Adventures in Music

Adventures in Music (AIM) is an interdisciplinary program that integrates live music performances and related music education experiences with everyday classroom lessons in language arts, social studies and other subjects. The most comprehensive music education program of its kind of any American symphony orchestra, AIM celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017–18.

  • 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 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 AIM 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 25,000 school children each year.

Students in a class room

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 AIM’s 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.

An AIM workbook

  • 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.


Ron Gallman
Director, Education

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