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Opera On Tap Receives Funding From The Renée Fleming Foundation For Playground Opera Educational Research

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Playground is Opera on Tap's collaborative, project-based learning tool prioritizing free and low cost music education in an immersive, interactive format.

Opera On Tap Receives Funding From The Renée Fleming Foundation For Playground Opera Educational Research

Opera on Tap has announced a grant received from the Renée Fleming Foundation to fund research into the effects of the Playground Opera project on the development of empathy and social-emotional learning in children.

Playground is Opera on Tap's collaborative, project-based learning tool prioritizing free and low cost music education in an immersive, interactive format. Opera on Tap is partnering with Dr. Indre Viskontas, USF neuroscientist and member of the Opera on Tap Advisory Council, to develop a study that will track improvements in emotional regulation, and other cognitive and social skills by surveying children and teachers who participate in the program.

Renée Fleming and The Renée Fleming Foundation awarded Opera on Tap a grant to begin work on the Playground Opera research project. Fleming's Sound Health initiative, which she spearheads in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, focuses on research and practice at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience. Other projects by the Renée Fleming Foundation include a partnership with the Foundation for the NIH to develop a toolkit for standardizing music & health clinical research for brain disorders of aging.


Dr. Indre Viskontas is an opera singer turned director with a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is on the faculty of both San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of San Francisco. She conducts research on the neuroscience of creativity, and is the author of How Music Can Make You Better. She has published more than 50 original papers and chapters related to the neural basis of memory and creativity, including seminal articles in top scientific journals.

Beyond passive viewing of videos, Playground Opera explores innovative approaches to real time interaction between students and teaching artists. This 'active learning' online platform allows students to interact with teaching artists and upload their own work relative to each episode's project focus. Additionally, they will see their own self-created art and video content integrated into the cumulative opera video production. Opera on Tap's curriculum can be implemented with assistance from a music teacher or a classroom teacher, and we provide our schools and educators with all the necessary support and materials.

Playground Opera offers regular, consistent music instruction by:

  • Expanding and scaling our reach into more public schools nationally, utilizing an equitable fee model that particularly supports children enrolled in Title I schools, which can receive the program free of charge.

  • Providing guides for parents and caregivers to build a deeper community involvement even through a digital, musical arts platform.

  • Contributing to research on the effectiveness of our program in particular, and music education in general, on cognitive, emotional and pro-social development in school-aged children.

Opera on Tap believes in nurturing the totality of cognitive, emotional, social, and physical factors that impact student learning, building confidence that goes far beyond the four walls of the classroom and affirming a positive sense of self and respect for the identities of others. Opera on Tap also creates opportunities for a vast array of emerging and professional artists, teaching artists, administrators, and production staff who face barriers in the traditional models of opera and arts education.

Opera on Tap enjoys expanded support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NY State Council of the Arts, Teach for America Enduring Ideas Innovation Lab, the West Harlem Development Corporation and Opera America; as well as many individuals and various family foundations including Friends of Public School Harlem, the Seth Sprague Charitable Trust, and the Lee MacCormick Edwards Foundation.


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