SFCM and Yamaha Collaborate with Community Partners to Establish Music Education Program for Inner City Youth

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 7, 2018) – San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is a distinguished American music conservatory with an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. In concert with their commitment to educating tomorrow’s eminent musicians and educators, SFCM is dedicated to its community outreach programs serving more than 1,600 school children and 6,000 members of the wider population.

 A new SFCM afterschool music education program funded by the Koret Foundation will launch in the summer of 2018 with the support of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, Congregation Emanu-El, and the San Francisco Interfaith Council. Yamaha Corporation of America and Music Exchange have donated 16 Yamaha portable 88-key keyboards and accessories to the program, which will comprise core offerings of individual and group piano instruction, basic music theory, individual singing lessons and chorus. A public concert at the church on Sunday, May 6, introduced the afterschool music education program to the public.

“We are deeply grateful to the Koret Foundation and inspired by their investment in this initiative to bring music to underserved communities in the Bay Area,” said David H. Stull, President at SFCM. “This partnership demonstrates the enormous potential we share as organizations when we collaborate on reaching critical goals, such as advancing the education of our children. We look forward with excitement to the future.”

 A 16-instrument Yamaha digital keyboard lab will be placed in two classrooms at the church. Reverend James Smith, artistic director for the Third Baptist Church, will offer piano instruction to students at the church, as well as singing lessons and choir rehearsals with piano accompaniment. With these instruments, students may work on their skills individually – using their headphones – and may also collaborate with each other and perform in duets or groups.

 Undergraduate music students at SFCM will assist Rev. Smith in teaching the young musicians, and the conservatory plans to expand the program to include instruction on other musical instruments. Illustrious musicians such as Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern are among the conservatory’s alumni, offering inspiring role models for underserved youth participating in the new outreach program. This SFCM model program will also provide opportunities for instruction in literacy and life skills. 

 “Yamaha and Music Exchange are literally right in our neighborhood, and our relationship is ongoing, so when we approached them, they were very generous about making this contribution,” said Gloria Kim, vice president, external relations and artistic operations for SFCM. “Everyone involved came together to invest in the future of San Francisco.”

Several Yamaha pianos are in use throughout the San Francisco campus’ facilities at 50 Oak Street, and SFCM’s commitment to excellence as a premier music conservatory will expand in the next two years. Groundbreaking for construction of the Bowes Center, a new $185 million, 12-story music building in the city’s Civic Center, is slated for this summer, furthering the world-class conservatory’s leadership role in preparing and defining the 21st-century musician.

“Our involvement with this program to inspire young students to learn to play music is consistent with our global dedication to music education,” said Dan Rodowicz, national sales manager, Yamaha Institutional Solutions Group. “We are pleased to partner with San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the interfaith community to launch this dynamic initiative to reach underserved youth.”

For more information about the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, please visit www.sfcm.edu.

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About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is a global destination for musical excellence, earning an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center, SFCM’s faculty includes nearly 30 members of the San Francisco Symphony as well as Grammy Award-winning artists in fields ranging from orchestral and chamber performance to classical guitar. The Conservatory offers its 400-plus collegiate students fully accredited bachelor's and master's degrees and professional diplomas in composition and instrumental and vocal performance, as well as in newly established, groundbreaking tracks such as Technology and Applied Composition and Roots, Jazz, and American Music. SFCM’s collaborations with major Bay Area arts presenters, including the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, Ballet, and SFJAZZ Center, present an unprecedented learning environment for Conservatory students to engage with the world’s leading artists. The Conservatory’s relationships with Sony Playstation, Skywalker Sound, and other Silicon Valley companies also offer unique opportunities that reinforce the institution’s innovative curricular approach in artistic, intellectual, professional, and individual development, a connected learning sequence that gives students an education for life. SFCM’s collegiate and Pre-College students have appeared at such storied venues as Carnegie Hall and Davies Symphony Hall and have performed on national radio programs including NPR’s Live from Here and Performance Today . Notable alumni include violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, soprano Elza van den Heever, the Naumburg Award-winning Telegraph Quartet (on faculty as SFCM’s Quartet-in-Residence), Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, and Ronald Losby (President of Steinway & Sons - Americas), among others. For more information, visit sfcm.edu.