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Carnegie Hall’s PlayUSA

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Carnegie Hall’s PlayUSA supports community partner organizations across the country that offer equitable instrumental music education programs to K–12 students, including those whose opportunities to engage in instrumental music instruction are limited by socioeconomic, geographic, or other factors. These organizations receive funding, as well as training and professional development for teachers and arts administrators, in addition to guidance from Carnegie Hall staff to help address challenges and develop best practices. 

The primary objectives of PlayUSA grants and support are to 

  • reduce the barriers to entry in music learning and performance for students lacking access to high-level instruction 
  • make a transformative investment in the creativity and human development of youth 
  • engage in partnerships with grantees which increase the organizational capacity, effectiveness, and impact of socially motivated instrumental instruction 

In advancing these objectives, PlayUSA seeks to support the creation and meaningful expansion of programs which 

  • provide sustained high-quality music instruction in private, small group, or ensemble settings to a diverse pool of students 
  • place musical instruments in the hands of young people with limited access by subsidizing instrument rental, purchase, and repair 

PlayUSA partnership includes 

  • professional development for program staff and music educators who work directly with young musicians 
  • webinars with the PlayUSA community that address common challenges and shared inquiries 
  • an intervisitation opportunity for lead teachers and administrators to view a PlayUSA grantee’s program in the context of their community, as selected by Carnegie Hall 
  • regular consultations with Carnegie Hall staff and WolfBrown to manage organizational challenges commonly found in teaching practice 
  • travel and accommodations for the annual PlayUSA convening in New York City 

PlayUSA funding may pay for items including

  • teaching and professional fees for private, small group, or ensemble music instruction (this should account for the greatest cost) 
  • purchase or rental of musical instruments, in addition to costs associated for repair 
  • space rental for classes 
  • classroom materials 
  • program staffing 
  • other associated programmatic costs (General administration costs or organizational overhead may not exceed 15% of grant amount.) 

We encourage your organization to fill out this application alongside teaching artists and project administrators. We suggest that those answering questions on teaching practice be closest to the direct service work with young musicians.

The PlayUSA Team


For applications to other Carnegie Hall programs, see these other Acceptd pages: 

Weill Music Institute

Ensemble Connect

National Youth Ensembles

  • National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA)
  • NYO2
  • NYO Jazz
NeON Arts

For technical questions, please visit the Acceptd Help Desk.