The Cliburn designed Cliburn in the Classroom, its signature music education program, to introduce young audiences to classical music. Cliburn in the Classroom programs present the excitement of live piano performances to second-, third-, and fourth-grade students and reinforce the basic elements of music through fun, interactive activities within the context of classical piano repertoire. Cliburn in the Classroom is presented annually to more than 57,000 public elementary students across North Texas. The programs are offered at no cost to participating schools.

Dr. John Feierabend, nationally known director of music education at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford, and Shields-Collins Bray, principal keyboardist of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, developed Cliburn in the Classroom presentations. Each interactive concert, which lasts about 40 minutes, features a program facilitator and guest pianist. A grand piano is brought into the school, and a camcorder and projector are used to project the pianist’s hands onto a screen for all students to view. Illustrations further enhance the students’ experiences.

These programs enable students to approach music through multiple intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. In addition, they address national standards in the arts for music education.

The Cliburn produces a study guide in collaboration with the Fort Worth Independent School District for classroom use. The study guide reinforces the schools’ core curriculum through classroom activities and research materials, thus extending the benefits of the Cliburn in the Classroom program and meeting state-mandated education guidelines.

Music Education Consultant – Dr. John Feierabend
Artistic Advisor – Shields-Collins Bray

 Cliburn in the Classroom 2022–2023 Programs 

1. Playing With Numbers

This program strengthens math proficiency and music literacy by exploring rhythm, meter, and tempo. Students will be asked to solve basic math problems (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions) as they relate to each piece.
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Featured pieces:

 BRUBECK Blue Rondo a la Turk 

Unsquare Dance 

MOZART Sonata in A Major, K. 331 

BARTÓK Peasant Song from 10 Easy Pieces, Sz. 39 2 

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The Flight of the Bumblebee 

KHACHATURIAN Waltz from “Masquerade” 

KABALEVSKY Slow Waltz from 24 Pieces for Children, op. 39, no. 23 

2. Beethoven 

 This program gives an in-depth look at one of music history’s most celebrated composers. It is designed to increase social-emotional awareness and music literacy by exploring the ways that emotion is portrayed in Beethoven’s music. Topics include mode, tempo, and articulation.
Related videos: My Country ‘Tis of Thee Pt. 1

Featured pieces:

 Variations in C Major on “God Save the King,” WoO 78 

Rondo e Capriccio, op. 129 (“Rage Over A Lost Penny”) 

Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, op. 13 “Pathétique” (II. Adagio cantabile) 

Sonata No. 6 in F Major, op. 10, no. 2 (III. Presto) 

Sonata No. 12 in A-flat Major, op. 26 (III. Marcia funebre) 

Sonata No. 25 in G Major, op. 79 (I. Presto alla tedesca) 

Für Elise 

Ecossaises WoO 83 

3. A Celebration of Latin America 

This program celebrates the unique language of Latin American classical music, and how composers portray their identity and traditions through the piano. Topics include traditional instruments, dance, and rhythms, with opportunities for students to participate in each.

Featured pieces:

FRANK Barcarola Latinoamericana 

PONCE Cuatro Danzas Mexicanas (I. Vivo) 

NAVARRO Son a Papá 

CARREÑO Pequeño vals “Mi Teresita” 

VILLA-LOBOS Dansa: Miudinho from “Bacchianas Brasileiras” No. 4 


4. Winter

Music and art have always been complimentary subjects, and this program helps students make relevant connections between impressionist visual art and impressionist music. It invites the kids to use their imagination to see the winter images and their favorite wintertime activities that are represented in the music. It also introduces them to relevant musical terms to help them understand how that style of music is composed.
Related Videos: Snowflakes Are Falling

Featured pieces:

DEBUSSY “The Snow is Dancing” from Children’s Corner 

“Footprints in the Snow” from Preludes, Book I 

“Feuilles Mortes” from Preludes, Book II 

KORNGOLD Der Schneemann (II. Entr’acte) 

CHOPIN Etude in A Minor, op. 25, no. 11 (“Winter Wind”) 

TCHAIKOVSKY The Seasons, op. 37b, no. 11 November (“Troika”) 

5. Story Songs

This program invites students to participate in storytelling and imaginative play through music, while giving volunteers their directorial debut. Costumes and props included. It features Cliburn in the Classroom host and opera star Corrie Donovan in a program of vocal music. Composers presented include Bernstein and Copland, among others.
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For more information about Cliburn in the Classroom, please contact Nicole Paglialonga at or call 817.738.6536.





Alcon Foundation
Arts Council of Fort Worth
BNSF Foundation
Capital One, N.A.
Communities Foundation of Texas
Fash Foundation
Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation
The DuBose Family Foundation
The Graham and Carolyn Holloway Family Foundation Trust
Lowe Foundation
R4 Foundation
Scot and Melissa Hollmann Foundation Endowment of the Arkansas Community Foundation
Texas Commission on the Arts