Mission & History

About Us

Play On, Philly! (POP) is an innovative education and social initiative that provides opportunities for personal development to children through the study of music. Inspired by the social development and music education program of Venezuela called El Sistema, POP seeks to enrich the lives of Philadelphia youth by providing daily musical instruction in communities that have little access to music education.

Established in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, POP started with 110 youth, ages six to thirteen, with the goal of making a significant and sustaining impact on their lives. In 2012, POP established its second site at Freire Charter Middle School expanding its reach to 250 students. In fall of 2015, we added our POP Academy program which welcomes high schoolers from across Philadelphia. By expanding gradually, the program is able to stay flexible to curriculum adjustments and responsive to community needs. We strive to engage the entire community through partnerships, community events, and a season of thirty performances in venues across the Philadelphia region.


Play On, Philly! fosters life skills among its participants by providing high-quality music education to children who would otherwise not receive it.


  • Developing goal-directed behavior and skills that increase academic and social success
  • Improving self-esteem and self-perception so that students can achieve their full potential
  • Increasing academic motivation, achievement and school attendance
  • Imparting musical knowledge and performing skills at a high level


Play On, Philly! (POP) provides intensive music education to K-12 students, who would typically lack access, as a vehicle for life skills and academic achievement

For 2½ hours every day, students enjoy instrument instruction and ensemble practice completely tuition-free