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SJO expands Music in the Schools program



As part of the California Arts Council’s “Artists-in-Schools” program, the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra began a yearlong pilot music program for 2nd grade students in the Fall of 2007 that has grown to include a weekly residency program for 1st grade students and an Instrumental Workshop program for 3rd Grade students. For 20010/11, over 1,300 students are receiving sequential, comprehensive music education taught by members of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. The program, funded by a seed grant from the California Arts Council, provides for weekly music classes for five public schools in the Culver City Unified School District.

SJO projects in 2011 include a pilot kindergarten program, 1st and 2nd grade residency, and 3rd grade instrumental workshops.

1) Our Artists-in-Schools program (aka “Bach to Bebop”) is designed for 2nd – 4th grade students. The 28-week program takes students through the families of the orchestra, major classical composers, blues & composition, and jazz & improvisation. This program culminates in a assembly where the participating students perform with members of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra for the whole school.

2) Our Bell Program is designed for 1st – 3rd grade students. The 14 or 28-week residency teaches the fundamentals of music (rhythm and notation) leading to the students playing small bells (glockenspiel).

3) Other programs include Instrumental Music Workshops for 3rd – 5th graders featuring string, brass, woodwind and percussion ensembles from the SJO performing – and then having the students try the instruments. The SJO is also piloting a new Kindergarten program introducing students to music theory, note reading and solfege.

The Artists-in-Schools program and Bell program are eligible for County funding for Arts for All school districts. Please visit the County’s website for additional information:

The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra is the only ensemble of its kind in the country, bringing together the worlds of jazz and classical music. The 67-member professional ensemble has performed across Southern California at such venues as Royce Hall and the Ford Amphitheatre. Through its Community Outreach Program, the orchestra has served over 13,000 young people and their families with special family and educational concerts, master classes, workshops and assemblies.

The SJO’s 1st and 2nd Grade Music Residencies are approved by the L.A. County Arts Commission, which makes them eligible for matching funds from the County.

For detailed program information, please visit:

2nd Grade Music Residency

1st Grade Music Residency

What Teachers and Principals are Saying…

“The residency was all so well planned and organized. The students all know the different instruments, different styles of music, and learned that they too can compose songs. Thanks for a marvelous program.”
D. Arancibia, La Ballona Elementary

“Having the students compose their own blues songs really gave them the opportunity to apply everything they have learned throught the year. An amazing experience!”
D. Nissim, Linwood Howe Elementary

“The residency is well paced with students mastering note values and patterning, as well as tieing into science and math. My students always look forward to their weekly music classes.”
L. Harter, Farragut Elementary

“It was so meaningful to have the SJO musicians perform for our students. The students now know the sounds that go with the instruments and how each instrument works.”
P. Sires, El Rincon Elementary

“As principal, I have had the joy of seeing the program unfold and know how invaluable this program is to our students. The residency ensures that music education and enjoyment will become an important and vital part of these children’s lives now and in the future.”
B. Brown, Farragut Elementary Principal

“We are so fortunate to have the SJO’s Artists-in-Schools program. Beyond the pure joy that the performances bring, and the music lessons that also cover history and science, we now see that the music instruction builds success in mathematics. How can you get better than that?”
R. LaBriola, Linwood Howe Principal

SJO Community Outreach Partners

UCLA’s Design for Sharing (Los Angeles)
Ford Amphitheatre (Hollywood)
Latino Arts Initiative (Los Angeles)
The World Stage (Leimert Park)
Harmony Project (Hollywood)
San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (San Gabriel)
Guadalupe Youth Center (San Fernando Valley)
Catholic Charities of Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
El Marino Elementary (Culver City)
Farragut Elementary (Culver City)
Gabriella Elementary (Los Angeles)
Garfield Elementary (Alhambra)
Hamilton High School (Los Angeles)
La Ballona Elementary (Culver City)
Linwood Howe Elementary (Culver City)
San Jose Elementary (Mission Hills)
Sierra Vista Elementary (East L.A.)
California State Summer School for the Arts (CalArts)