Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Implementation Plan for Detroit Harmony

Image of children standing together dressed in winter coats

Team: Alan Brown, Erin Gold

Building on an initial phase of planning work completed by WolfBrown in 2018, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra commissioned WolfBrown again in 2020 to support a second phase of planning work for Detroit Harmony, a citywide music education initiative, culminating in an Implementation Plan. The work involved:

  • Supporting regular meetings of the various Detroit Harmony leadership committees.
  • Interviews with music educators, music production experts, representatives of community partners, and others.
  • Researching music programs in charter schools.
  • Laying the groundwork for mapping analyses that will inform decisions on program priorities.
  • Conducting a Field Scan of instrument programs and interviewing instrument repair experts.
  • Meeting with community leaders in the Creative Youth Development space.
  • Preparing and facilitating a summit meeting on November 5, 2021 to introduce the Detroit Harmony Implementation Plan to stakeholders, including national experts.
  • Preparing and vetting the Implementation Plan, including budgets and philanthropic strategy.

Mission and Vision

Detroit Harmony will provide every student in Detroit with access to music education and arts-based learning.

Detroit Harmony is envisioned as a collective impact enterprise, with many stakeholders working towards the same vision:

  • We envision tens of thousands of students engaging with music-making and growing an interest in music that enriches their lives and contributes to a positive self-identity.
  • We envision thriving systems of music instruction across Detroit, in schools, after-school, and in the community.
  • We envision a community that actively supports students in their enjoyment and pursuit of music-making.
  • We envision a growing number of teaching artists and other Detroiters finding regular work in arts education and instrument repair
  • We envision a city where music is in the very DNA of civic life.

Detroit Harmony is being built through a citywide collaboration with music educators, performing artists, Detroit residents, civic leaders, and nonprofit music education providers. The initiative will be intentionally structured to strengthen Detroit’s music education opportunities for every child. It also bolsters economic and workforce development in the city, including bringing new jobs to teaching artists, transportation providers, and skilled tradespeople to restore and bring life back to used instruments, as well as job training and professional development resources for workers.