Music Program

What We Offer

Music is an important part of the EBGIS curriculum from Preschool through High School. Our project-based music program grows students’ musical knowledge and abilities while immersing students in a diverse array of musical traditions and styles. EBGIS students also learn to express themselves through music composition and performance.

EBGIS students

  • Learn formal music theory, notation, and terminology
  • Create and perform vocal and instrumental music, both acoustic and digital
  • Experience music from a wide spectrum of cultures and historical contexts
  • Combine music and movement for self-expression

Our older Elementary School students learn to read musical notation and use their note-reading skills playing the xylophone, recorder and/or a stringed instrument. Middle and High School students survey musical cultures and styles, keep a music-listening journal, and are guided to create and perform their own compositions.

Afterschool Musical Enrichment

At EBGIS, co-curricular and extra-curricular musical opportunities enhance our in-class music program. The EBGIS Orchestra, led by experienced string ensemble coaches, practices regularly after school and performs several times throughout the year. Our beloved school Rock Band “E-Town” gives our Middle and High School students the chance to express themselves, loudly!

On-site private lessons in violin, viola and cello as well as piano and wind instruments are offered after school. On weekends, EBGIS is home to the San Francisco Girls’ Chorus. Also coming to EBGIS is an afterschool chamber music class for students with more experience with instrumental music who wish to make music together. A school choir is in the works as well.

Celebrating with Music

As a Bay Area hub of German and international cultural life, EBGIS regularly hosts live musical performances by both students and acclaimed artists. Last spring, we partnered with the Ecole Bilingue in a joint performance of French and German music as part of our annual International Music Festival.

A World Class Music Faculty

The EBGIS Music Department continues to grow with the addition of outstanding professional musicians dedicated to sharing their passion for and knowledge of music with our students. Our program is further enriched by the participation of accomplished members of the musical community.

Emily Rubis
Music Program Director

teaches music in the Elementary and Middle Schools. She holds bachelors and master's degrees in piano performance from San Francisco State University and a master's degree in musicology from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. She has performed and taught piano for fifteen years, and more recently has worked as a freelance translator in German music publishing. In the classroom, Emily teaches students to read and play from musical notation and helps them think creatively and critically about the music they hear, while guiding students through creative musical projects drawn from a world of musical traditions. Emily also offers private piano lessons.

Olivia Kistler

teaches music in the Elementary School as well as the after-school drama class. Olivia brings music from a variety of genres and cultures to her teaching. She engages children in music with a joyful approach incorporating games, singing, dancing and playing rhythm instruments. Olivia plays piano, guitar, and recorder.

Thea Farhadian

is a violinist and sound artist with more than twenty-five years’ experience teaching students of all ages. Thea's specialties include performance in classical, improvisational, and electronic music. Her teaching is rooted in classical music and focused on making music in a creative, relaxed way. Thea holds an MFA in music from Mills College; an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from San Francisco State University, and a California State Teaching Credential. Thea is currently offering private violin lessons as well as offering group classes in traditional and experimental music.

Jane Lee

is a cellist and orchestra coach who co-leads the EBGIS Orchestra. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has performed with the Berkeley Symphony, Oakland Symphony, and Vallejo Symphony, among others. She is a cello coach at the Berkeley Youth Orchestra and has been teaching cello for over twenty years. Jane offers private cello lessons.

Robert Shafer

Rob has many years of experience teaching cello lessons and string ensembles classes. He also composes, arranges and publishes music for teaching groups with diverse skill levels. Rob offers an instrument rental service as well.

Phillip Greenlief

is a saxophonist and composer who has received international acclaim for his recordings and performances with musicians and composers in the post-jazz continuum as well as new music innovators and virtuosic improvisers. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Meredith Monk, Rashaun Mitchell and They Might Be Giants. Philip's albums include Lantskap Logic, That Overt Desire of Object, All at Once, and Oh That Monster. Phillip currently offers private lessons in saxophone, clarinet and flute, and is looking forward to leading the EBGIS Jazz Band.

Derek Burle

Derek began playing guitar and performing music at an early age. He attended college at U.C. Santa Cruz and performed professionally while finishing his degree. Derek has taught music for nearly a decade. In addition to guitar, Derek teaches electric bass, ukulele, songwriting and music production. As a performer, Derek has toured extensively on the West Coast and in Europe. In his free time, Derek enjoys riding his bicycle, rock climbing and reading sci-fi.

Sami Qreini

is the parent of an EBGIS ninth grader and leads the afterschool Rock Band. Sami has been making music since childhood. He has played drums in several bands and delights in making the Rock Band class a space for individual and collective self-expression.