Mission Statement: The San Antonio Symphony’s education programs strive to establish lifelong learning for all ages and segments of our diverse community by promoting the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of symphonic music.
The San Antonio Symphony has been working to bring music educational programs to the schoolchildren of Bexar County for 75 years. One important reason that the Symphony reaches out to almost 40,000 students annually is because of a vast body of new research that points to a correlation between learning in music and increased academic participation and 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, across the board. See more music education facts and statistics!
The Symphony’s core education programs include: [2014-15 information now available!]
One major part of the Symphony’s education program is our award-winning Young People’s Concert (YPC) Series. Young People’s Concerts are offered as a very affordable, educational field-trip opportunity for area elementary schools and homeschool families. Through the YPC Series, students are given the opportunity to explore the unique and intricate relationships that classical music has with the core subject areas and other disciplines. Geared towards third, fourth, and fifth grade students, Young People’s Concerts engage students with carefully planned and highly-educational programs of music and lecture, often with the addition of invited guests. Click here for YPC program information.
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. During the 2013-14 season, over 40 schools and almost 4000 students participated! In a culminating showcase of two art forms, selections from the winning entries are projected above the orchestra during the corresponding music selections at a designated Young People’s Concert during the year.
Another major component is a fun-filled Family Series of concerts on select Sunday afternoons. Family Concerts are designed for children age 4-11, but can be enjoyed by persons of all ages. Each concert program is preceded by an hour of Pre-Concert Activities for Kids, including 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.
The Symphony also offers several Open Rehearsals each season for middle, high school and college students. Students are able to witness first-hand how a professional orchestra rehearses while being exposed to masterpieces of classical music. Students also have the unique opportunity to interact with world-renowned Music Director, Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Admission is free with prior reservation for students and teachers alike. For more information, please call Jeremy Brimhall, Director of Education (210) 554-1006.
Each season, a guest artist from the Symphony’s Masterclassics Series presents an annual Russell Hill Rogers String Master Class for advanced string students of all ages. The 2014-15 Master Class will be presented by cellist Julie Albers on Saturday, November 15.
The Symphony’s Associate Conductor, Akiko Fujimoto, presents a Classical Conversation prior to all 28 Classics Series concerts. Classical Conversations offer a unique opportunity for concert-goers to ask questions and learn detailed information about the program in advance. Classical Conversations start at 7 pm; doors generally open at 6:55 pm. Symphony musicians also offer “Ask a Musician,” through which anyone attending a Classics concerts can approach musicians during intermission to ask questions related to the music or being a musician.
In addition to our many educational programs, several Symphony guest artists make visits to local schools and universities every year to work with advanced students. 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 a cornerstone of the music education system in San Antonio.
Watch a video about the educational impact Symphony bassist Steve Zeserman is making in the commmunity: