Friends of Chamber Music is committed to educational outreach.

Friends of Chamber music engages both local and visiting artists to provide concerts, residencies, and master classes at Denver area elementary, junior high and senior high schools. Performances are presented primarily in Denver Public Schools. We offer these performances free of charge (with the exception of a minimal fee for Spinphony), thanks to funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.


Photo: Bob Keyser

We believe in there is a strong correlation between engagement in the arts and success in later life. Click here for some recent research from Michigan State University.

Complete the online Program Inquiry Form or call us at 303-388-9839 to ask about arranging an event at your school.


Photo: Yanita Rowan

We have two types of educational outreach programs:

In-School Performances

Each year, Friends of Chamber Music sponsors school assembly performances by professional chamber music ensembles. These concerts combine age-appropriate music theory with accessible classical music. Groups such as The Playground, the Ivy String Quartet, Spinphony, and Colorado Chamber Players have performed for student audiences who might otherwise not have had exposure to classical music. In any given year, Friends of Chamber Music’s educational outreach program reaches more than 4,500 students.

We are able to offer up to two 45-minute assembly performances (back-to-back), free of charge or a very minimal fee, for Denver Public Schools. All programs feature fun and interactive classical music programs.  For a description of the ensembles and programs available, see below.  A list of repertoire for each is available upon request.





Available for middle and high school audiences, Spinphony is a high energy electric string quartet with a DJ. They write their own arrangements, blending well known classical pieces and pop hits to create unique mashups that appeal to all generations. With their distinctive spin on different genres of music and the added element of choreography they bring to their performance, Spinphony engages with students to show the diversity and excitement of string playing.  Cost:  Thanks to generous funding from the SCFD, this ensemble is available for a minimal fee of $150.  Click here for a video excerpt of a Spinphony performance.



Catherine Beeson, viola

Catherine Beeson, viola

Good Vibrations:  Communicating Through Music

Featuring CSO violist Catherine Beeson and musicians from the Colorado Symphony, Good Vibrations is all about exploration.  This interactive program will help students explore sounds as a communication tool, styles of music at different times in history, and the beautiful heterogeneity that exemplifies contemporary culture and music.  Students have an opportunity to join the musicians on stage to closely observe the various methods of communication used by the string quartet.

The following composers and their differing musical styles will be covered in this 55 minute program:

Johann Sebastian Bach/Baroque
Antonin Dvorak/Symphonic tradition with folk influences
Felix Mendelssohn/Romantic
Shulamit Ran/20th Century


Also featured will be excerpts composed by Jessica Mayes, a young Denver area composer and pianist (graduate of DSA and the Lamont School of Music).  Program is designed for audiences 3rd grade and older (minimum of 125 students/performance).  A microphone and projection screen is required.  Click here for a video excerpt of a Good Vibrations performance.



Ivy Street Ensemble


Ivy Street Ensemble

With its program, Can You Hear the Difference?,  the Ivy Street Ensemble (violin, viola, and flute) presents a classical music program with music from many periods and styles.  The ensemble showcases the different sounds of string instruments and several flutes.  Ivy Street reinforces basic science as they demonstrate the correlation between the size of the instrument and the sound of the instrument. They also highlight the idea of theme and variation (useful in teaching writing) with words, music, and audience participation.  Click here to hear a performance excerpt from the Ivy Street Ensemble.



Bartels Brass

Bartels Brass

The Bartels Brass is a dynamic ensemble of orchestral brass players  (2 trumpets, trombone, french horn, tuba) all currently performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  Delivering an unmatched caliber of brass playing, these musicians have extensive performing and teaching experience.  The Bartels Brass offers students a detailed educational program featuring individual instrument demonstrations mixed with lively brass music from a wide variety of periods and styles.


PGphoto logo web 800 x pixels

The Playground

The Playground

The Playgrounds' performances help inspire students to create music.  In addition to winds and string instruments, their instrumentiation includes percussion, piano, and voice.

Living Music, Living Composer To better reach the diverse audiences in today’s schools, these concerts center on repertoire by diverse composers, including composers from Colorado.

Soundpainting:  Students create music in a spontaneous and improvisatory way using this unique hand gesture language.  Playground musicians teach students hand gestures and then make music together. By the end of the session, students will be performing, composing, conducting, and laughing!  This system works regardless of training, skill level or genre preference and meets Colorado State Standards for composition, performance, and improvisation.  Click here for some recent press about a FCM-sponsored Soundpainting residency with El Sistema Colorado.

School-Based Residencies

Friends of Chamber Music offers residency programs designed to offer targeted, interactive instruction based on the specific needs of a classroom teacher. Residencies can be tailored to meet a teacher’s needs and may involve as many or as few visits as the school schedule permits.  Many teachers find that regular visits by a music teaching artist have a significant impact on student engagement and boost students’ critical thinking and collaboration skills. Residencies are supported by Friends of Chamber Music and are offered free of charge for up to three Denver Public Schools annually.

Examples of past residencies include:

  • 5 class sessions teaching recorder and basic music theory in an elementary school literacy program to reinforce the connection between music and literacycello crop
  • 9 class sessions of instruction by a professional string musician to assist an elementary school orchestra teacher with no stringed instrument experience
  • 12 class sessions by the members of a string quartet who taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students to play recorders, guided them in the composition of their own music and then scored and performed the students’ compositions
  • "Young Composers" music composition residency is offered each spring for students at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, in partnership with The Playground Ensemble. Students learn the basics of composition, compose a piece for specific instruments, and listen as professional musicians from The Playground perform their composition.   Click here to view a recent video from this residency.

Call 303-388-9839 or email us at to ask about arranging an event at your school.  To read more about our program as well as other educational offerings available in the Denver area, download an electronic copy of the Scientific and Cultural Collaborative 2016-17 Directory of Educational Activities for Teachers and Schools.


(Click question to display answer.)

How long does each performance last?

How many students can attend one performance?

Do your in-school concerts support Colorado Academic Standards in Music?

Can I request a particular instrument(s), style/period of music or specific musical works?

What kind of audience etiquette will my students be expected to follow?

Do you have any bilingual musicians?

What is the best way to prepare my students prior to the concert?

How does my school receive consideration to receive a free performance or residency?

Are these performances only for music students?

Help Friends of Chamber Music bring music to the next generation:

You can help Friends of Chamber Music bring music to young audiences by making a gift in support of our outreach efforts.  Click here to make a contribution, or send your donation to:  Friends of Chamber Music, 191 University Boulevard #974, Denver, CO  80206.

This post has no comments. Be the first to leave one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Answer the question to post comment *

Thanks to Our Sponsors