Education Coordinator & Ensemble Conductor

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Education Coordinator & Ensemble Conductor


California Symphony is currently seeking a Program Coordinator and Conductor for the after-school Sound Minds program which operates at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo.  This position will work to plan and oversee the effective execution of the California Symphony’s, Sound Minds program. The Coordinator will support and advise the teaching artists, students, and parents of Sound Minds and reports to the Senior Director of Operations & Education on program goals, outcomes and other details as needed. Further, the role will serve as the ensembles conductor for the two string orchestra ensembles (beginning and intermediate). The incumbent will be responsible for 9-12 hours per week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, leading the 5 teaching artists, providing support through pull-out one-on-one student lessons, and leading a mentorship class for the top-level students. The successful candidate will have exceptional skills working with children while creating an environment that is fun yet disciplined and exemplary interpersonal communications skills with adults.  The position will be able to support the objectives of Sound Minds and help facilitate community and family involvement.

Sound Minds is a proud member of El Sistema USA and is the flagship music education program of California Symphony and based on the El Sistema model developed in Venezuela by Dr. Antonio Abreau.  It is one of only two El Sistema nucleo in the Bay Area affiliated with a professional symphony orchestra. Sound Minds serves approximately 120 students, grades 2-6, in the San Pablo community at Downer Elementary School.  Students receive educational enrichment in academics, musicianship, strings instruction, and beginning orchestra in a nurturing environment, with the goal to empower them to develop their potential, pursue their education, and strengthen their communities.

Sound Minds has been widely praised by local and national media outlets including NPR, KQED’s California Report, KGO, KCBS, KQED, Contra Costa Times, and San Francisco Chronicle.

Responsibilities include:

Maintain the integrity of the ideals and pedagogy of Sound Minds as an El Sistema inspired program.
Plan and implement educational curriculum and syllabus in collaboration with the Senior Director of Operations & Education of California Symphony
Oversee teacher attendance and lesson plans to meet goals, and policies and procedures
Coordinate a standard course of action in the event of a teaching artist illness or other absences
Oversee student attendance and coordinate family communications with with school liaisons
Plan and execute the final concert of the semester
Select repertoire appropriate to the performance level of the students
Conduct beginning and intermediate string ensembles in weekly rehearsals in preparation for concerts and additional special events, such as side by side rehearsals with peer orchestras/ensembles, or community events.
Attend planned events of which the ensembles are participating.
Maintain collaborative communications on student progress with other SM teaching artists, tutors, site manager, Symphony staff, and parents.
Create an effective learning experience for students.
Communication with other instructors and tutors in order to understand each child holistically.
Teach individual strings lessons on violin and cello by mutual coordination with teaching artists
Teach mentorship class to Level 5 students in the final year of the program
Preparation for public performances, when applicable, to demonstrate the students’ progress in Sound Minds.
Plan regular teacher check-ins and meetings with teaching artists and California Symphony Senior Education Director.
Maintain and ensure the regular maintenance of instrument and supply inventory.

Interest and ability to be a motivational mentor and role model for teaching artists, students, and parents
Strong commitment to El Sistema’s philosophy of social change through music and the objectives of Sound Minds
Experience coordinating after-school music education programming, preferably with diverse communities
Demonstrated musicianship and artistry as a teacher and performer
Strong knowledge of early string repertoire, curriculum and pedagogy
Four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent experience required. A teaching credential, or work towards a graduate teaching degree is a plus
Strong knowledge of standard music pedagogy (Suzuki, Kodály, Orff, Solfège etc.)  Certification a plus
Experience working with children from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, particularly in a group setting; experience working in underserved communities a plus
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community
Bilingual in English and Spanish strongly preferred but not required
Must pass a Background Check, Fingerprinting, and submit a negative TB test

Immediate availability – May 13, 2020
Approximately 9-12 hours per week (12 weeks in Fall, 15 weeks in Spring)
Mondays and Tuesday’s (2:30-5:00) and Wednesdays (2:00-4:30pm)
Teaching location is performed at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo

This is an independent contractor position; competitive flat daily rate available
Professional development opportunities in collaboration with the program director
To Apply:

Submit a current resume, cover letter indicating your interest and familiarity with the El Sistema model, and at least one work sample to with “Sound Minds” in the header
Open until Filled
About the California Symphony

The California Symphony, entering its seventh season under the leadership of Music Director Donato Cabrera, is distinguished by its vibrant concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and works by living composers, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings. The orchestra includes musicians who perform with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others, and is based in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts with additional recent performances around the region in Napa Valley, Concord, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Over the last five years the California Symphony’s audience has nearly doubled and the donor base increased by 180%.

Outside of the concert hall, the Symphony actively supports music education as a driver for social change through its El Sistema-inspired Sound Minds program at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, CA, which brings intensive music instruction and academic enrichment to schoolchildren in an area where 94% of students qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program, at no cost to the students who participate. The Orchestra also hosts the highly competitive Young American Composer-in-Residence program and its current composer, Katherine Balch.  California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today’s most well-known artists, including violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Joshua Roman, pianist Kirill Gerstein and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts.

The mission of the California Symphony is to enhance the lives of those it serves in Contra Costa County and the extended San Francisco Bay Area by performing the full range of orchestral repertoire of the highest quality with special attention to the work of American composers, presenting talented young performers in their first professional concert appearances, featuring performances by world class artists, and providing education outreach programs for the children and adults of our community.

Founded in 1986 under founding Music Director Barry Jekowsky, our vision is to become a 21st-century orchestra, making classical music relevant to those we serve, bringing in new audiences along the way, and ultimately more fully living up to our name across the state of California.

For more information, please visit

An Equal Opportunity Employer:

It is the policy of the California Symphony to provide all persons with equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, veteran status, marital status or any characteristic protected by federal, state, and local law. Candidates of ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) communities are encouraged to apply.