BPO Connect: Musicians in Your Classroom

Bring unique arts engagement into your music classroom or your general classroom through the dynamism of the BPO’s professional musicians. These visits feature an emphasis on artistic excellence and can meet varied classroom learning objectives. Your BPO understands the importance of arts engagement in developing creative thinkers and innovators who value learning over a lifetime.

The BPO offers Classroom Programs or Ensemble Workshops & Clinics.  See below!

To book, fill out our Online Inquiry Form

Classroom Programs 

The BPO Connect classroom programs explore arts learning through movement activities, active listening and authentic connections between music learning and other areas of study.  These musician-developed programs bring a unique perspective and a wealth of beautiful music to concepts such as musical meaning and moods, the science of sound, myth busting about classical music . . . and more!  Programs can be adapted for your needs and specific age group.


Instrument Families Exploration
Various BPO musicians
Grades K-4

Bring a musician from each instrument family to your classroom for this multiple-visit residency.  One of our teaching artists from the strings, winds, brass and percussion will bring their expertise and instruments to your school and give a wonderful introduction, or deeper dive, into each instrument family of the orchestra.  This requires a four-visit commitment, but scheduling is flexible based on your needs and our musicians’ availability.

Meaning, Mood and Movement in Musicannamattix.jpg

BPO Oboe/English Hornist Anna Mattix
Grades K-8
40-60 minutes

How do musicians interpret musical compositions to create meaning for an audience? What kind of choices do composers and musicians make to create mood and atmosphere? Anna Mattix explores how the manipulation of sound and time can create movement in music. Anna presents music that incorporates Greek mythology, popular song, and the famous Dvorak New World Symphony English Horn solo that became the spiritual “Going Home.” Her presentation is interactive and engages students in active listening, movement and musical choices. This presentation helps students learn how to integrate and evaluate information presented through a diverse format.

With connections to: Common Core Learning Standards for ELA and Literacy


timothysmithBehind the Music: The Science of Sound
BPO trombonist Tim Smith
Grades K-6
40-60 minutes

What is the science behind the sounds we hear? How do composers use sound to create beautiful music? BPO musician Tim Smith will demonstrate the difference between sound and noise (how does a brass player turn breath and buzzing lips into a lovely note?) and explore concepts like pitch, tempo, dynamics, timbre and resonance using many different sizes of trombones and other fun materials. Using music written by some of the greatest “manipulators of sound” this interactive workshop illuminates the building blocks of music.

With connections to: NYS Standards for Mathematics, Science and Technology


maxwellpipinichMyth Busters:  Orchestra Edition
BPO bassoonist Max Pipinich
Grades 3-8
40-60 minutes

Bassoonist Max Pipinich breaks down the myths about the orchestra, sharing everything from basic concert etiquette to knowledge about the orchestra and classical music.   What does the term “classical music” really mean and who is it for?  Is it only written by dead white guys?  Do you have to be an expert to enjoy it?  Through interesting stories, facts and music, as well as plenty of time to answer questions, Max will share his insights on the orchestra and help make classical music and the concert experience accessible to students.  A great companion presentation to attendance at a youth concert!


Music, Math and Time
BPO violinist Deborah Greitzer
Grades K-6
40-60 minutes

Explore the relationship between musical time, math and the emotional content of music with BPO violinist Deborah Greitzer. Using a variety of musical examples from the orchestral and violin repertoire she creates a fun interactive lesson about musical time using fractions (cutting up a whole into parts) and how that works in notating time signatures and feeling musical rhythms. Then using familiar songs as well as beautiful examples from orchestral and violin repertoire, Deborah invites students to find out how composers choose the best time signature to express a musical statement and how time signatures can help us better understand what the music is about.

With connections to: Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics


Storytelling with Music
BPO French hornist Sheryl Hadeka
Grades 3-6
40-60 minutes

In following the structure of stories, we explore how music can make its own narrative. Students are guided to create their own unique story by choosing melodies for a beginning, middle, and end. We connect with the mood and character of each musical choice in order to decide where our tale goes. Our interactive creation also incorporates melodic choices for a protagonist “hero” and antagonist “villain.” The melodies in this presentation include familiar and exciting movie themes alongside unique and intriguing tunes. To round out the overall idea, students are eventually challenged to create a narrative for a standard work for solo horn by British composer Malcolm Arnold.

