Education is central to the mission of the San Antonio Symphony.
The San Antonio Symphony has been working to bring music educational programs to the schoolchildren of Bexar County for 70 years. One important reason that the Symphony reaches out to almost 40,000 students annually is because of the statistics collected proving a correlation between music instruction and increased academic ability. According to Americans for the Arts, students who participate in the arts for at least three hours a week for one year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. The Texas Music Educators Association has shown that students of the arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, proving a correlation between music and academics. See more music education facts and statistics!
conductor-violinist Cho-Liang Lin will teach the 2013 RHR String Master Class, photo by Paul Body
The Symphony’s 2012-2013 educational programs include:
Family Concert Series
Open Rehearsals for Students
Instrument Petting Zoo
Russell Hill Rogers String Master Class
Future Stars Competition
Paint to Music Contest
One Dollar Student Group Discount Program
Student Nutcracker Performance – November 29, 2012
Program notes and video interviews
Music education programs are facing cutbacks or outright elimination from public schools in Texas. These excisions from schools’ curricula come at a cost, since studies have shown that involvement in music programs has the lasting effect of improving overall academic achievement. Inspiring students to participate in music programs is an important step to lower San Antonio schools’ approximately 30% attrition rate. According to the San Antonio Independent School District, 92% of San Antonio public school students are economically disadvantaged, therefore keeping music programs affordable is essential. To truly stimulate students to join music programs, they need access to programs that provide them with meaningful interactions with successful musicians and exciting concerts.
As San Antonio and Bexar County’s only symphony orchestra, we address this problem by providing educational and interactive programs that introduce children to the power and joy of live orchestral music. These educational programs get students excited about participating in music programs throughout their academic and professional careers. In order to succeed in our goal, we need support from San Antonio foundations, corporations, and individuals to present the finest music to our area school children from pre-school through college.
Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all students, families, and the community through the power of live orchestral music. This season’s objective is for 40,000 students from approximately 300 public, private and home schools in the San Antonio metro area and surrounding counties to attend our many interactive and educational events. We want every child and family member to receive a deeper appreciation and understanding of music and the benefit it can have in their lives.
One major part of the Symphony’s education program is our award-winning Young People’s Concert Series. Every year, the Symphony explores the unique and intriguing relationships that classical music has with other disciplines through our YPC Series. Geared towards third, fourth, and fifth grade students, YPC concerts engage students with carefully planned and highly-educational programs of music and lecture. The interdisciplinary connection of our 2011-2012 YPC series was Reading. Through the series,Adventures of Reading in Music!, we will explored a wide-variety of topics related to reading, such as music inspired by literature and relationships between writing forms and styles and their musical counterparts. We are excited to announce the co-curricular theme for the 2012-2013 YPC Series: History and Geography. This year we will examine music from different lands and cultures and the influence it has had in history across borders and oceans. Click here for YPC program information.
We also have a fun-filled Family Series of four concerts on Sundays. Family Concerts are for children and adults of all ages. Each concert program is preceded by interactive pre-concert activities for kids, such as Meet the Maestro, musical crafts and games, and our ever-popular Instrument Petting Zoo. The Symphony mascot, Count Bassie, has also been known to make appearances at Family Concerts.
Each year, the San Antonio Symphony League sponsors a Paint-to-Music Contest for any pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students attending at least one YPC concert in the season. The purpose of the contest is to encourage children to explore the language of music and the role that classical music can play in enhancing creative expression through art. Last year, over 40 schools and over 1500 students participated in Paint-to-Music. In a culminating showcase of two art forms, selections from the winning entries are projected above the orchestra during the corresponding music selections at the last YPC and Family Concert of the year.
As part of our innovative Community Engagement Program, Symphony musicians regularly visit schools throughout Bexar County to perform and demonstrate for students as well as to work with band and orchestra members through sectionals, master classes, lessons, and coachings. Most recently, the Symphony has focused its outreach program on select high schools through our Brahms on Tour program. Through the program, the Symphony will perform several free educational concerts featuring the music at Brahms at area high schools for students during the school day, leading up to the highly-anticipated Brahms Festival in February 2013.
The Symphony also offers several open rehearsals each season for middle, high school and college students. Students are able to witness how a professional orchestra rehearses while being exposed to masterpieces of classical music. They are also given a unique opportunity to interact with our new Music Director, Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Admission is free for students and teachers alike. For more information, call Jeremy Brimhall, Director of Education (210) 554-1006.
Each season, a guest artist from the Symphony’s Masterclassics Series teaches an annual Russell Hill Rogers String Master Class for advanced high school string players. This year the master class will be taught by renowned violinist and conductor, Cho-Liang Lin.
The Symphony’s Assistant Conductor, Akiko Fujimoto, gives a Concert Preview prior to all 28 Classics Series concerts. Concert Previews offer a unique opportunity for concert-goers to ask questions and learn detailed information about the program in advance. Concert Previews start at 7 pm. Symphony musicians have also recently started offering the program Ask a Musician in which anyone attending a Classics concerts can approach musicians during intermission to ask questions about anything related to the music or being a musician.
Other educational programs offered by the Symphony include our annual Future Stars Competition for middle and high school instrumental students. Winners receive scholarship awards from the Symphony League, and the grand prize winner performs with the Symphony on a Family Concert program. The Symphony PRO-AM gives adult amateurs an opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with Symphony professionals.
Our Student Group Discount Program allows students entry into any Friday and select Saturday Classics performances for only $1! One chaperone for every 20 students also receives a $1 ticket. Individual student tickets to all 28 Classics and 12 Pops subscription concerts are only $8! This offer is also available to college students with a student ID.
In addition to our many educational programs, several Symphony guest artists make visits to schools every year to talk to students about music. Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing is also actively involved with schools, as well as programs aimed at adults.
Symphony musicians and small ensembles also visit nursing homes, hospitals and other locations to perform and talk to those who can not attend our concerts. One of the most powerful ways the Symphony influences music education in our community is by bringing our talented musicians to San Antonio. Many of our musicians teach privately, coach in area middle and elementary schools and serve on the faculty of local colleges. The Symphony musicians as a whole form one of the cornerstones of the music education system in San Antonio.