California Symphony has measured impressive results from its instrumental education program, Sound Minds. Children enrolled in the El Sistema inspired program have quadrupled proficiency rates in math, doubled proficiency rates in reading, and outscore their peers in standardized testing by as much as 67%.
Of course, an important but immeasurable benefit is developing a love and appreciation for music. Sound Minds offers instruction in violin and cello, as well as fundamentals such as music theory. The program is made up of students from a mostly Spanish-speaking population; 120 children in grades two through six are currently enrolled. Sound Minds was awarded a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts this year.
California Symphony also announced that it achieved a balanced budget for its 2017 fiscal year, thanks in part to quadrupling its donor base in recent seasons. California Symphony musicians are members of Local 6 (San Francisco, CA).