What is a Docent?

Simply put a docent is a teacher. Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association docents not only teach, but also inspire and encourage Dayton area students to become future audience members. DPVA docents insure that students attending Young People’s Concerts are well informed about the music they will hear at the concerts and are knowledgeable about the concert setting. This dedicated group of volunteers travel to each school attending the concert to present student- friendly lively previews of the performance. Once the actual concert day arrives they are present to greet students, help usher them to their seats, and wave a friendly goodbye as they exit.

Yet another important and unique docent effort is the “Orchestra and You” program for area second graders. This entire program was created by the DPVA docents and is a hands-on first introduction to the orchestra utilizing life-size Lucite model instruments. This program has consistently earned the DPVA docent program recognition and awards at the national conference of the American Symphony Orchestra League.

If you are interested in becoming a docent, please contact Ard Crum at or fill out the convenient form at the bottom of this page.

Docent Education

Docent Training is held several times each year. At these sessions, Docents participate in a very informative discussion with Dayton Philharmonic Conductors Neal Gittleman or Patrick Reynolds. They also receive instruction in the various programs that we present to school children.

If you are interested in becoming a docent, please contact Ard Crum at


  • 2020-2021 date to be announced in the spring.

Seminars begin at 9:00 am and are held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 33 W. Dixon Ave, Oakwood.

Young People’s Concert Previews


Using a National Award-Winning PowerPoint presentation, volunteers visit classrooms to preview the music the students will hear at a Young People’s Concert given by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Schuster Center twice a year.  DPVA Volunteers also provide usher support prior to the concert.  These concert opportunities not only introduce the students to the wondrous sounds of a live orchestra, but also relate music to students’ personal experiences and to classroom curriculum.

The making of music is science, the composing and performing of music is both creative and mathematical, music is at the very core of various cultures, and the connections to literature and drama are evident in many compositions.

Students will come away from these concerts with an understanding of the importance of music in their lives and with an appreciation for many different sounds and styles of music. Who knows how many of these young audience members will become future music teachers, conductors, performers, or appreciative audience members?


Young People’s Concert Preview Volunteer Schedule


Q the Music

The Dayton Philharmonic Q the Music is a daily, tuition-free, after-school orchestra program available to Grades 3-5 at Ruskin Elementary School. The program supports the musical, academic, and social growth of at-promise youth. Based on El Sistema’s approach to music education, Q the Music emphasizes intensive ensemble participation, group learning, peer teaching and a commitment to keeping the joy and fun of music learning and music-making ever-present. Our DPVA Volunteers provide support for the teachers and students, everyday after school from 2:00 – 5:00.

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The Orchestra and You

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Orchestra & You is a National Award-Winning Program, created by the DPVA education volunteers, to introduce second grade children to the wonders of the orchestra.  We know they’d rather run and jump all over the concert hall, but we think we’ve got a compromise: get these kids physically involved with music. They become the orchestra. They watch for direction, and they play Plexiglas instruments. This audiovisual introduction to the symphony orchestra is perfect preparation for attending a live orchestra performance.

To participate in this fun program, please contact Ard Crum at


Orchestra and You Program Schedule