On A High Note

One Note, One Neighborhood: Nashville Symphony Gives Cool Vibes


When we hear about music programs in our school curriculum, most of us are guilty of putting it aside. A lot of the time, our focus is put on standard studies in schools such as reading, writing and arithmetic. Sometimes we don’t realize that the importance of including music in that list is just as crucial as the others. Nationwide, music programs are being cut from school budgets at an alarming rate to save money, but the Nashville Symphony, the W.O. Smith Music School and the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools decided to try and resolve the problem locally.

The Nashville Symphony’s mission has always been rooted in education and community involvement. They work closely with Metro Nashville Public Schools, local leaders and several local partners to implement music programs. One of their most effective joint programs is the “One Note, One Neighborhood” (ONON) program, designed to promote and support music education in Nashville public schools. This program provides music education resources for children at several public schools, including free instruments, private instruction at the W.O. Smith School and transportation to the lessons.

This program has been in effect since 2008 and is an organized approach to music education that has been one of the best in the country. Music is important to children’s learning and helps to show their potential through creativity. Research has shown that it makes a big impact on young people’s growth and the future successful lives they choose. These kinds of music programs help improve academic performance, help reduce school violence, and have shown a higher graduation rate, according to Blair Bodine, the Director of Education for the Nashville Symphony.


W.O. Smith School

Bodine explains that the Nashville Symphony wants to both inspire kids to learn about music and remove all barriers between those kids and their chosen musical pursuits. The goal is a very good one, but it is one that is expensive to deliver, given the costs associated with music lessons, instruments and transportation. So far, the hard work is paying off. They have placed many instruments into the hands of Nashville’s young people. The program has given many children the opportunity to pursue music studies, and it has introduced a love and appreciation of music to a new generation of musicians and music teachers.


Schermerhorn Symphony Center

The program was created as a result of much hard work and effort from Nashville’s musical and educational communities. The primary individuals responsible for creating this remarkable joint outreach program are Mitchell Korn, the Nashville Symphony’s former Vice President; Jonah Rabinowitz, the W.O. Smith Music School’s Executive Director; and Carol Crittenden, Metro Nashville Public Schools’ former Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator. According to Laurie Davis, the publicist for the Nashville Symphony, ONON expanded to include the 19 schools in the Pearl Cohn school cluster in 2010, in addition to the 15 schools already participating in the Stratford cluster. The Nashville Symphony is working with its partners to determine the best way to grow in the future. Davis and Bodine both agree that the program has come a long way and that the future of music education in Nashville looks very bright.


The Nashville Symphony and its remarkable outreach program have many sponsors, including Nissan North America, Inc., the Martin Foundation, Bank of America and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County. The program also receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League and the Nashville Symphony Annual Campaign. It is the Nashville Symphony’s hope to keep this admirable program going for years to come. For more information, visit www.nashvillesymphony.org or call (615) 687-6500.