Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s New Virtual Orchestral Literacy Course

 In Arts and Culture, Ready For You

As part of its Adult Music Education series, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra is offering a virtual three-session Orchestral Literacy Course designed to give both long-time symphony attendees and those with limited exposure to classical music a deeper appreciation for the orchestral concert experience. 

Taught by SSO Education Director Kirsten Lipkens, the course begins on Thursday, March 18th, and continues every other Thursday through April 15th. Kirsten will cover how an orchestra works, what a conductor does, how a score is interpreted, how composers use the building blocks of form and structure to develop a piece of music, and much more. No prior music theory knowledge is necessary, and depending on their interest level, participants can take one, two, or all three sessions: 

March 18th, 7:30 pm – Deconstructing a Classical Symphony Orchestra Concert This introductory session explores questions such as “Why does the first violinist walk onstage and tune the orchestra?,” “What do the arm patterns of the conductor mean?,” “What is a score and how does the conductor use it?,” along with a discussion of seating in the orchestra, a look at instrument families, and an explanation of basic musical terms, providing a sound foundation for better understanding and enjoying a symphony orchestra concert. 

April 1st, 7:30 pm – The Composer: The Painter of Music Much like painters use brushes and pigments to express their art on a canvas, composers use melody, harmony, texture, rhythm/meter, tempo, and dynamics to create their symphonic masterpieces. Using both musical excerpts and visual aids, this interactive session will explore how these musical hues work together to form a classical composition. 

April 15th, 7:30 pm – The Architecture of Sound – Form and Structure in Music Form in classical music is the overall structure of a piece. We may not be aware of it, but without structure, a piece of music would be nothing more than a random set of ideas and the result would leave the listener completely unsatisfied. Using recordings from the SSO archives and plenty of visual examples, this session takes a deep dive into the most popular building blocks of musical form. 

Sessions are $25 each or the series can be purchased for a discounted rate of $60.00. Events will be held via Zoom, and the link will be emailed after registration. Full details and registration information are available on the Symphony website at https://www.springfieldsymphony.org/adult-music-education-classes. Registration closes a half hour before each event. 

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Through the Card to Culture program, individuals who are EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare card holders may get free tickets to this course. Contact Education Director Kirsten Lipkens at klipkens@springfieldsymphony.org if you are interested. 

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