The Tesla Quartet's 40-minute presentation for grades K-5 focuses on an introduction to string instruments and the fundamentals of making music as a group. Depending on the size and age of the audience, our program may include the following topics:
An introduction to the instruments: "Show and Tell"
What is a string quartet? How many instruments are there? What are the names of the instruments? What do they sound like? What are they made from? What kind of sounds can we also make with the instruments? (Ex. Animal sounds, race cars, squeaky doors etc.)
Music as a type of “language”
Conversation requires good listening skills! How do we have conversations through our music? We'll have fun exploring group dynamics and what it's like to play by yourself, in pairs, or all together. (Examples will be drawn from the Haydn string quartets.)
“Let's make a musical sandwich!”
The magic of the string quartet is that four unique voices combine to form a coherent and complete whole. Drawing on excerpts from quartets by Stravinsky and Ravel, we will highlight each instrument and show how individual parts match with each other, like ingredients in your favorite sandwich!
Music and Color
Can we associate color with musical sounds? Why do you feel such color when you hear the music? This activity is designed for smaller groups in a classroom setting with access to crayons/markers and paper.
The Tesla Quartet can work with your school's string students in a number of fashions, including:
Coaching a string ensemble
Giving individual lessons
Sitting in with the orchestra in rehearsal or in concert
Performing a string quartet for the class and discussing the history of the music and our mindset as performers
String Ensemble Coaching
More advanced string students can benefit greatly from the Tesla Quartet's guidance on stage or in the classroom. Quartet members can work with string students in:
Chamber music coaching
How to fit practicing into your busy schedule
College Audition Preparation
For students who are seriously considering studying music in college, the Tesla Quartet can facilitate discussions on topics such as:
How to choose a school
How to find a teacher who is the right match
How to prepare for an audition
What to expect from a serious musical education
School-wide Assembly: Music in Context
The Tesla Quartet also offers programs that are part performance, part discussion, featuring a complete work for string quartet. Past presentations have featured works by Shostakovich, Janáček, and Kevin Puts, with a focus on the historical, literary, or social context.
The Tesla Quartet can plan three-day visits in the fall and spring semesters where they work with students on pre-selected repertoire, culminating in a performance with the Tesla Quartet joining the student ensemble.