Music in OUSD

  • Images from over a century of OUSD music students


    Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has enjoyed a rich history of music education. OUSD’s music program dates back to the 1870’s, making it one of the oldest in California! For 150 years, OUSD has worked to ensure that every student in our district experiences the joy, creativity, and collaboration at the root of culturally-responsive music education.  

    The OUSD Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Office employs and supports 26 music and dance teachers working at all OUSD elementary schools. Together with the VAPA Director and the Music Teacher on Special Assignment, these teachers engage students in a variety of music including 

    • Instrumental: students in upper grades learn on band instruments (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone and drums) or Orchestra instruments (violin, viola, cello, and bass) 
    • general and vocal. Students learn about music through singing, dance, playing classroom instruments such as xylophones and hand percussion.
    • Dance: creative approach to learning where students learn to create their own dance movements (choreography), learn to move in creative ways, collaborate with other students - need some more here.

    Once students move on to OUSD Middle and High Schools, they have a variety of options to continue their music studies. School-site based music teachers offer electives such as band, Chinese orchestra, chorus, guitar, modern band, orchestra, and ukulele. To learn more about middle and high school programs (click here- Holly’s PPT)

    Major music events: In addition to school based performances our students have the opportunity to participate in the following events.

    • October: Cazadero Jump Start (insert link) - overnight camp for middle school instrumental students in Cazadero California.
    • February: OUSD middle and high school Jazz festival - students perform for each other and the community.
    • March: OUSD middle and high school Orchestra Festival - in partnership with the Oakland Symphony students perform for each other and the community.
    • April: Play On festival K-12 students in vocal, general, modern band classes perform for each other and the community.
    • May: Elementary String Festival: in partnership with the Oakland Symphony elementary students hear older students perform and also have the opportunity to perform for each other and the community. 

    Middle School Music Programs

    High School Music Programs