Community & Education Programs


Through the Gateway Concert Experience, the GCO is dedicated to developing new audiences through educational outreach, and engaging students in hands-on activities to develop an understanding and appreciation for a variety of musical genres and styles. In that endeavor, we are proud to provide lessons and activities that prepare students for upcoming concerts, and educate students about previously performed musical selections by exposing them to the instruments, composers, and musical selections performed by the GCO. We hope that your students and children will enjoy exploring these activities and that, through exposure to new music, they might develop a life-long participation with music and the arts.

Public school directors interested in participating in the Gateway Concert Experience should contact the GCO.

Gateway Concert Experience

Lesson Materials

Click on the concert programs below for lessons and activities for children to learn about upcoming and past GCO programs.


     October 18 2015 Quintessential Mozart

April 27 Children's and Family Concert Rhonda Larson

February 8 - 9, 2015 Romantic Visions

Nov. 16, 2014 Papa Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony

About Papa Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony
Teaching Resources for Papa Haydn's Farewell Symphony
Listening Activity
Other Instructional Activities 

Sept. 13, 2014 Classical Elegance

Mar. 30-31: Historic Seconds

Feb. 9-10, 2014: Wind Serenades

Nov. 3, 2013: Family Concert: Carnival of the Animals

About Carnival of the Animals
Teaching Resources for Carnival of the Animals
Lesson Options for Instruments
Lesson Options for Carnival of the Animals 

Oct. 27-28, 2013: Romantic Strings


Papa Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony
Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Mabry Concert Hall (APSU) 

This Family Concert is based on the humorous book written by Anna Celenza, which tells the story of musicians who long to go home. Also well known for her work on National Public Radio, the author will narrate this story. Pre-concert children's activities will include an instrumental petting zoo and craft projects, which will begin at 2 p.m. in the Music/Mass Communication Building on the campus of Austin Peay State University. The Family & Children's Concert Series is generously sponsored by Planters Bank.


WORK: Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp Minor, "Farewell"

COMPOSER: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

About the Composer

Franz Joseph HaydnFranz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was a well-known composer in Austria and throughout Europe in the later part of the 1700s, a time period now known as the Classical Era. The early classical period is the age when music that we think of as classical music was first beginning to sound the way we now expect classical music to sound, and Haydn’s music is the main reason for this.

Haydn is commonly called the father of many well-known types of music. He developed a type of music called a symphony and wrote over 100 symphonies, so he is known as the father of the symphony. He is also wrote several compositions for two violins, viola and cello and has therefore become known as the father of the string quartet.

Haydn spent much of his life as a court composer, writing music for the wealthy Esterhazy family, and the musical ensembles at the Esterhazy palace. It is because of Haydn’s troublesome relationship with his employer that much of his music was composed with very subtle hints of comedy and wit.


About the work

A symphony is a piece of music written for an orchestra, usually in four sections or movements, each movement with a standard pattern or form. Haydn is considered the father of the symphony because he was one of the earliest composers to use this model, and composers ever since have based their symphonies on Haydn’s model. The movements of a symphony are usually:

Movement 1: Quick tempo and medium to loud dynamic, with time-signature of 2 or 4.
Movement 2: Usually slower and softer than the first movement, with a pretty or sad melody
Movement 3: Usually a quick dance with a time signature of 3 beats per measure (like a waltz).
Movement 4: Sometimes sounds a lot like the first movement, but louder and faster, ending with a bang.


What is the story behind Symphony No. 45?

According to historical resources, Haydn and the other musicians at the Esterhazy palace had been working steadily for several months without a vacation. The exhausted musicians pleaded Haydn to ask for some time away from the palace to rest and visit their families, but the prince refused. So, Haydn composed Symphony 45, the Farewell Symphony, as a subtle way of begging the prince to let the musicians go on vacation.

In the fourth movement, the musicians are instructed to one-at-a-time turn their stand lights off, gather their instrument and music, and walk off stage as the rest of the orchestra continues to play. By the end of the last movement, the only musicians on stage are the conductor and one violin. The prince appreciated Haydn’s humor, recognized what Haydn was trying to say, and let the musicians go on vacation.



Teaching Resources

YouTube recordings of the Farewell Symphony:

I. Allegro Assai
II. Adagio
III. Minuet and Trio
IV. Finale: Presto
         Note: Watch the left side of the screen beginning around 3:05.



Listening Activity

There are many other compositions by Haydn that reveal his humor and musical creativity. Read each story below, one at a time, and see how well students can find the listening example that matches (do not allow students to see the screen as you play the examples, or students will see the answers).

Standard 6: Listening and Analyzing

Stories      Listening Examples

One of these pieces was written after Haydn visited London. He was so moved by the famous Big Bend Clock that he wrote a piece in its honor. Is it the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th listening example?


