Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible to audition for PMAY Artists’ Initiative?

Students from underrepresented communities and low-income households currently in grades 5-12* who have already exhibited a deep commitment to and passion for the study of classical music are eligible for the program. Students below 5th grade are admitted on a case by case basis.

Students who are admitted or continue in the program during their junior and senior years of high school are preparing to audition for music programs at a 4-year conservatory or university.

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

  • Violin, viola, cello and double bass

  • Flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon

  • French horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba

  • Percussion

  • Harp


Who is a good match for the program?

Students who like to practice and envision a career in classical music.


How many SPOTs are there?

We aim to serve approximately 100 students.


What will be required of PMAY Artists?

Students are required to engage in a rigorous music education designed to maximize and realize student potential. This includes consistent daily practice, weekly private lessons, ensemble rehearsals, masterclasses, workshops, summer programs, attending mandatory events, solo performances and family advisements.

What is a personalized learning plan (PLP)?

The PLP is designed to create a pathway towards acceptance into a music conservatory or 4-year college for music performance. Each plan is tailored to the needs of the artist.


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 via a Personalized Learning Plan.

  • 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 Instruments for Success and Doing Good programs at no cost. Middle school-age PMAY Artists will be able to attend specific classes at no cost.

  • PMAY Artists will be able to attend Primavera Fund’s masterclasses at no cost.

  • 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. Student Advocates will help families plan for instrument purchases for college.

Additionally, PMAY Artists may receive specific opportunities from the lead member organization to which they are assigned, which will be determined during the course of auditions. However, PMAY Artists may move among member organizations over the course of their studies. Learn more about the member organizations here.


Is it a requirement to take private lessons with a PMay organization?

No. PMAY Artists may study with a private teacher who is not in our network. However, teachers must be approved by the advocating organization and certain financial supports for individual lessons may not be available to these students.


How are Artists evaluated?

Artists are required to create mid-year (Nov) and end-year videos (Apr). Artists will then have advisements in Dec and May respectively.


What is the format of the videos?

Essay Video (Continuous, no edits)

  • Introduce Artist's name, school, grade and instrument

  • "One obstacle I overcame this semester was..." or "One breakthrough I had this semester was..."

  • "A memorable moment in my lesson (or rehearsal) this semester was..."

  • "I am a step closer to ________ (my long term goal) because..."

Performance Video (Continuous, no edits)

  • Introduce Artist's name, school, grade and instrument

  • Introduce and play 2 high level scales

  • Introduce and play 2 contrasting solo pieces or etudes (approximately exposition and development)


How do I make a good video?

  • The interview and performance videos should be separate

  • Video quality should be HD (720p and above)

  • Smart phone videos with the rear facing camera are permitted

  • Use of external microphone is encouraged

  • Ensure that the video is in LANDSCAPE orientation

  • Ensure the recording device is stable. Use a tripod if possible and not handheld

  • Ensure there is enough light

  • Ensure a quiet location

  • Ensure that you are framed well in the video and that the music stand is not covering you and/or your instrument

  • Dress professionally