Adventures in Music

Adventures in Music (AIM) is an interdisciplinary program that integrates live music performances and related music education experience with everyday classroom lessons in language arts, social studies and other subjects.

  • AIM 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 is divided into two developmentally age-appropriate levels:
    • AIM I is for children in grades 3, 4, and 5.
    • AIM II is for children in grades 1 and 2.
  • San Francisco’s public elementary schoolchildren receive five consecutive years of music education through the San Francisco Symphony’s AIM program.

What population does AIM serve?

  • AIM was established in 1988 by the San Francisco Symphony, 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, plus a number of San Francisco’s independent and parochial schools.
  • This year, AIM is serving more than 25,000 school children, 95 schools, and 1,160 teachers.

What are the core components of AIM?

AIM consists of:
  • A sequence of in-school music performances
  • Specially designed curriculum
  • A workbook journal for each student
  • Classroom materials for teachers and students
  • A private concert by the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall
  • Professional development for teachers and principals
  • On-going evaluation and assessment

How does AIM work?

  • In-school performances – Each student experiences a sequence of 4 in-school performances.  The ensembles of musicians are selected by the SFS Education Department.  The Education Department works with the ensembles to develop presentations based on AIM’s interdisciplinary curricular theme for the year, and trains the musicians 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, or other resources, as well as a pencil and pencil sharpener for each student.
  • 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. 


Ron Gallman
Director, Education

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