Live Ensembles Program: Orchestra, Jazz Band, plus Beginning Group Lessons

About the Program


Instrumentalists, join us for our Live Ensembles! Our Orchestra and Jazz Band are mixed in age, level, and instrumentation, co-taught by two instructors and supported by multiple teaching assistants. This team collectively plays most instruments and can help customize the level and participation of each student. These larger ensembles are 2 hours each to build skills, work on repertoire, and prepare for performances. There are built-in break times to eat and socialize.

Brand new musicians start in our “Newbie Notes” classes as a pathway to the larger ensembles. Newbie Notes are classes for musicians who are brand new to their instruments and are offered in groups by age and instrument, with “The Littles” being our youngest group.

Musically Minded has a philosophy of “People first, Music Second,” meaning students may choose their own instruments and genres outside prescriptions of social and cultural norms. This opens the possibilities for students to receive support to discover their personal artistry at the forefront and promotes deeper commitment and learning for their chosen music path. We believe music thrives in healthy communities. Join and experience a safe space for students to learn while building social connections, a family-like atmosphere, and a welcoming, supportive community for each participant, embracing intergenerational scaffolded learning to meet differing skills and needs.

Live Ensemble Details

Location: Musically Minded Academy @ St. Peter’s Church, downstairs. 6013 Lawton Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

ORCHESTRA – New Notes: Sat: 9 – 11 am. Fall session Aug-Dec.  

This ensemble plays classical and current repertoire. Unlike most classical training, students are encouraged to explore improvisation in addition to traditional music reading. Beginners should start with Newbie Notes. Multiple levels and ages are welcome, and parts are customized for each instrumentalist.

Instructors: Dr. Ondine Young, Piano/Strings/Percussion. Rob Finucane, Piano, Percussion

Teaching Assistants: Aiden Lewis

JAZZ BAND – Basics, Blues, and Beyond: Sat, 11 am-1 pm. Fall session Aug-Dec.  

This class is rooted in the basics of jazz and blues with additional exploration of other genres. Beginners should start with our Newbie Notes classes. Basics, Blues, and Beyond is an excellent experience for multiple levels. Parts are customized for each instrumentalist to fit their range and level, and music-reading skills are desired but not required.

Instructors: Ben Green, Winds/Brass. Rob Finucane, Piano, Percussion

Teaching Assistants: Aiden Lewis and Brandon Wong


  • Thursday: 5:30-6:00 PM, Ages 4-7, $150/month. (Bells, Guitar, Piano)
  • Thursday: 6-6:45 PM, Ages 8+, $175/month (Piano, Pitched Percussion, Strings)

For Beginners: These classes are for students brand new to their instruments. Each student enrolls in one instrument and works in small groups with their instructor. This class has multiple teachers and TAs that cover instrumental instruction. “The Littles” can switch to different instruments in class. Other students choose one instrument to enroll in.

Instructors: Rodney Garcia (piano, strings), Rob Finucane (piano, percussion), Anna Orias (piano, percussion, vocals), with TA’s Liam Young-Skeen (strings, guitar, percussion), and Aiden Lewis (guitar, strings)

Our Teachers

Our instructional staff is carefully chosen to include individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced, but also kind, grounded, and dedicated to serving the community.

Rob Finucane - Piano
Image of Anna Orias, a mid aged woman with a blonde bob, and a blue shirt and blue eyes. This is a headshot with a piano in the background.

Robert Finucane is a multi-talented musician, audio engineer, and producer based in Oakland, California. He has been making a living from his passion for music since 2013 and has a strong background in keyboard performance, songwriting, and piano teaching. Read more

A saxophonist/composer, Ben has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Music Composition from UC Davis. He has written for ensembles from Jazz quintets to string quartets, contemporary ensembles, and hip-hop beats. Read more

Anna has an extensive background working as a teacher and an entrepreneur in the arts since 1989. She is the founder and director of Musically Minded Academy. Her 30+ years as a teaching artist and arts administrator have always emphasized building community through a wide variety of performance events.

Financial Aid/ Accessibility

Limited financial aid is available for these classes. We are especially interested in increasing opportunities for underserved youth. Please contact us and let us know your circumstances and how much you can afford for the monthly installments. We will do what we can to accommodate your needs.

Our current location does not have ADA access. Construction is starting soon to remedy that. In the meantime, please let us know if you would like to see our facility and see if we may accommodate your needs with special plans in the meantime.