Educational and community engagement are core elements of The Westerlies' mission. Each season, the ensemble inspires thousands of students around the country with their innovative assemblies and masterclasses. The Westerlies are committed to dismantling racism, sexism, and economic inequality in their field, and aim to reflect their values of diversity and inclusion in the music they make and the spaces they occupy.
The following program offerings can be customized to engage all audience and experience levels. Feel free to contact us for more information! For testimonials from community partners with whom The Westerlies have worked in recent seasons, see below.
MUSIC & EMOTIONS
General Assembly, K-12, 45-60 Minutes
Designed to engage non-musicians and musicians of all ages and experience levels, this highly participatory program demonstrates the power of music to evoke emotions and inspire imaginations. Through a series of sample pieces, instrument demonstrations, and interactive games, the ensemble empowers students to become composers in real time, culminating in the world premiere of the students’ collective composition.
IMPROVISATION FOR EVERYONE
Classroom, Grades 6+, 60-120 Minutes
The Westerlies strongly believe in improvisation as a universal means of personal expression and communication. In this hands-on workshop for musicians of all instruments, experience levels, and stylistic backgrounds, The Westerlies break down the fear and barriers to improvisation through a series of group improvisation games and exercises. In a short time, the ensemble empowers participants to express themselves through creative music, improvisation, and composition.
LECTURE / DEMONSTRATION
Ages 16+, 60 minutes
An audience engagement presentation geared towards musicians and nonmusicians alike, including musical performance, in-depth historical review, land Q&A throughout. Sample programs include:
Breaking Barriers: Exploring the Intersection of Jazz & Classical Music
Musical Translation: Adapting Music from Diverse Sources for Chamber Ensemble
Songs We Sang: American Vocal Music of the 20th Century
TRADITIONAL MASTERCLASS / COACHING
All ages, 60-120 minutes
The Westerlies will engage soloists, small, or large ensembles to offer technical, stylistic, and creative feedback. Groups of any instrumentation, genre, or experience level are welcome.
All ages, 60-180 minutes
The Westerlies will engage community members through a public rehearsal of the ensemble’s current repertoire. Questions from the audience are welcome throughout the process.
BRASS BOOT CAMP
All ages, 90-180 minutes
The Westerlies’ Brass Bootcamp is designed to help students engage with the fundamental techniques of brass playing and creatively explore the full sonic possibilities of their instruments. The workshop includes individual and ensemble demonstrations, extensive student participation, breakouts by instrument, and take-home practice materials.
COLLEGE AUDITION WORKSHOP
Grades 10-12, 120-180 Minutes
The Westerlies will discuss the college research, application, and audition process in depth. Topics covered include selecting the proper school for oneself, audition etiquette, repertoire selection, and financial aid information. The workshop can also incorporate mock auditions, and the creation of a personalized timeline of audition preparation leading up to audition day.
THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC
Grades 10+ through college, 60-90 Minutes
The Westerlies discuss the nuts and bolts of a life in music beyond the stage. Sharing personal stories from years of professional experience, the ensemble can discuss topics including entrepreneurship, booking performances, managing finances, non-profit management, maintaining working relationships, and reaching consensus in a democratically operated business.
Grades 10+ through college, 120-180 Minutes
As avid composer-performers, The Westerlies can speak in great detail about the compositional process, commissioning new work from other composers, writing for brass instruments, and various compositional techniques and approaches.
All Ages, 60-90 Minutes
The Westerlies select seminal recordings and discuss their importance in the context of music history. The listening repertoire can be catered to various themes, including, but not limited to:
Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Intersection of Jazz, Classical, and Folk Traditions
Westerly Pedigree: Tracing the Westerlies’ Musical Lineage
The Westerlies will rehearse and perform music alongside partnering musicians/ensemble. The option to commission a new piece or arrangement from the Westerlies is available.
"It's hard to capture lightning in a bottle but our week with The Westerlies in Montgomery did just that. Their musicianship is unparalleled and their talent extraordinary but that doesn’t begin to capture what they accomplished for our Students.
ClefWorks connects musicians with students in schools that are underserved in the arts. We try to offer a dose of inspiration through talent and connection in small groups. Few groups have been as effective, empathetic and energizing as The Westerlies. They play without sheet music or stands, moving around and through the students and in all sorts of venues. The connection that fosters surprised me. It was far more engaging for our students to see them in that vibrant way. In addition, they’ve crafted several engagement activities that are designed to make students consider deeply the power of composition and teamwork — lessons far beyond the Stage.
The impression and inspiration they left behind in our schools will last for years to come. Especially powerful for our students is their personal story of how they came together through school band and built lasting careers traveling around the world. You can’t imagine the doors that opens for our students, many of whom have never been to a concert or left their home county. The energy, generosity and empathy of The Westerlies will linger long after their songs."
- Jenny Brown, Clefworks Montgomery, AL
“The Westerlies hit each of our high school band rooms with a creative force that energized, enriched and motivated our students. From the inspiration they received in hearing of the group members’ own journeys, to the artistic skills of developing a musical idea into composition, our jazz students experienced something unique that will last them throughout their musical lives. Five months later, I stopped in one of our band classes and caught the students 'Westerliesing'! The group name has now become a verb among our young musicians.”
- Debbie Fahmie, Osceola District Schools, FL
“The Westerlies are a charismatic quartet and they are a joy to present to any audience! Their creative programming and energetic personalities make them accessible to students of all ages. Their ability to connect with young people and share their talents of performance, composition and teaching make them true ambassadors of world-class music making!”
- Emily Werne, The Juilliard School
“The Westerlies took our summer program to a whole new level. These four musicians, accessible and down to earth with a strong communication style and good sense of fun, helped our students take their improvising from the theoretical to the practical, pushing them to think out of the box and not be afraid to do so. They were so popular with our students that we are bringing them back this year to do two more master classes.”
- Britt Madsen, Seattle JazzEd
“When they come to town, musical excitement always ensues. This year, they were featured artists in our Jazz in the Methow Weekend, where they performed in concert, fired up an all-ages jam session, and led a fascinating improvisation workshop attended by nineteen people ranging in age from 14 to 80. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with these very creative musicians."
- George Schneider, Cascadia Music, WA