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Tucson Symphony Orchestra Education Programs

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra first offered children’s concerts at the University of Arizona auditorium, preceded in the schools by talks about recordings of the music to be performed. In the 70 years since then, hundreds of thousands of children and teachers have been entertained by and benefited from TSO Music Education Programs.

In 2018 only 65% of students K–8 in Arizona had access to music education in their school. To bridge this gap, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra offers a comprehensive series of music education programs to serve Pre-K children through high school students, engaging over 40,000 students, teachers, and families across Southern Arizona each year.

TSO Education Programs include seven diverse offerings, covering a wide range of needs and topics: from concerts for elementary students that offer a very first introduction to the orchestra and materials designed for general classroom teachers that fit within state-required standards, to specialized workshops for music students to improve on their instruments and learn how to compose orchestral music—there’s something for everyone!

TSO Education Programs fall into three distinct categories: school-based programs, designed to supplement classroom learning; FREE family programs, open to all students and families with children; and student musician programs, built to encourage and grow the skills of young musicians in our community.

School-based Programs

Each school participating in our School-based Programs receives TSO curriculum materials specially designed to fit into limited class time and coordinate with required teaching standards. The purpose of these materials is firstly to provide a useful tool for general classroom teachers with simple activities and articulated standards, and secondly provide students with fun ways to interact with the music and ideas they will encounter at the spring field trips. Materials include a Teacher Guide, Activity Plans, Music Preview Tracks, and more!

Funding assistance is available for public schools across Southern Arizona through the TSO Tax Credit Program.

Learn More about Tax Credit

KinderKonzerts are 45-minute orchestra concerts utilizing a variety of classical music to illustrate how music communicates with the listener to create a mood, sense of place, characters, and action, all to tell a story engaging students in grades K–2.

Learn more about KinderKonzerts

Music in the Schools program includes three 30-minute interactive chamber ensemble performances in your school throughout the year! Performances are geared towards 3rd–5th grade students, with visits from the TSO String Quintet, TSO Wind Quintet, and TSO Brass and Percussion Ensemble. Each ensemble provides a different approach to the annual theme, introduces their instruments, and explores the structure of the music as a language, and its ability to communicate stories and emotions. In addition to the ensemble visits, schools also attend the spring Young People’s Concert.

Learn more about Music in the Schools

Young People’s Concerts brings the power of a live symphony orchestra to students grades 3–8 through 45-minute concerts at Tucson Convention Center’s Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in downtown Tucson. Students will explore orchestral music in a fun and engaging package that they’ll be sure to remember!

Learn more about Young People’s Concerts

FREE Family Offerings

Just for Kids is a fun family experience for everybody! Filled with discovery, storytelling and a front row experience, our interactive ensemble concerts entertain, engage and educate our youngest listeners. FREE for everybody with a suggested admission of $3 per person at the door. Get tickets online or by calling the TSO Box Office at (520) 882-8585. Conveniently located at 2175 North Sixth Avenue with plenty of free parking.

Learn more about Just for Kids

Student Musician Programs

Young Composers Project is a year-long course where students learn to compose for orchestra while working alongside other young composers, orchestral musicians, conductors and contemporary composers. Musicians ages 8–18 explore the creative process of composition in the classroom and out: they attend TSO dress rehearsals and concerts, meet guest artists and composers, and work with TSO musicians. As the culminating final project, in May the TSO performs their original composition and students receive a live recording of their newly created work!

Learn more about the Young Composers Project

Band and Orchestra Clinics are designed for middle and high school music programs, in which TSO ensembles work with band and orchestra directors to present a program that caters to the needs and abilities of their students.  Clinics and workshops are scheduled throughout the school year and offer a range of activities.  A typical 1.5 hour session will include a performance for the students, a question and answer session, and instruction on areas of universal need; e.g. how to warm-up, practice, play within an ensemble, tune, etc. Sessions may also include sectionals or feedback for the entire band/orchestra, at the preference of the music director.

Learn more about Band and Orchestra Clinics

For more information about TSO Education Programs, please contact education@tucsonsymphony.org.