Through a partnership with the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra operates a unique arts collaboration at the University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn campus, serving students in grades 6-12. By engaging with musicians and teaching artists, students establish the foundation for lifelong participation in civic and cultural life.
Program activity is designed to expand and support students' musical lives and offer hands-on opportunities, both in the classroom and off-site, for students to actively participate in musical activities, encouraging self-discovery, reflection and growth. Students participate in special classroom and afterschool workshop opportunities that engage them directly in learning with guidance from musicians of the Civic Orchestra and teaching artists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. They also benefit from in-school ensemble concerts, coaching sessions and field trips to concerts at Orchestra Hall; teachers and family members are invited to concert opportunities as well. In a hallmark project of the partnership, students participate in an elective course that pairs student creative writing and poetry with live music, selected through a unique collaborative process with musicians of the Civic Orchestra.
In spring 2012, student representatives from each grade at the school collaborated with a CSO teaching artist to create lyrics for and compose a new school song, "Warrior Spirit."