Educational Programs


Asterisk believes that the arts in general, and classical music in particular, are vital to the cultural life of a community, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. With a long history of performing for children and families (see About), they are highly skilled and gifted at engaging young audiences and making music accessible to all audiences. Using simple, every-day language and fun, hands-on exercises, Asterisk programs for young audiences enlighten and entertain.


Currently Offering:

Poetic License performances for young audiences

For children and family audiences, Asterisk adapts Poetic License into an interactive, fun and educational concert exploring of the relationships between music, poetry, dance, and theater. As with Asterisk performances for chamber music audiences, the outreach version of Poetic License begins with the performers greeting the audience in their seats, immediately drawing them in to the concert experience. The musical ideas behind Elliott Carter’s Etudes are discussed and become a new music sing-along, as the audience sees first hand what it feels like to be creating this music in real time. John Corigliano’s beautiful and accessible Irish Folksong Settings are used to reveal the inter-relationships between melody, harmony, and words. With their many years of experience performing for young audiences, the members of Asterisk are uniquely skilled at illuminating music in language that audiences of all ages can understand.

Length: 50 minutes to 1 hour
Audience: suitable for family concerts and in-school performances for grades 6-12

Workshops for young audiences

Using the pieces from Poetic License as a springboard, Asterisk's fun and educational workshops give students the chance to experience and explore the relationships between music, poetry, dance and theater up-close and in-person. Each of Elliott Carter’s Etudes focus on a single musical idea. In the workshops, students re-create this compositional process under the guidance of the members of Asterisk, and learn how an entire piece of music can be created from simple ingredients. For longer workshops, Asterisk uses poetry from Poetic License (or, if possible, from the target classroom) to create with the class a mini-performance piece that integrates music, text and movement.

Length: one class period to 90 minutes
Audience:  can be adapted for all grades k-12
Asterisk in Residence

Asterisk offers a wide variety of programs for college music students that extend far beyond the traditional master class. As an ensemble-in-residence, they will design a unique set of performances, workshops, classes, and other activities to suit the needs of your school and community. A residency with Asterisk includes at least one full-length, public performance, and may include any of the following:
  • Master classes for individual instruments (flute, oboe, trombone, percussion)
  • Chamber music coaching
  • Introductory workshops on interdisciplinary performance for music, dance, or theater students
  • Classroom discussions on creative programming, interdisciplinary performance, collaborative ensemble techniques and more
  • Collaborative workshops for composition students (including reading student compositions)
  • Joint performances with faculty and students