SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

The Santa Cruz Symphony is working to expand an educational program for local elementary schools.

Developed in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, it's based on the Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening System. Through this system, five minutes of classical music are introduced to participating elementary school classrooms on a daily basis, meeting many of the state standards for music education. No advance planning or preparation is required of the teachers, although many teachers incorporate the program into other areas of the curriculum such as history and geography and writing.

The program encompasses 30 composers, 131 selections, and 400 years of music. Each composition is accompanied by contextual information about the life and times of the composer. Students also learn about the instruments they are hearing, as well as modes of musical expression such as differing tempos and dynamics.

The listening program was introduced in 2012 in four schools in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Last year, the Classical Music Classrooms program had expanded to 28 classrooms at 12 schools, reaching nearly 900 students.

The listening program complements the Symphony’s long-standing program of in-school visits by members of the orchestra, annual free concerts for 4th and 5th graders, and its annual Family Concert.

Interested teachers and parents are encouraged to call the Santa Cruz Symphony office at462-0553, ext. 10, to arrange for a personal demonstration.