Classroom Cantatas

Classroom Cantatas

Cantata Singers views engaging with the communities we serve–both on and off the concert stage–as vital to achieving our mission.

Cantata Singers has valued underrepresented music since its inception—be it performing works by lesser-known composers, commissioning new music, or bringing vitally-needed music education to Boston’s school children through the Classroom Cantatas program. Classroom Cantatas is unique in its commitment to creation over imitation. Instead of teaching children to reproduce the music and styles of another time and tradition, Classroom Cantatas gives students the tools to create and express themselves using their own musical voice. Residencies, which extend from November through April, begin with classroom teachers suggesting composition themes that are meaningful to the students and their communities; past topics have included Bullying, Mythology, Identity, and Diversity. During this initial phase, teaching artists give students lessons in music fundamentals, and then in small groups, often inclusive of special education and English language learners, children are guided as they use their newfound vocabulary to create tuneful and memorable songs. This second chapter is an intimate and collaborative process that inspires engagement in the classroom and beyond, as students are challenged to look at the world with nuance, creativity, and confidence by analyzing texts and developing meaning through the language of music. In the final phase of the residency, the students regroup as a unit to rehearse and perform their songs; which as a whole form their classroom cantata. After sharing their pieces with their school communities, the participants from residencies across the city come together for a special day of performance and celebration at the Boston Children’s Museum. The musical scores and performance recordings are preserved in our online library for all to enjoy.