Music Education in San Francisco Public Schools

The San Francisco Symphony is committed to serving every neighborhood and community throughout the City by providing access to music education for all San Francisco schoolchildren. The Symphony’s longstanding partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District provides educational experiences and training to the City’s public school students throughout grades 1–12.

  • What Fisher Family Adventures in Music (AIM) Includes

    • The Adventures in Music Program includes in-school presentations by music ensembles, specially-designed classroom curriculum, classroom materials, and a visit to Davies Symphony Hall for a private concert by the San Francisco Symphony. AIM provides San Francisco’s public elementary schoolchildren five consecutive years of music education free of cost to schools. AIM is designed to support the implementation of national, state and local academic standards.
  • What population does AIM serve?

    • The San Francisco Symphony established the Adventures in Music Program in 1988 in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District
    • AIM reaches every single student in grades 1-5 in every San Francisco public elementary school, thus serving every neighborhood and touching a broad economic and cultural cross-section of the population.
    • AIM is divided into two developmentally age-appropriate levels: AIM I is for children in grades 3, 4, and 5; and AIM II is for children in grades 1 and 2.
    • AIM serves more than 20,000 school children each year.
  • What are the core components of AIM?

    • In-school performances: Each student experiences a sequence of in-school performances by professional music ensembles selected and trained by the SFS Education Department. Ensemble presentations are developed with the SFS Education department based on the AIM Program interdisciplinary curricular theme for the year, and musicians receive coaching on how to be effective in educational settings.

    • Specially-designed curriculum: Each teacher receives the AIM curriculum, which is tied to academic standards mandated at national, state, and local levels. The curriculum is implemented by the generalist classroom teacher, while specific music concepts are taught by the visiting ensembles of musicians. The curriculum is designed to support music learning in the everyday classroom.

    • A workbook journal for each student: Each student receives a workbook journal, which is tied to the ensemble performances, the curriculum, and to the classroom materials provided by AIM.

    • Classroom materials for teachers and students: Materials and resources are provided to assist teachers in implementing AIM in the classroom. These materials may include books, CDs, simple instruments, maps, and other resources, specially selected to deepen student learning.

    • A private concert by the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall: This special concert is a central component of AIM. The concert program is designed to build upon student’s in-school AIM experiences. The Symphony concert is based on AIM’s curricular theme for the year. Music and learning concepts from the concert are interwoven throughout the curriculum.

    • Professional development for teachers and principals: Through group workshops, school site meetings, and one-on-one meetings, teachers and principals gain a deeper understanding of AIM’s goals and how to ensure that their students are deriving maximum benefit from AIM.

    • On-going evaluation and assessment: AIM is universally loved by teachers and principals! Because AIM is customized to the needs of San Francisco’s public elementary schools, on-going feedback from teachers and principals is essential in ensuring AIM’s excellence in enhancing student learning.


The Symphony’s Music and Mentors program provides assistance to every instrumental music program in San Francisco’s public middle schools and high schools, grades 6–12, free of charge to schools and students.

An outgrowth of the impact of  AIM and the resulting demand in music participation, the Symphony’s Music and Mentors program provides assistance to every instrumental music program in San Francisco’s public middle schools and high schools, grades 6–12. Music and Mentors provides coaching and mentoring by professional musicians, critical supplies and instrument repairs, and opportunities to attend Symphony open rehearsals and concerts at Davies Symphony Hall, all free of charge to students and schools.

Through the Music and Mentors program, together with AIM (which serves grades 1–5), the Symphony provides music education experiences to San Francisco’s public school students throughout their elementary and secondary years, grades 1–12.

  • Professional Coaching: Professional musicians visit schools weekly throughout the year to provide specialized instruction for instrumentalists. Teaching artists specialize in string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.
  • Instrument and Musical Supplies: Music and Mentors provides much needed items such as bows, shoulder rests, reeds, mouthpieces, music stands, and sheet music. It also assists with repairs to damaged instruments and with the purchase of new instruments.
  • Symphony Tickets: Tickets to select San Francisco Symphony concerts, SFS Youth Orchestra concerts, and open rehearsals are provided free of charge.

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