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!
Symphony violist Wanda Lydon poses with students from Schenck Elementary before a Young People’s Concert
The Symphony’s core education programs include: 2013-14 information now available!
Watch a video about the educational impact Symphony bassist Steve Zeserman is making in the commmunity:
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 2012-2013 YPC series was Social Studies. Through the series,History & Geography, students discovered music from different time periods and regions of the world while examining the cultural influences they drew upon and their impact in history. We are excited to announce the co-curricular theme for the 2013-2014 YPC Series: The Scientific Symphony. Among the concepts to be covered this year, students will explore the physics of sound through important symphonic music and relationships between sound and motion. Click here for YPC program information.
We also have a fun-filled Family Series of three concerts on 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.
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 2012-13 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.
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. The program will continue into the 2013-14 season as Dvořák on Tour, featuring several free-admission, educational performances at area high schools for students during the school day, leading up to the city-wide Dvořák Festival in January 2014.
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. 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, 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 2012-13 master class was given by renowned violinist and conductor, Cho-Liang Lin.
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 have also offer the Ask a Musician program 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 Symphony PRO-AM event, open to all members of the community. The PRO-AM gives adult amateurs a unique 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 each! 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 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.