Education

With its genre-crossing instrumentation of strings, keyboards, drums, and guitars, and its diverse repertoire—including rock, jazz, hip hop, improvisation, music from around the world, and fresh interpretations of classical masterpieces—Fireworks has provided a doorway into concert music and a fresh approach to performing for thousands of students throughout the US. New for 2017-18, Fireworks offers two exciting opportunities for students to discover new styles and techniques, and to perform alongside the ensemble in concert: the Gregorian chant-meets-indie rock Requiem for Fireworks and chorus, and the concerto for improvising ensemble and orchestra, Play. See below for details.

2017-18 Education and Residency Activities

For detailed information on all of Fireworks’ education activities, download the Education and Residency Activities and Guidelines.

School Workshop for General Audiences

WEAVING THE AMERICAN TAPESTRY
(General Audience)

Discover the incredible diversity of American music and explore the hidden threads that tie traditions together. Participants join the ensemble on a lively, interactive musical journey that traces the development of great American idioms such as fiddle music (from Bluegrass to Cajun to the concert music of Aaron Copland), jazz (from blues to big band swing to Bernstein’s West Side Story), and popular song (from Stephen Foster to rock anthems).


School Activities for Music Students

PLAYING OUTSIDE THE BOX
(Middle School, High School, or College Music Students)

Students are encouraged to shed their inhibitions and explore sounds and techniques considered taboo by traditional pedagogy. Through the process of answering questions such as “How can you make a piano sound like a steel drum?… a guitar like a cello?… a cello like a banjo?… a snare drum like a roaring lion?,” students take part in the creative process used by Fireworks when adapting music from a wide variety of styles, periods, and cultures for their instruments.

IMPROVISATION FOR CLASSICAL MUSICIANS
(Middle School, High School, or College Music Students)

Using John Zorn’s improvisation games, Brian Coughlin’s Play, and a variety of techniques from jazz, rock, and world music traditions, Fireworks introduces students to the art of improvisation. The workshop begins with a demonstration of approaches used by improvisers in a variety of styles, continues with a hands-on exploration of improvisation methods, and culminates in a group improvisation by all participants. Students are encouraged to think creatively about their musical choices, to take risks, and to listen actively when playing with others—skills that can be applied to any style of music or performance context.

CHARTING A CAREER IN MUSIC
(High School, College, or Advanced Degree Music Students)

For many aspiring musicians, the idea of starting a career in the music industry can be daunting. Fireworks provides a DIY toolbox to assist those just starting out position themselves for maximum success, happiness, and resiliency in the challenging and ever-changing field of concert music. With insights from their own experiences over 20 years in music, Fireworks members delve into vital topics such as: how to reconcile career goals with skills and financial needs, how to identify your brand and market yourself effectively, and how to develop partnerships and build community.

AMERICAN TAPESTRY COLLABORATIVE PERFORMANCE
(Middle School, High School, or College band or orchestra)

Fireworks invites students to join them in a side-by-side performance of one or more selections from the ensemble’s American Tapestry program. Pieces can be rehearsed and coached in a workshop setting or prepared for a public concert. See the American Tapestry project page for more information, including audio, video, and technical information. Selections are available for advanced middle school/high school ensembles (band or orchestra – Grade 3), and advanced high school/college ensembles (band or orchestra – Grade 4). A typical one-day school visit schedule includes a morning “Weaving the American Tapestry” session for a general audience, an afternoon dress rehearsal, and an evening side-by-side performance as part of Fireworks’ American Tapestry program. Longer residencies and additional activities are also available.


Extended Residencies

PLAY RESIDENCY
(High School or College orchestra)

Fireworks collaborates with an advanced high school, college, or semi-professional orchestra over the course of an extended (2 – 5 day) residency to prepare and perform Brian Coughlin’s concerto for improvising ensemble, Play. See the Play project page for more information, including audio, video, and technical information. Depending on the schedule, additional workshops, masterclasses, or other activities may be added.

REQUIEM RESIDENCY
(High School or College chorus)

Fireworks collaborates with an advanced high school, college, or semi-professional chorus over the course of an extended (3 – 5 day) residency to prepare and perform Brian Coughlin’s rock-meets-plainchant Requiem. See the Requiem project page for more information, including audio, video, and technical information. Depending on the schedule, additional workshops, masterclasses, or other activities may be added.