This study investigated the Education Department of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LAPA) and its education programs. Document analysis, interviews, site observations, and a “Student Concert Enjoyment” survey were conducted to research the details, design, implementation, and outcome of the programs. Program participants’ letters and teacher feedback were analyzed to understand participants’ opinions regarding the education programs. Cost-utility analysis for the Symphonies for Schools program (SFS) and the School Partners Program was performed to calculate the ratios between program expense and produced utility.
Results indicate that, with the support of the various departments at the LAPA, the LAPA’s volunteer committees, musicians, partners, and contracted experts, the Education Department attempt to fulfill the objective of the LAPA’s mission by offering a wide array of engaging educational opportunities to adults, students, educators, and families. Collaboration with other arts organizations in the Los Angeles area diversifies the program types and reaches new audiences. Through practical experience, the Education Department has learned that adults are less inclined to attend more academic program. This study has also confirmed the importance of pre-concert preparation for students’ positive concert experiences. The newest and most extensive program, the highly praised School Partners Program, offers educators and parents practical workshops to encourage shared responsibility in the task of music education; however, participants identified a need for better communication among artist teachers, schools, and the Education Department. The results of cost-utility analysis indicate that the intensive design of the School Partners Program is less cost-effective than the one-time SFS program, which takes place in a much larger setting. Although this result is important, decision makers must also carefully consider other organizational, political, and resource consequences.
This study’s conclusions indicate that an articulated educational mission will facilitate the Education Department’s internal program development, management, and evaluation; inter departmental collaboration; and external communication. The pedagogic effects of the programs will also increase with the adoption of a multi-year curriculum and a long-term programming plan. Concurrently, the LAPA must plan future programs based on the state of arts education in the community.