Students who study music fare better in math and English

MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra begins second season

(Courtesy of MNYO Facebook)

There’s proven research that music education translates to direct success in the classroom. MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra (MNYO), a program through MacPhail Center for Music, provides students in North Minneapolis (many from Ascension School and Harvest Prep) the opportunity to perform as a full orchestra, but it also uses music to deliver a real educational impact.

Imagine starting a youth orchestra in North Minneapolis with just five students. Within weeks, 20 had joined. By the end of the season, 27 middle and high school students from the North Side were playing in a full orchestra, and they sounded like this!

That’s the story of the MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra (MNYO). Now entering its second season, MNYO is a full orchestra program led by MacPhail Center for Music teaching artists in North Minneapolis.

Building off of decades of MacPhail school partnerships in North Minneapolis (including our first partnership, Ascension School in 1989, and a partnership with the Harvest Network of Schools in 2013), MNYO provides middle and high school students from the North Side the opportunity to practice as a full orchestra.

MNYO is built upon longstanding school partnerships with MacPhail Center for Music at Ascension Catholic School and Harvest Prep, started largely as a request to fill the need for more programming outside of school time. The program is part of a larger plan to continue providing music education in North Minneapolis as a way to close the achievement gap.

Studies show that students who study music score 20 percent higher in math and 22 percent higher in English than their peers. Music is helping to close the achievement gap — and MNYO is helping close the gap on the North Side.

As MYNO teaching artist and North Minneapolis native L.A. Bucker says, “The only real impact you can make is one student at a time. That’s the most truthful impact any teaching artist, any educator, any administrator can make. When a kid figures something out, when they say, ‘Oh, I get it!,’ or if I find out we have something in common or we share opinions musically, I know I am making an impact. Music is the vehicle for the actual impact.”


For more information about MNYO, go to, call 612-767-5325 or email


Information provided by MacPhail Center for Music