With connections to: Common Core Learning Standards for ELA and Literacy


Become the Composer: Decoding the Musical Language
BPO double bassist Jonathan Borden
Grades 3-8
40-60 minutes

What is music and how is it created?  What does Bach’s music have in common with contemporary composer, Elliott Carter’s? BPO bassist Jonathan Borden presents an interactive workshop that guides students in creating their own definition of music and illuminates just how diverse music can be.  By composing with Jonathan using only sound effects, and through listening to different styles of music, students become critical listeners of all styles, from the Baroque to the Abstract.  These critical listening skills, like pattern recognition and form identification, are valuable skills beyond the music classroom.


BPO QuartetTraveling Down the River with Huck and Jim
Buffalo Philharmonic String Quartet
(Diana Sachs and Alan Ross, violins, Val Heywood, viola and Roman Mekinulov, cello)
6-12 grades
40-60 minutes

This program explores Mark Twain’s famous novel Huck Finn with the fantastic musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic String Quartet. Help this important piece of literature come alive for your students through music! The program begins with a popular Scott Joplin rag and continues with an eventful ride down the Mississippi River. Highlights of the story are told and depicted with musical selections including Gershwin’s Lullaby, Copland’s Hoe Down, Morton Gould’s Old Time Religion, and excerpts from Dvorak’s American String Quartet. This program is adaptable to your needs.

With connections to: Common Core Learning Standards for ELA and Literacy


Ensemble Workshops and Clinics

Are you looking for a guest artist to work in-depth with your instrumental music students on repertoire, music fundamentals, instrument-specific techniques, performance techniques or even to speak on career readiness?

Our musicians can work with your band, orchestra or instrumental section on individual and ensemble music proficiency. Choose an artist from your preferred instrument family and bring an expert into your music room to inspire the best from your students!


Band or Orchestra Workshop
Todd Craven, assistant conductor
Middle and high school ensembles
40-60 minutes

The BPO’s assistant conductor Todd Craven can work with your band or orchestra to further their development in ensemble literacy. Todd will work with you to address your goals for the visit, whether it is fundamentals, ensemble communication, specific repertoire or performance readiness.


String Ensemble Workshop
BPO Associate concertmaster Amy Glidden
Elementary, middle and high school string ensembles
40-60 minutes

Amy has a wealth of knowledge in string pedagogy and string repertoire at all age levels, and she loves working with students. She can work with small groups, or your full string orchestra, as needed.


Instrument Clinics
Various BPO Musicians
Grades 6-12
40-60 minutes

Bring in a BPO musician to work with your instrumental students in small group settings.  This is a great way to help take your program to the next level by bringing in an expert that will give technical support, reinforce high standards and provide inspiration for improvement.

All-Brass, All-Woodwind and Double Reed Clinics available, as well as the following instruments:

Violin                Flute              French horn                 Harp
Viola                 Oboe               Trumpet                       Percussion
Cello                 Clarinet          Trombone                    Interactive Drumming
Bass                  Bassoon         Tuba


Chamber Music Coaching
Various BPO Musicians
Grades 6-12
40-60 minutes

Give your chamber music groups a boost with a coaching by a BPO musician.  Many of our musicians are avid chamber music performers as well as orchestral musicians and can share their expertise with your student groups.  Musicians will be selected based on the chamber group being served.

Book a BPO Teaching Artist

Single musician visit (40 minutes to an hour) = $125
Two back-to-back visits (two 40 minute periods) = $150
BPO String Quartet single visit =
BEST DEAL: Add BPO Connect visits to your Music for Youth Concert reservation for only $99 each! If available, your visiting musician would be happy to greet your students at the concert!

Please note that mileage costs may apply to any Teaching Artist visit outside the Buffalo metro area.

Questions?  Contact the Education Department at (716) 242-7822 or education@bpo.org

Inquiry Form

To request a visit please fill out our online form

Your Name:*
Best phone to reach you:*
School Address:*
Grade level(s) receiving visit:*
What setting will the Teaching Artist be working in**?*
How many students will participate in the visit?*

**Please note:  We ask that you limit auditorium presentations to no more than 125 students.

Please check program(s) that you are interested in:
Please describe what you are looking for:*
Are you bringing your students to a Music for Youth concert as well?*
If you have selected a concert date, when is it?
Please give specific dates or a general time frame for your requested visit(s). Please include your weekly class schedule if relevant.*
Any additional information you would like us to have: