For K-12 Teachers

Fifth House Ensemble’s innovative education programs reach learners of every age through a variety of creative lesson plans. At the heart of our education program are performances and arts-integrated residencies at Chicago public schools and in music programs throughout the greater Chicago area. In addition, we are proud to parter with arts organizations such as the International Music Foundation, Communities in Schools Chicago, and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education to provide these programs to diverse communities and create professional development opportunities for our staff, musicians, and partner teachers. Fifth House also trains the next generations of musicians to bring this essential work to students through our innovative workshops at universities around the country.

To bring a personalized residency program to your school, please contact our education programs coordinator, Parker Nelson.

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OneShot! Concerts

Get ready to listen, learn, and move

In these 45-60 minute concerts, students will hear engaging music and learn how it can relate to other disciplines ranging from science to literature. Groups of three to four performers play engaging musical selections and lead group activities for up to 600 students at one time.

Available concerts include:

  • Musical Opposite Detectives (Pre-K through Grade 1)

  • The Heartbeat of Music (Grade 1 through Grade 3)

  • Music in Motion: Physics in Music (Grade 2 though Grade 5)

  • A Well-Balanced Musical Diet (Grade 2 through Grade 5)

  • Music Can Tell a Story (Grade 2 through Grade 6)

  • Americana (Grades 1 and up)

  • The Legend of the Northern Lights (Grades 1 and up)

  • Luna de Cuernos (Grades 1 and up)

  • Of Time and Space (Grades 1 and up)

  • The Scenic Route (Grades 1 and up)

  • Unchained Melodies (Grades 1 and up)

  • Young Composer’s Workshop (Grades 2 and up)

  • Music and Poetry (Grades 5 and up)

To enhance your students’ experience, Fifth House Ensemble will provide preparation guides that facilitate pre- and post-concert classroom discussions.

OneShot! Concert Catalog

Musical Opposites
Designed for our youngest audiences (pre-school – kindergarten), this program turns listeners into carefully-thinking detectives, finding highs and lows, fasts and slows, and other important musical opposites.

The Heartbeat of Music
This elementary program explores music’s pulse, or “heartbeat,” and its ability to pump life into each piece of music. Students learn to relate elements of music to parts of the circulatory system, understanding how a chamber music group works together to perform just as their organ systems work to keep their bodies moving.

Music in Motion: Physics in Music
This concert connects the concepts found in physics and math to the not-so-distant world of chamber music. Students learn how to graph speed and acceleration in music, explore whether music has its own momentum, and attempt to defy music’s natural “gravity.”

A Well-Balanced Musical Diet
Students learn how healthy habits, such as nutrition and exercise, relate to chamber music in this interactive program. Through our “Musical Lab” activity, kids can see how changes in musical elements such as rhythm, dynamics, and group work can affect a chamber music performance.

Music Can Tell A Story
This concert explores the ways in which music can tell a story without words, and how composers and authors alike use various musical tools to create characters, setting, and plot. The ensemble pairs chamber music and text, leading students through a series of small and large group activities. The audience participates in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” project at the end of the performance, culminating in a presentation of their original story inspired by music.

Fifth House Ensemble performs contemporary American piano trios (violin, cello, and piano) by Stacy Garrop, Dan Visconti, Donald Crockett, and Paul Schoenfield, rich with inspirations from film noir, jazz, pop, and folk songs. Costa Rican artist, Angela Bermudez, has created a stunning visual narrative to showcase these works, each representing the wildly diverse sound worlds of the music of our time with their own unique aural landscapes. Students will experience the journey of an immigrant seeking the American dream.

The Legend of the Northern Lights
Fifth House Ensemble performs Christopher Theofanidis’ work The Legend of the Northern Lights and John Estacio’s Aurora Triptych to examine how the lore surrounding the Northern Lights intersect with science.

Luna de Cuernos
Luna de Cuernos, a modern interpretation of a Puerto Rican folk tale, evolved through interviews and engagement activities with residents of Humboldt Park.  Over the course of the 2014 season, members of Fifth House Ensemble also gathered stories from students at the Association House of Chicago, Lowell Elementary School, Orr Academy High School, and Stowe Elementary School in order to learn about their perspectives on life with their families and friends in their community.  The personal narratives gathered in these interviews and classroom visits were shared with Chicago artist Sarah Becan, as she modernized the original folk tale to feature these personal narratives of children and adults in Humboldt Park.  

Of Time and Space
In a show developed in collaboration with Ravinia and KV265, Fifth House’s program, Of Time and Space, tells the story of evolution along with music from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Holst’s The Planets, and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. It also features a live painting video by Costa Rican artist, Angela Bermudez. This full ensemble show uses art to explain the complexity of our universe in a fun and accessible experience for audiences young and young at heart. 

The Scenic Route
Join Fifth House’s reed trio on a road trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, passing through rural towns and cities and savoring the songs of nature along the way. Featuring music from Dan Visconti, Jenni Brandon, and Robbie McCarthy, this versatile program transports the audience from the treacherous, winding roads of the mountains to the open dirt paths of the countryside. The trio then sets out on an adventure westward to the Giant Sequoias of the mountains, meeting new friends at each stop and intentionally ignoring the noises coming from their vehicle as it sputters and starts.

Unchained Melodies
The conversations we have with one another every day are the foundations of our history, passed down for generations. These interactions are how we meet, share knowledge and experiences with others, and help to influence change within our communities and the world around us. Like the conversations we have in music, an individual voice has strength and beauty. However, the truly powerful and dynamic nature of those conversations is more apparent when multiple voices are being expressed. Using Dan Visconti’s newly commissioned work, entitled Unchained Melodies, members of Fifth House Ensemble will engage students in the relationships between verbal and musical conversations, demonstrate the importance of listening to other conversations to influence their own ideas, and show how a different perspective can change both the conversational and musical narrative.

Young Composer's Workshop
This OneShot!, which can be adapted for virtually any age or group size, hones students’ ideas and basic drawing skills to explore compositional techniques and interpretation. Musical terms are introduced and used as a means of communication between students and musicians, who facilitate a quick and fun compositional process and perform individual students’ graphic scores.

Music and Poetry
This OneShot! explores the connections between music and elements of poetry such as rhyme, rhythm, mood, and character. Intended for older audiences, this performance engages both large and small audiences in activities that culminate in the creation of an original poem, accompanied by chamber music chosen by the students.