enables students to grow in their educational, creative, and social endeavors.

Each year, the program culminates in a joint performance, with students from all participating schools working together to rehearse and perform a full concert in a major public venue.

Music Education Pathways is supported by the William Penn Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Foundation, Comcast, the Hearst Foundation, PECO, Univest, the Vert Charitable Trust, and additional individual donors. 

In the video above, students and faculty from the Music Education Pathways band program perform Starsplitter Fanfare for their 2020 virtual end of year project.
Current Partner Schools & Applications
Want more information?

For more information on Music Education Pathways, or to inquire about potential future partnerships, contact:

Karin Orenstein


Guiding Teaching

and Learning


Students Will:
  • Create and perform original compositions individually or in groups
  • Generate new interpretations that develop an existing work

  • Improvise during activities such as call and response by creating their own rhythms and melodies using specific parameters.

  • Make creative choices that inform a performance


Students Will:
  • Listen to each other and do their best to create a group sound

  • Help other students get ready to perform or pack-up

  • Support peers in rehearsal and performance

  • Lead classes and rehearsals

  • Be offered opportunities to mentor other students


Students Will:
  • Arrive on time for lessons, rehearsals, and performance, and be ready to play

  • Listen respectfully when someone is speaking or playing

  • Practice regularly

  • Take care of their instruments

  • Perform in rehearsals at their school and in public venues to value the expectations and rewards of performance


Students Will:
  • Not give up, even when it gets tough

  • Be supported by their teachers and parents to keep trying to master musical and personal challenges


Students Will:
  • Contribute to an understanding of their own goals and the aspirations of the ensemble

  • Participate in reflections about the quality of rehearsals and performances

  • Use appropriate rubrics to self-assess, which may be generated by students themselves