Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall: Impact Evaluation of Multiple Programs

Carnegie Hall Logo

The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall produces an extraordinary range of music education and community programs each season that extend far outside the physical walls of the concert halls. These programs reach half a million people in New York City, across the U.S., and around the globe each season. Over more than ten years, the Institute has partnered with WolfBrown consultants to perform formative and summative evaluations of many of its community-based programs, reaching people in healthcare and correctional systems, senior centers, homeless shelters, and other community settings. 

In the process, WolfBrown has developed new forms of evaluation specifically targeted to these types of programs. These include surveys to measure the impact of very short term interventions (e.g., the impact of single performances in correctional settings) to much longer term projects (year-long song writing projects in health care settings and composition projects in prisons). An innovative methodology used computer analysis of the language to measure the impact of the “Lullaby Project,” a program through which new and expectant mothers write lullabies for their babies. This evaluation work includes extensive observation, interviewing, participant surveys, and analysis of journals, recorded songs, and conversation. Program sites across the country as well as those in the New York City area have been incorporated into the evaluation.

NYO2: Analyzing the Youth Instrumentalists of NYO2 Ensemble

Team: Dennie Palmer Wolf, Steven Holochwost, Henry Clapp, Haeun Moon, and Matthew Garcia

NYO2 students being coached by faculty
Chris Lee and Carnegie Hall

NYO2 (National Youth Orchestra 2) is comprised of outstanding young instrumentalists between the ages of 14-17 from across the United States. Participating musicians attend an intensive summer training and performance program that provides opportunities to work closely with top players from American orchestras and conservatories during a residency at Purchase College, State University of New York. To ensure the continued growth and diversification of the field, NYO2 has a particular focus on recruiting musicians from communities underrepresented in classical music.

Carnegie Hall and WolfBrown received a research grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to work with the staff, applicants, and participants in NYO2 to examine the program, its outcomes, and the implications for designing pathways to excellence for diverse young musicians. More specifically, WolfBrown team members have endeavored to collect and interpret application, acceptance, persistence, and promotion data from NYO2’s past participants and applicants. This includes analysis of application data and survey data as well as conducting onsite observations with students and teachers. In speaking with students and capturing data related to their musical persistence, the study aspires to understand what incubates or stimies a career in the arts.

To learn more about NYO2, visit their website.

The complete report is available for download here.

Lullaby Project: Assessing the Impact of Lullaby Music Making in the Lives of Young Children and their Families

Team: Dennie Palmer Wolf, Emma Terrell, Kate Anderson, and Todd Henkin with graduate students at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (Molly Murphy, Estefania Ortiz Ortiz, Edith Teffey)

The Lullaby Project pairs pregnant caregivers, as well as young families, with professional artists to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies, supporting maternal health, aiding childhood development, and strengthening the bond between parent and child. In New York City, the project reaches parents in healthcare settings, homeless shelters, high schools, foster care, and correctional facilities. In Philadelphia, throughout the pandemic, the Project has experimented with the design and implementation of intimate and caring spaces for caregivers and children. WolfBrown has partnered with the project since its inception a decade ago to document the artistic and social-emotional impacts of the experience. Our work is part of an international network of participatory research and evaluation projects in which musicians, families, young children, family support organizations, and researchers are investigating the effects of music on family well-being and the growth of artists as partners in promoting families’ well-being.

The Lullaby Project offers free resources for families with babies and toddlers. Explore its collection of activities, videos, playlists, and more.

To learn more about the findings, read WolfBrown’s publications “Making a Joyful Noise: The Role of Music Making in the Well-Being of Families” and from 2017, “Lullaby: Being Together, Being Well”.

In 2016, Dennie Palmer Wolf published “Why Making Music Matters,” which shows that investing in children early is critical to healthy development and a successful future, and how music can play a role in everyday interactions that support growth.

Dennie Wolf, working with musicians and staff at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, has published a booklet for families, “Why Making Music Matters”.

Future Music Project & Musical Connections

Team: Dennie Palmer Wolf, Steven Holochwost

Future Music Project gives young musicians ages 14–19 from across New York City the opportunity to create, perform, and produce their own original music across all genres. In partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services, youth who are justice-involved create and learn about music through Future Music Project instruction, curriculum, and videos led by teaching artists. 

In 2014, WolfBrown took on an evaluation of the impact of ensemble choral music-making on young people living in one of the most uncertain and stressful environments: the juvenile justice system. The project evaluated a choral residency program from Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program and was funded through the ArtWorks program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

The complete report “Our Voices Count: The Potential Impact of Strength-Based Music Programs in Juvenile Justice Settings” is available for download here.

In 2012, WolfBrown worked with Carnegie Hall to discover what Musical Connections had learned so far in this work by: 1) examining the history and current reforms in juvenile justice; 2) reviewing the underlying research and evaluations conducted by other musical projects both in adult and juvenile corrections; and 3) harvesting and reflecting on its own musical work in juvenile justice over the last three years. 

The complete 2012 report “May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me” is available for download here.

In 2011, WolfBrown produced a review of relevant literature, including a discussion of important issues in the rapidly growing field of music and healthcare, which has become a valuable resource for organizations and individuals alike. 

Read the 2011 report on music and healthcare.