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, nearly 8,000 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 HS
In the 2018-2019 school year, over 2,500 students are served in or after school by MUSE. Across 21 public schools in the Oakland Unified School District, these 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.
The MUSE after-school program has multiple components: The MUSE Orchestra, open and free to all students in Oakland Public Elementary Schools, provides students with a weekly activity that encourages teamwork and provides a sense of accomplishment. The MUSE Orchestra teaches 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.
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.
Every year, students at schools throughout the East Bay receive School Visits from Maestro Michael Morgan, musicians from the Symphony, or members of the MUSE and MUSE VIVO orchestras to excite them about music and playing an instrument. Middle and high school students also participate in Master Classes to further their knowledge of music theory and ensemble performance, while younger students receive visits and mini performances from Symphony musicians, and attend concerts performed by their peers in the MUSE Orchestras. To request a school visit by Maestro Michael Morgan and/or Symphony musicians click here.
MUSE In Action
“This is the Way that We Open the Door”
Classical KDFC rolls out the new Playground Pop-Up concert series, featuring top-notch performers from the Oakland Symphony in the informal setting of a public elementary school playground.
“I Can’t Live Without Music”
Michael Morgan, Oakland Unified School Districts teachers, a student and his parent describe how the music making of MUSE influences our community.