Teaching Artist Spotlight: Emily Cooley

Meet Emily Cooley, a local composer and Teaching Artist (TA) for Instruments for Success! Read about how she got involved with Project 440 and what she has taken away from being a TA.


Q: How did you get involved with Project 440, and what drew you to this organization? 

I first heard about Project 440 when I was a student at Curtis. I think the organization has a very unique role in Philly’s music scene - I love that Project 440 builds connections between young musicians and the larger community. 

Q: What is your favorite part of being a Teaching Artist (TA)?

I like hearing about students’ interests and goals. There are so many different paths our students want to explore, both in college and beyond. It’s inspiring to meet students who have very specific goals, but I also relate to those who aren’t quite sure what they want to do, because that was me in high school.

Q: Like most of the Project 440 staff, you wear many hats outside of your work as a TA. Can you speak about what other projects/ensembles/organizations you are involved with outside of Project 440?

I’m a freelance composer, and I teach a lot of private composition and piano students in the Philly area. I also help run a concert series in New York called Kettle Corn New Music. 


Q: You are a working professional, but is there anything that you learned while being a TA for Instruments for Success?   

Where you go to college doesn’t determine your future success! I don’t think I ever got that message when I was in high school.

Q: If you could give any advice to your high school self with regards to college applications and career choices, what would it be?

Probably to leave my options open and always take time to reflect on both my past choices and potential future interests. That’s something I’m trying to do now as well.