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Dallas Symphony Orchestra to offer duet of technology, music education for kids

Your Thursday Morning Headlines, June 29
Your Thursday Morning Headlines, June 29 05:21

DALLAS ( - The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has announced plans for the Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center inside the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. 

It will open in Fall 2024 and serve students from first grade through high school. The center will span 3,500 square feet and provide music education to students across North Texas.

"Currently, the DSO is limited by the fact that field trips are primarily offered during the two Youth Concert weeks. The Johnson Education Center will enable us to expand the number of students we serve by nearly 50,000 each year. It was also crucial that the center is located here at the Meyerson Symphony Center. We want the students be in a space of music cultivation and learning to truly express themselves," stated Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony.

Produced in cooperation with the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, students will engage in STEAM-based learning activities that focus on dynamic music education, utilizing cutting-edge technology at the center. 

Learning programs will include orchestra conducting using virtual reality, visual and dynamic AI components of sound waves, the science behind acoustics and more. The programming is geared toward specific age levels with on-site facilitators, the tickets to visit will be complimentary for students and families and will have complementary curriculum that will increase the students' level of music appreciation.

"The earlier students experience the joy of music, the better! Partnering with the DSO to create this Center continues to fulfill Jeanne's lifelong passion of inspiring the next generation through music," said Ken Holden, board member of the Jeanne R. Johnson Foundation.  "We are delighted to be involved in a remarkable endeavor that will foster music education and appreciation for students across Dallas and North Texas."

The space will also offer interactive opportunities with live musicians alongside innovative technology, games and more, all designed to create an educational and entertaining experience. Depending on the age-level and prior musical knowledge of each group, the center will also host master classes, workshops and hands-on experiences that are tailored to each class' needs. 

"We are thrilled to work with the DSO on the new Johnson Education Center," says Tod Machover, Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab where he directs the Opera of the Future group. "Through the DSO's gift to the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, we have a wonderful opportunity to enhance music listening and understanding for everyone with the help of cutting edge technologies, while opening doors to the creative uses of AI and the potential of music to enhance physical and mental wellbeing."

Additionally, the DSO will offer all attendees a continuum of DSO experiences to follow their visit—including access to the Student Card program that offers free rush tickets and opportunities to engage with the DSO's instrument training programs. As part of each student's experience in the Johnson Education Center, they will also be invited on a backstage tour of the Meyerson Symphony Center that includes rarely seen spaces such as the organ loft and reverberation chambers. Each space of the tour will connect back to what the child learned during their visit to the center.

"The Dallas Symphony recognizes the lasting impact that music education has on children and is committed to providing the in-depth engagement that the Center will offer to the thousands of children who will visit annually, including the more than 1,000 students in Southern Dallas who take part in the DSO's free instrument training programs," said Noltemy. "The Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center has the opportunity to elevate the Meyerson Symphony Center to more than a cultural landmark, but rather a space that the next generation of the Dallasites can call their own."

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