Project 440 is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that is dedicated to empowering young people through music education. They host “Doing Good,” an after-school program with a mission to teach high school students how to turn their love of music into a platform for community service and entrepreneurship.
The organization was founded in 2010 by Joseph Conyers, assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Conyers noticed that many young people in Philadelphia lacked access to quality music education, and he wanted to do something to change that. He also saw an opportunity to use music and entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change and community service.
Through Project 440’s Doing Good, students learn skills such as event planning, marketing, and fundraising, while also developing their musical talents to benefit their communities. They work in teams to develop projects— such as concerts, music festivals, and workshops— using a business model to foster connectivity in their communities.
Young musicians turn their ideas into organizations during the project duration. Organizations like Center City Chamber Orchestra and Generation Music were born out of Project 440’s Doing Good program and even continue today.
Two of the instructors who currently guide the students in Project 440’s are Nozomi Imamura and Hanul Park. Imamura is a professional trumpeter and Park is a professional oboist. Both work for the School District of Philadelphia and other musical organizations. They provide guidance and support as the students develop their ideas and bring them to fruition.
“This is a project that I wished I had access to in high school. I didn’t know there was such a way to engage with my community through my passions by teaching students how to use their talents to impact others in positive ways,” says Imamura. “I feel privileged to work with this talented group of students on a weekly basis and see them create something special and beautiful.”
“I have always played ensemble with orchestra and never thought of being able to use my music skills in order to help solve a problem in my community. I found really great friends in this organization and I know I will use these skills in my life,” adds Hui Min Chen, a current Project 440 Doing Good student.
Project 440 is helping to foster a new generation of musical entrepreneurs and community leaders using music. By teaching students how to use their musical talents to make a positive impact, they are empowering them to create a better future for themselves and their communities.