Explore & Learn

Explore & Learn is an ongoing partnership with the PSO and The Music Hall. Offering school-day programs for students, these concerts aim to educate and inspire students. 

Meet The Orchestra — virtually!

As part of the PSO’s ongoing Explore & Learn partnership with the Portsmouth Elementary Schools, we connected with the music teachers Abigail Keller (Dondero School), Karen Marceau (New Franklin School), and Gina Connolly (Little Harbor School), to film a series of “pandemic friendly” videos introducing the different instruments of the orchestra. Instead of bringing the students to hear a concert at The Music Hall, we brought the orchestra to them!

In this two-part collaboration, fourteen Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra principal musicians were each asked to record a 60 second video at home. Intended to be an opportunity for students to meet one instrument from each of the “family of instruments” that make up an entire orchestra, the PSO musicians introduce their instruments, share what they like about it, and demonstrate some of the cool sounds they can make. The videos were then used in their classrooms as part of the Explore & Learn curriculum.

Next, the talented and creative music teachers Abigail Keller, Gina Connolly, and Karen Marceau, created a wonderfully engaging storyline that tied the instrument introduction videos together for one complete and captivating presentation.

Enjoy! And we look forward to seeing you all in one of our Explore & Learn concerts for young music lovers!

Watch the entire wonderful presentation

For individual videos of the orchestral instruments please see our series below

First off we begin with our wonderful Music Director, John Page, without whom it all would be chaos!

Next comes the string instrument family: violin, viola, cello and double bass. Zoia, Autumn, Johnny and John show you their instruments. There are a lot of string players to make an orchestra special.

The woodwinds sit behind the strings and have many different sounds: flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, the coolest looking one of them all! Meet Aubrie, Sarah, John, and Melissa.

The shiny brass instrument section is also the loudest. The french horn, the trumpet, trombone, and tuba are demonstrated by Sue, Adam, Brandon, and Crystal. The brass is often used at very important moments in the music.

The beautiful harp is famous for its difficulty. It might be the most recognizable instrument on stage, but the harp is not used in every piece of music. You will fall in love when you hear the heavenly sound it makes. Piper has to remember which string is which!

Because there are so many different percussion instruments in the orchestra this video is the longest. Steve is having entirely too much fun making all sorts of sounds. I bet you can build your own percussion instruments at home. Enjoy listening to all sorts of pings, dings and whams.

We hope you are inspired to try out an instrument yourself. We musicians have a lot of fun, meet fabulous friends, and bring joy to people with our concerts. Come join us soon!

Best, your PSO musicians