One of these pieces is called the Drum Roll Symphony for the way it opens with a brief timpani solo. Is it the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th listening example?

One of these symphonies was supposed to surprise, or wake-up the prince who kept falling asleep during Haydn’s concerts. Is it the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th listening example?

One of these symphonies is called the Horn Signal for the way it features French horn hunting calls. Is it the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th listening example?  



Other Instructional Activities


1) Instrument Recognition: To ensure your students know the names of each instrument, print instrument flashcards from this link and modify any current flashcard game (matching, memory, identification, etc..) for use with instrument names and families

2) Encourage student to take a melody they can already play on xylophone or recorder and use that melody to create a themed composition by inserting suitable sound effects using traditional or non-traditional instruments (Example: Hot Cross Buns becomes The Pencil Sharpener Symphony). Given certain parameters, students may also compose their own short melodies for this exercise.

Standard 2: Playing Instruments
Standard 3: Improvise

3) If you have the instrumental resources, teach your classes to perform the melody or the full arrangement of the Surprise Symphony and perform it on a program.

Standard 2: Playing Instruments
Standard 5: Reading and Notating Music



Family Concert
Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Mabry Concert Hall (APSU) 

The Family Concert is a new event that will feature music for children of all ages and include pre-concert activities for children. The music selected for the Family Concerts is chosen for its student-friendly programmability, and for its importance in the musical development of elementary students. This year’s Family Concert, featuring Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns, will be on Sunday afternoon, November 3rd at 3:00 p.m. We invite you to come one hour earlier, at 2:00, for pre-concert activities including crafts and an instrument petting zoo.

WORK: Carnival of the Animals

COMPOSER: Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)

About the work: Carnival of the Animals is a suite of 14 movements that use different orchestral instruments to represent various animals.

What is a SUITE: A suite is a collection of smaller sections, or movements, of music that are all part of a larger composition. In the case of Carnival of the Animals, each movement represents a different animal:

- Introduction and March of the Lions
- Hens and Roosters
- Wild Donkeys
- Tortoises
- The Elephant
- Kangaroos
- Aquarium
- Persons with Long Ears
- The Cuckoo in the Deep Woods
- Aviary
- Pianists
- Fossils
- The Swan
- Finale


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Teaching Resources

Carnival of the Animals Video:

(Gateway Chamber Orchestra’s instrumentation will differ slightly than the ensemble on the video.)

Carnival of the Animals poem by Ogden Nash
Note: In some translations, Wild Donkeys is referred to by a different title and may need some editing for young readers.

For the Family Concert, we will read the Carnival of the Animals story by John Lithgow. This book is based on the Saint-Saëns’ composition and was written as a libretto for the New York City Ballet production of Carnival of the Animals. In the book, Lithgow tells a story of a young boy who accidently gets locked in the Museum of Natural History. As he sleeps, he dreams of the animals coming to life and what would happen if his friends, classmates, teachers and parents were turned into one of the animals.


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Instrument Lessons Options

Matching sheets and coloring sheets
Learn about brass, string woodwind, and percussion instruments with these worksheets. (Scroll down to bottom of page)

Instrument flashcards
Access and print out these flashcards and modify any current flashcard game (matching, memory, identification, etc..) for use with instrument names and families

Get Crafty!
Have your child make their favorite instrument from recycled materials with these fantastic ideas from Pinterest and Family Fun.

Look up what instruments look like in different cultures or countries using Google search or resources available in your school's library.


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Carnival of the Animals Lessons Options

Option 1

To introduce students to various famous artists and their distinct styles of painting, have students paint any of the animals from Carnival of the Animals in the style of one of the famous painters you would like to study. 


Option 2

In keeping with the theme of Lithgow’s book, and as a further extension of the art / music lessons, ask students to write a short story on the following theme:

If you were turned into one of the animals listed above, which would you choose to be?

- What would you do?
- Where would you go?

Write a short story about your experiences as a(n) ____________(the animal).

Then draw or paint a caricature of yourself as that animal doing something from your story


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Masterworks Series Concert IV

George Butterworth   - The Banks of Green Willow

John Luther Adams  - Become River
Ludwig Van Beethoven  - - Symphony No. 6 in F "Pastoral"


As the 2016-17 season concludes, set sail with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra on a captivating musical journey. Celebrating the scenic beauty of Tennessee, John Luther Adams’ Become River takes you on a downstream journey. Herald the summer with an enthralling rendition of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.

Sunday, April 30 at 4:00pm

George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall
Austin Peay State University
Clarksville, Tennessee



Monday, May 1 at 7:30pm

The Franklin Theatre
419 Main Street
Franklin, Tennessee 37064

Buy Franklin Tickets (Franklin Concert)

- Doors open 30 minutes prior