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Music Memory

Music Memory is an extraordinary FREE music education program for grades 3, 4, 5 and 6, administered by the Orchestra Nova San Diego, under the leadership of artistic director, Jung-Ho Pak. It teaches children how to listen and respond to music critically and intelligently. With clear goals, creative presentation, positive motivation, and built-in process of team selection, preparation and participation, it contributes significantly to the development of students' social skills, self-esteem and intellectual capacity.

Click here for a list of participating Schools

This nationally recognized program that has become a phenomenon across the country made it debut locally as the Hunter Family Music Memory Program in the San Diego Unified School District and in several county schools, including Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas and Escondido. Acclaimed in dozens of cities around the country, Music Memory gives children the opportunity to learn 16 pieces of masterpieces of classical music each year. This means when a student completes four years of this program, they will be able to identify and appreciate 64 pieces of classical music! They will also all have the chance to come to a live FREE concert given by the orchestra where they will be tested on their knowledge and receive awards for their hard work.

Goals Aligned With the California and National Standards for Arts Education Music Memory is designed to help children:

  • Listen and respond actively to music
  • Acquire knowledge of music terms and definitions
  • Learn about composers, the periods they live in and the cultural significance of their music
  • Make connections from the music to other disciplines
  • Enjoy a meaningful cultural experience with their peers

The acquisition of focused listening skills in the course of exposure to a carefully selected, diverse repertoire is key to the learning process. Students, guided by their music teachers, engage in a wide range of artistic activities including creative and structured movement, singing, and performing on rhythm and melody instruments. As the children become aware of the structure of each piece, its melodic, harmonic and rhythmic patterns, and the instrumentation or voices used, they delight in their newly acquired ability to identify works and composers upon hearing only a few bars.

Music Memory Training for Music Teachers
Orchestra Nova San Diego provides specialized training sessions, AT NO COST, for all music teachers who participate in the Music Memory program. These professional development workshops are led by a master-teacher who has worked extensively with the program. Each teacher then works with pre-packaged education packet that includes Music Maps, recordings, lesson plans, and more. Music Maps are guides for the first time listeners to help them understand how music is constructed in an easy to understand way. Anyone can learn to hear and remember classical music with this proven and effective system. The skills that are developed in the program include critical thinking, pattern recognition, emotional involvement, and creative expression.

Music Memory Countywide Finals
Schools participating in the Music Memory Program are invited, AT NO CHARGE, to send five-member teams (along with classmate cheering sections) to participate in the Countywide Finals Competition to be held at the end of each school year. The Finals is a "name-that-tune/musical spelling bee" event where students display their extraordinary knowledge of the 16 musical works they have studied throughout the school year by identifying those works and composers on the basis of excerpts and fragments performed onstage by Orchestra Nova and guest vocal and instrumental soloists.

Funding of Orchestra Nova San Diego Music Memory Program is made possible by a generous gift by Frances Hunter and Hunter Industries.

Additional funding is gratefully acknowledged from the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund and from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Community Projects Grant Program – Supervisor Bill Horn.



Corporate and Government

Major funding provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors

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Foundation Donors

2009-10 Foundation Donors