Inspired by Venezuela’s wildly successful El Sistema program, Seth Mausner, a veteran San Francisco Symphony violist, and Jerry Pannone, retired music director of the San Francisco School of the Arts, wanted to bring the program model to the Bay Area. 

The program launched in September 2012 at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School - in a very under resourced area of Daly City just south of San Francisco.  This large school offered few other after school activities and almost no music education.  HPBA currently provides orchestral and choral music instruction three days per week to 75 third through 7th grade students.  An additional 75 second graders receive a weekly 50 minute singing/musicianship class.

Now entering its sixth year of programming, HPBA plans to expand, initially focusing on the ability to serve all the interested students at Woodrow Wilson, then to other locations around the Bay Area where students have no access to music instruction.  Our program will continue to be available to students as they graduate to middle school and beyond.


 * To deeply engage under-served children in a multi-year program of music study and performance.

   * To build a positive community for children, families and schools through music.

   * To help children develop the habits of mind they need to succeed in school and in life.

The primary goals are to improve students' overall skills for academic and life success, and give them the experience of belonging to a meaningful community.  We greatly enhance the very limited music education available at public schools where we operate. 

Harmony Project Bay Area carries out this mission through the following practices and values:

  • Striving for Excellence

Sustained, focused learning and practice gives children the experience that persistence and patience will pay off in achievements many of them never imagined.  

  • Belonging to a Group

Playing in an ensemble is interactive and fun, while also teaching the interpersonal skills vital for academic and life success.  Teamwork and cohesive group behavior are learned through the orchestra, as an integral part of the program.

  • Developing Skills for Success

Learning a musical instrument and belonging to an orchestra helps students developcapacities needed for school and future work settings, such as creativity, focus, critical thinking, and non verbal communication. 

  • Sharing with the Community

Frequent public concerts help students develop vital presentation and performance skills, while also helping motivate and sustain kids’ excitement in the program.  Performances also help open the program to the larger community.

  • Helping Others

Peer-to-peer learning is a key part of the program, helping students form healthy relationships. Leadership development also occurs through the process of students teaching and mentoring younger children.