To support school orchestras,
TFO teaches the teachers
When Meghan Lance took over as the orchestra
director at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental
Middle School, she had her work cut out for her.
Trained as a singer and chorus teacher, Mrs. Lance
knew music, but guiding an orchestra was a big
leap. She was a great candidate for The Florida
Orchestra’s Teaching Artist Partnership Program,
a resource for school orchestras in conjunction
with Pinellas County schools.
For the first year of the program in 2017, Mrs.
Lance worked closely with TFO Teaching Artist
and violinist Kristin Baird. She got regular
classroom visits, private music lessons, and
learned how to teach strings from a real pro.
Baird spent half of her time in the schools and the
other half on stage with The Florida Orchestra.
That’s what makes TFO’s two teaching artists
unique. As professional performing musicians, teaching artists spend a lot of time
demonstrating artistic excellence so that students will understand just how beautiful
a stringed instrument can sound. We hope to inspire students to continue playing and
appreciating music. That’s the biggest impact TFO can make.
A big part of the TFO program is teaching the teachers, but students benefit the most. TFO
encourages partner schools to play in the lobby before concerts as well as attend orchestra
“They love it,” Mrs. Lance said. “They loved performing at the Coffee concert … And they
love that Ms. Kristin visits the classroom and then they get to see her play in the orchestra.
They absolutely enjoy having the teaching artists come in and work with us!”
For Mrs. Lance, the TFO partnership has paid off where it matters. “The knowledge I’ve
gained, and that these kids have received as a result of these teaching artists has, in my
opinion, been immeasurable. … I couldn’t have done it without the partnership.”
THE FLORIDA ORCHESTRA | 2018-2019