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Education & Outreach

Priscilla Smith demonstrates recordersPiffaro has many offerings for students, pre-professionals, amateurs and community members of all ages. From school performances to intensive week-long workshops, from master classes to private lessons, the variety of educational experiences that the ensemble and its members can provide is limited only by time and the imagination! It is no wonder that Piffaro has been honored twice by Early Music America for its work on behalf of all interested learners.

Learn About Our Instruments

Piffaro Collegium Musicum

In Philadelphia, Bob and Joan coach the Piffaro Collegium, which gives experienced amateurs and pre-professionals the opportunity to study and rehearse a focused program of music for eight weeks, culminating in an informal concert for the community. Learn more about the Fall 2014 Collegium Musicum.

Schools & Universities

At the school-age level, Piffaro provides entertaining and educational programs demonstrating its many instruments, and providing historical background for Renaissance music. Artistic co-director Joan Kimball specializes in teaching recorder, and works with diverse groups of children in and around Philadelphia. The students’ experiences frequently culminate with school assemblies, during which student performers and Piffaro members share the stage.

Piffaro Competion 2011Piffaro is active in high school and college settings as well, both for music appreciators and rigorous academicians. The group can be in residence for a full week and work with students in a variety of ways: coaching band ensembles on Renaissance music, teaching Renaissance dance, working with groups of singers on madrigals, demonstrating the instruments, and explaining their role in the music and the history of the period. Colleges that have engaged Piffaro for such residencies include Duke University, Gettysburg College and St. Olaf College, among others. Contact us to learn more!

Workshops & Lectures

Piffaro ensemble members frequently lead and teach at national workshops and festivals such as the Madison Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival, San Francisco Early Music Society’s Medieval/Renaissance and Recorder Workshops, the Texas Toot in Austin, and the semi-annual early double reed workshop sponsored by Early Music in Motion outside of Bloomington IN. Classes at these workshops are tailored for amateurs, pre-professionals, and professionals and range in topics focusing on technique and repertoire for the varied instruments – recorders, double reeds, sackbuts, plucked strings and the like – to reed-making, historical opera and period performance practice.
PIffaro directors Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken are available for lectures and demonstrations, as well. These can be geared to any age and interest level, from pre-school to graduate school to amateurs and interested adults. Contact us for more!

The Next Generation

Recorder CompetitionPiffaro is committed to bringing along a new generation of early music performers, and encourages them on all levels. Members of the ensemble teach and coach young sackbut, double reed, recorder and plucked string players at the college and graduate levels. Reaching back to even younger students, Piffaro has since 2007 offered a bi-annual National Recorder Competition for middle and high school players, bringing four to five finalists to a live competition in Philadelphia. The winner performs the following season alongside Piffaro members in one of its series programs in Philadelphia. Get information about the 2015 Recorder Competition.