Unleash Rhythm, Empower Leadership:
Dance and Music Transforming Lives

Music PathwayDance & Drama PathwayLeadership Workshops
ExpectationsHow to Apply

Neighborhood Music School’s Developing and Empowering Leadership Through the Arts (DELTA) Program provides New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) students in grades 6-12 a tuition-free opportunity to foster their artistic expression, grow their leadership skills, build community, and develop life skills that support success in school and beyond.

DELTA is open to NHPS students in grades 6-12 who have a household family income of $75,000 or less, and who have an interest in the performing arts. Students apply by submitting an application and a Poof of Self Investment; no auditions are required.

Students are accepted into the DELTA Music Pathway or the DELTA Dance & Drama Pathway. All DELTA Students receive a highly engaging performing arts education, as well as arts-based leadership training, at Neighborhood Music School (NMS) at no cost.

Students benefit from their participation in DELTA, and so do their schools. DELTA Students bring the artistic and leadership skills they learn at DELTA into their NHPS classrooms every week, supporting the work of teachers throughout New Haven.

It is our hope that we will not only learn from the varied skills and interests of DELTA students but provide them with enriching experiences while gaining a deeper understanding of their unique identities and communities. We are here to support DELTA students as they move forward in their artistic journeys.

The Five Pillars of DELTA

The five pillars of DELTA are:

  • Personal Development
  • Leadership
  • Artistic Achievement
  • School and Career Success
  • Building Community

Personal Development:
By design, throughout all program activities DELTA students develop their self-confidence, self-worth, emotional intelligence, communication skills, time management skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Three arts-based leadership workshops each year help students cultivate their leadership skills. Students practice their skills via real-world projects, including community service and a collaborative artistic project.

Artistic Achievement:
Through highly engaging, culturally relevant and sustaining music, dance, and drama education, students achieve a high level of technical skill and artistry in their artistic discipline.

School and Career Success:
By applying the lessons learned through their development as leaders and artists, students deepen their commitment to their education in NHPS middle schools, high schools, and beyond.

Building Community:
Through program partnerships with New Haven Public Schools, New Haven Promise, Yale’s Music in Schools Initiative, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, ACES Educational Center for the Arts, and Yale Dance, DELTA students build community ties throughout the New Haven educational and artistic communities.

Music Pathway

Students accepted into the Music Pathway receive a weekly 30-minute individual lesson on their instrument throughout the NMS academic year, which runs for 34 weeks. Students also participate in weekly music ensemble rehearsals. Students perform in recitals and concerts throughout the year.

DELTA Music Students who successfully fulfill all of the DELTA requirements in their first year are eligible for weekly 45-minute individual lessons in their second year and beyond. Students continue to participate in a music ensemble every year.

Additionally, Music Students are eligible to receive up to six weekly lessons in the summer and/or to participate in NMS’s Summer Jazz Program and/or Audubon Arts Summer Program. Summer program participation is optional.

Dance & Drama Pathway

In their first year, students accepted into the Dance & Drama Pathway may enroll in up to two Dance and/or Drama classes that meet weekly throughout the academic year. Students in all classes participate in year-end performances.

DELTA Dance & Drama Students who successfully fulfill all of the DELTA requirements in their first year are eligible to enroll in additional weekly classes in subsequent years.

Students are eligible to enroll in Dance classes during our six-week Summer Session. Enrollment in the summer term is optional.

Additionally, Dance & Drama Students are eligible to participate in NMS’s Audubon Arts Summer Program. Summer program participation is optional.

Leadership Workshops

DELTA Students in both the Music Pathway and the Dance & Drama Pathway come together throughout the academic year for arts-based leadership training. Students participate in three hands-on leadership workshops that enable them to explore project-based leadership skills in a variety of settings, including through community service and in the creation of a collaborative work of art. Guest artists from the New Haven community and beyond who serve as leaders in the arts, meet with the students for wide-ranging conversations about leadership, goal-setting, and career planning.


During each academic year, DELTA Students are expected to:

  • Regularly attend and actively participate in weekly lessons, classes, and ensembles;
  • Attend the fall DELTA Program orientation;
  • Attend the three leadership workshops;
  • Attend the year-end celebration;
  • Participate in all scheduled performances.

To Apply

To qualify for DELTA, students must:

To apply to DELTA, students/families are asked to:

Proof of Personal Investment
The proof of personal investment is an opportunity for you to share your interest in the arts and for us to learn a little more about you. We want to know what dance or music means to you and understand why you are interested in DELTA. It can be submitted in one of three ways:

  1. Short video of your personal statement
  2. Written personal statement 
  3. Share an artistic piece (song, dance or monologue)


Each subsequent year, students/families are asked to:

Please contact DELTA Program Coordinator Briana Louis at or 203-624-5189, extension 32, for more information.