About MUSE

The Symphony’s MUSE Program is a multi-component music education and enrichment initiative that serves young people at public schools and community sites throughout Oakland. By providing these programs free to participants, the Symphony ensures that each year thousands of young people have access to a variety of music education and enrichment activities, regardless of their economic situation.

“The MUSE program is a lifeline in difficult times. It’s not just a token – it’s keeping the music program afloat in Oakland. It’s the tipping point between success and failure.”

~Ted Allen, former Instrumental Director, Skyline and Oakland Technical HS

March 2020 marked the onset of distant learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All engagement visits and teaching artists adapted their work with students into an on-line format which will continue to inspire students as we continue our partnership with OUSD into 2020-21. MUSE will be there for our community as our programs continue to captivate and excite the students about music, encouraging a lifelong passion for the art of sound.

MUSE Lifelong Enrichment 

Harmonies from Home

Music moves us through our mind, body, and soul while connecting us with our communities, even while we are at home.

For us at the Oakland Symphony, home is where you find music. Welcome into our homes for a musical ray of light into our instruments. We aim to Engage, Inspire, and Instruct and we hope these videos will help forge more pathways to spark curiosity about musical instruments for students of all ages. We are forever committed to perpetuating a community full of lifetime learners.

For us at the Oakland Symphony, music is where our HOME is. Welcome into our homes for a musical ray of light into how to play with some tips from our MUSE Teaching Artists. Click Here

Lifelong Enrichment

Hello lifetime learners! Are you moved and motivated by music? NOW is a great time to reach for your instrument, perhaps the one you have not played in years. You may have the time to revisit an instrument or create a relationship with a new instrument you have always wanted to play. Or maybe you know a child who wants to play an instrument? Click here to read more about private lessons with the many teaching artists from your Oakland Symphony and MUSE program.

MUSE Programs 

Over 2,500 students are served through our “In” and “After” school by MUSE. Across the Oakland Unified School District students work with professional musician mentors from the Symphony as part of the In-School Mentor and After School programs.

In-School Mentor Program

Mentors lead small group coaching and private instruction to improve students’ technique, interpretation, ensemble skills, and repertoire comprehension. Over 400 students per year receive specialized instrumental instruction on a one‐on‐one basis in a school district where music teachers are each responsible for teaching classes of up to 60 students.

After-School Program

The MUSE after-school programs are free to all and offer multiple components:

MUSE Saturday Strings is a new partnership with Harmony Project.  These Saturday sessions are open to 5th thru 7th grade string students in Oakland Public Schools and will be located at a site in East Oakland. These musical sessions will provide students with a weekly activity that encourages teamwork and provides a sense of accomplishment while teaching basic ensemble skills, such as intonation and rhythm, with the goal of providing students the experience of performing as part of an orchestra at several concerts throughout the school year.

Please inquire about Saturday Strings with Suzanna Sitomer, sitomer@harmonyprojectsf.org

MUSE Stringendo is our after-school program aimed at beginning elementary string players in selected school locations throughout Oakland.  These after-school sessions are offered as a fun weekly string instrument experience to engage and create enthusiasm for music.  Please inquire about elementary MUSE Stringendo with Marielle Allen mallen@oaklandsymphony.org.

Oakland Spirit Orchestra
Alison Balano, Founding Director
Tarika Lewis, Co-Director
Michelle Jordan, Choral Director
EW Wainwright, Percussion Mentor

Oakland Spirit Orchestra is a multi-cultural performing arts ensemble composed of people of all walks of life. OSO features musicians, singers, and artists of all ages, from the neurodivergent to the neurotypical, and everyone in between.

Oakland Spirit Orchestra was founded in 2011 and has held fast to its mission of uplifting the spirits of the world with joyful music, kindness and community service. This joyful ensemble springs from the blending of communities coming together to celebrate the spirit of life!

Please inquire about Oakland Spirit Orchestra with Alison Balano,  alisonccc@att.net

Click here to view MUSE In Action.

The MUSE VIVO Orchestra was launched in January 2013 for middle school students advancing out of the MUSE Orchestra. MUSE VIVO is open to Oakland students in grades 7 – 12 and provides a deeper level of music practice and performance. Sixteen to 20 practice sessions over the course of five months provide orchestral experience and instruction above and beyond their MUSE Orchestra training. The MUSE VIVO Orchestra performs in several concerts as an independent orchestra, as well as alongside the MUSE Orchestra.

MUSE VIVO Registration

Click here to view MUSE VIVO In Action.