Sonic Spark Ensembles

ACO Sonic Spark Ensembles

Engages students with active music-making, whether through song, percussion or other instruments. It is a school-based program, customized to enhance and magnify the educational and social objectives of your school and taught by a dedicated team of accomplished professional Teaching Artists. 


  • All Sonic Spark Ensembles give culminating performances once per semester
  • All ACO programming features regular guest artist visits and/or access to broader ACO activities.
  • Classes are skills-based & sequential 
  • Students learn to play instruments or improve their musical skills over time, with an emphasis on developing transferable skills that will positively impact a student’s success in all areas.


  • 4th-12th grades including special needs classes
  • In-school classroom setting OR after-school programs
  • Out of school time programs such as independent arts organizations
  • Organizations serving NYC youth

Where & When?

  • For Schools & Organizations, can be implemented on a full year or semester basis.
  • Sonic Spark Ensembles can be used as a stand-alone program, or in coordination with other programs or classes.
  • When used as a stand-alone program, because we’re developing skills, we encourage scheduling 2 visits per week, and no less than a semester, with a preference for maintaining the program on an ongoing basis

Recent & Ongoing Programs

A few examples of recent Sonic Spark Ensembles programs:

  • IS 229 (Bronx) – twice weekly ongoing percussion ensembles, 6th-8th grades, over the past 10 years
  • Computer School (Manhattan) – Percussion Ensemble and Vocal Ensemble, alternating semesters for all 6th graders over the past 3 years
  • Hamilton High School (Brooklyn) – bi-weekly Sectional Lessons as corollary to band and orchestra over the past 5 years
  • Achievement First Bushwick Middle School (Brooklyn) – twice weekly ongoing after school percussion ensemble and strings ensemble over the past 6 years
  • Booker T Washington Middle School (Manhattan) – 6 week ensemble residencies focused on improvisation


To find out how Sonic Spark Ensembles can magnify your community’s goals and prepare your students for greater success, contact Kevin James, Education Director: 212.977.8495 ext 202; or

Our Mission & Vision

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.

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