Music In The Schools


Educating our communities’ children is a primary focus of the Minnesota Sinfonia. Music in the Schools (MIS) was created during our inaugural season of 1989, and pre-Covid we worked with 18-20 schools and 9,000-10,000 students every year. Since the program began, more than 150,000 Minnesota students have participated!

The success of MIS are best summarized from anonymous teacher survey stastics:

  • 99% believe MIS is a valuable and much-needed part of their schools’ arts programming
  • 95% say MIS better engages students in classroom learning
  • 88% will continue to use music in their classrooms as a teaching aid

View the Music in the Schools video below to learn about this exciting educational program.


Minnesota Sinfonia Music in the Schools programs are based on Minnesota state academic standards. The curricula were developed by the Minnesota Sinfonia with input from local teachers, and focus on a different core academic subject each year. Past programs include:

  • SCIENCE: “Water – One of Our Most Precious Resources”
    Ludwig van Beethoven’s “thunder storm scene” from his Sixth Symphony, and other great masterworks by Handel, Chopin and Dvorak excite young students in learning about water—some schools even built model water purification systems!
  • LITERATURE: “Music Tells A Story”
    Students study and see great literature come to life through the music of Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and other famous composers.
  • HISTORY: “History as Seen Through Music”
    From the American revolution through the Civil War and into the 20th century, students are enthralled by music that reflects these important historical markers, including a special emphasis on the “life and times of Benjamin Franklin.”
  • MATH: “The Magical Mysteries of Math & Music”
    Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony and other well-known classical works help explain a variety of mathematical concepts.
  • SOCIAL STUDIES: “Music From Other Lands”
    Classical music based on folk songs explores diverse people and cultures while reinforcing state-mandated vocabulary and map-reading skills.
  • BIOLOGY: “Animals – Our Fascinating Other Neighbors”
    Musical depictions by Haydn, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saens and Rossini, all describe the many important uses and services that animals provide to us.
  • SCIENCE: “Introducing the Orchestra”
    Explains how the wonderful sounds of the orchestra’s instruments are created, and how they are combined to produce the glorious music of the Minnesota Sinfonia.


Each program culminates with SINFONIA DAY – a visit from the entire MN Sinfonia orchestra. Musicians visit classrooms to interact with students, show and explain their instrument, and share stories. Then, everyone gathers in the gym for a fun, interactive concert highlighting the music and classroom activities from the preceding weeks. School choirs and orchestras perform with the Sinfonia for their peers, parents and community members, all to rousing cheers from friends and fellow classmates.


That was a WONDERFUL experience for our classroom. The students were very engaged.I would totally love for them to come again. None of my students had ever visited a live orchestra and were very excited during the performance.
   Kathy Clennon, Special Education Teacher, Bridge View School

Wow! Thank you for a quality educational experience. What a treat!
   Fifth Grade Teacher at Jefferson Community School, Minneapolis Public Schools

This really is the finest musical experience we have. Some of my students are already asking their parents to bring them to one of your concerts!
   Anonymous Teacher

The performance was a tremendous hit with everyone. I can’t thank you enough
   Colleen Baumtrog, Principal, Minneapolis Public Schools

Thank you for coming to our school. Your performance was terrific! I loved your music … Your Band was wonderful! All the kids was clapping … Our school was so glad to see you … It was fun hearing all of your beautiful sounds of your instruments! I just loved the music … You guys rock … We love your music!
   Excerpts of letters from students from Minneapolis/St. Paul Schools

The whole thing was my favorite!
   Antonia (first grade) when asked about his favorite part of the concert

It has been a great honor to have Mr. Fishman and the MN Sinfonia performed with the orchestra students … Thank you very much for the beautiful performances! … It was a great time, opportunity, and experience for everyone! … Absolutely wonderful! … Our students are fascinated with the MN Sinfonia performance, and they are absolutely thrilled when they get to interact with a professional musician in their classroom. The Sinfonia transforms our cafeteria into a grand concert hall, and our students love to watch the orchestra and hear the music! It is evident that Jay and the orchestra truly care about our students … I am proud to say that Minnesota Sinfonia has been in partnership with my schools for fifteen years. I deeply believe in the mission of MN Sinfonia and I am continually aware of their relevance as an educational force for the underserved in Minneapolis and St. Paul … I so much appreciate your investment in the lives of my orchestra students. It has been a wonderful project to work with you. Thank you a thousand times for all you pour out for music education. You are a gem!
   Anonymous teacher comments

Thank you for giving us a gift of a lifetime. Many tears of joy and pride were shed watching Jonah sing. Thank you, also, for giving him the opportunity to be proud of himself.
   Mother of a special needs student


Experience SINFONIA DAY for yourself! Contact the Sinfonia office for a schedule, then contact the appropriate school at least one week before concert day in order to gain security clearance from the schools.


Music in the Schools is offered free of charge to schools. This amazing program is supported by generous foundation and corporate grants and by contributions from hundreds of  Sinfonia contributors.


The Sinfonia’s commitment to our public schools is total and unwavering. It’s easy to contribute! Learn about donation options on our Donate Page.

THANK YOU! Together, we make beautiful music.