In partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the BSO’s OrchLab program works to enrich the instrumental music curriculum, enhance student performance skills and offer professional development to school music educators.  The OrchLab program is delivered at no cost at selected elementary, middle and high schools serving high numbers of students in poverty.

BSO musicians mentor student groups, leading sectionals and full orchestra rehearsals in a residency program at these schools, for a total approaching 100 visits per year: 

“Fourth grade students at Highland Elementary School have had the privilege of working with musicians from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in their OrchLab program. Each spring, a team of musicians from the BSO works directly with our fourth grade students as they perform musical selections alongside them with recorders…Working in a school where nearly 80% of our students are living in poverty, opportunities like these are priceless. I can say, unequivocally, that working with the BSO is something all of our students look forward to as they approach the fourth grade…For all we know, the next Yo-Yo Ma could be sitting out in that audience, and this program could, literally, be the spark that lights their musical fire. Now, that’s exciting!” — Scott Steffan, Principal, Highland Elementary School (Silver Spring, MD)

Middle/High Schools

During nearly 70 visits during the year by BSO musicians leading sectionals and full orchestras at these schools:
A. Mario Loiederman
Earle Wood
Francis Scott Key
Gaithersburg High
John F. Kennedy High
Odessa Shannon
Shady Grove
Springbrook High

Elementary Schools

Residency of five visits by a BSO woodwind trio:

  • Culminating in a side-by-side performance
  • BSO members coach 4th and 5th graders playing recorder
  • Original composition commissioned for this program by BSO musician Jonathan Jensen

Selected schools include:
Washington Grove

Free BSO Concerts for Participating Students

In addition to the in-school Orchlab residency, all participating Orchlab students are invited to attend a BSO concert at Strathmore, often with the opportunity to “meet and greet” their respective BSO mentors at intermission. Tickets are provided free of charge; transportation provided by MCPS.