Music! Words! Opera!

mwo webpage

Music! Words! Opera! (M!W!O!) is an opera education curriculum written by classroom music teachers, curriculum specialists, composers and opera professionals at OPERA America. Through the study of opera and music-theatre masterpieces, this multidisciplinary curriculum presents the conventions of opera and allows students to compose and perform an original work.

Boston Lyric Opera presents its third season of Music! Words! Opera! In the 2013/14 season participating schools are studying Aïda and applying what they learn to the creation of original operas in their classrooms.

Click here to see a video about Music! Words! Opera!

For more information contact Beth Mullins, Manager of Education and Community Program Development, at education@blo.org

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Any school can join Music! Words! Opera! and teams of teachers are encouraged to get involved together. Participation traditionally begins with attendance at a FREE summer workshop hosted by BLO, but you can still fully participate in the program with your students if you’re not able to attend the workshop. Teachers attending the workshop can earn Professional Development Points (PDPs).

M!W!O! materials are available for purchase from Opera America. The Music! Words! Opera! curriculum includes textbooks that contain different operas for study, adaptable to any grade level. The Create Your Own Music! Words! Opera! textbook provides teachers with the tools to guide their students through the composition, preparation, and performance of their own original work of music-theatre. How you use the material is up to you. BLO provides M!W!O! classrooms with support throughout the school year, including classroom visits with BLO’s performing and teaching artists and the opportunity to perform on a professional stage as a part of BLO’s annual Festival of Classroom Operas at Wheelock Family Theatre. (Check out the Enrichment Opportunities tab for more details.)

Our next free M!W!O! Teacher Workshop will take place August 11-15, 2014. Click on the Workshop Registration tab to sign up for this free professional development workshop. For more information, email the Community Engagement Department at education@blo.org or call 617.542.4912 x240.

Remaining 2013/2014 School Year Events Include:

Classroom Opera Explorations – March-May 2014

BLO Resident Teaching Artist, Heather Gallagher, guides M!W!O! teachers and students through the process of creating their own classroom operas through a series of free workshops.  Teachers may sign up for up to 10 workshops covering topics such as “What is opera?,” writing a compelling storyline, stage movement and gestures, and storytelling through stage design.

Festival of Classroom Operas at Wheelock Family TheatreFriday, May 30, 2014

Students and teachers visit Wheelock Family Theatre for the day to participate in theatre workshops and to perform their original classroom operas for friends and family on a professional stage.

2014/15 School Year Events for Music! Words! Opera! Classrooms will include:

Teacher Training Workshop (PDP’s available) at Boston Lyric Opera – August 11 – 15, 2014

Rehearsal Visit – Fall 2014
M!W!O! classrooms are welcome to attend a rehearsal of one of BLO’s upcoming productions.

Classroom visits by a BLO singer – January and February 2015
BLO performing artists and BLO Resident Teaching Artist lead performance-based presentations for M!W!O! classrooms across the greater Boston area.

Classroom Opera Explorations – March-May 2015

BLO’s Resident Teaching Artist guides M!W!O! teachers and students through the process of creating their own classroom operas through a series of free workshops.  Teachers may sign up for up to 10 workshops covering topics such as “What is opera?,” writing a compelling storyline, stage movement and gestures, and storytelling through stage design.

Festival of Classroom Operas at Wheelock Family Theatre
Late May or Early June of 2015. Details to come.

Music! Words! Opera! Teacher Workshop Sign-Up
Help us kickoff Music! Words! Opera! at Boston Lyric Opera this summer by signing up for our free summer teacher workshop! This workshop is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with other teachers while learning more about incorporating the performing arts within your classrooms. Workshop participants are eligible to earn Professional Development Points.

Sign up here to register for the workshop.

Space in the free workshop is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Registration forms are due by July 28, 2014.

Music! Words! Opera! is an opera education curriculum written by classroom music teachers, curriculum specialists, composers and opera professionals. Through the study of opera and music-theatre masterpieces, this multidisciplinary curriculum presents the conventions of opera and allows students to compose and perform an original work.

Boston Lyric Opera presents its third season of Music! Words! Opera! In the 2014/15 season participating schools will be studying The Barber of Seville and applying what they learn to the creation of original operas in their classrooms.

For more information contact Beth Mullins, Manager of Education and Community Program Development at education@blo.org.

Any school can join Music! Words! Opera! and teams of teachers are encouraged to get involved together. Participation traditionally begins with attendance at a FREE summer workshop hosted by BLO, but you can still fully participate in the program with your students if you’re not able to attend the workshop. Teachers attending the workshop can earn Professional Development Points (PDPs).

M!W!O! materials are available for purchase from Opera America. The textbooks contain different operas for study, and all of the activities are adaptable to a variety of grade levels. The Create Your Own Music! Words! Opera! textbook provides teachers with the tools to guide their students through the composition, preparation, and performance of their own original work of music-theatre. How you use the material is up to you. BLO can provide suggestions and assistance and will schedule special events for you and your students to take advantage of throughout the school year. (Check out the Enrichment Opportunities tab for a few examples.)

Free Teacher Training Workshop (PDP’s available) at Boston Lyric Opera
August 11 – 15, 2014

Register under the Workshop Registration tab.

What is Music! Words! Opera!?
At its heart, M!W!O! is a multi-faceted program that provides educators with the resources to teach their students about opera. It all begins with a five-day summer workshop for which teachers can earn PDP’s. During this workshop, which is led by skilled facilitators from OPERA America, the national service organization for the field of opera, participants will be led through the content of the M!W!O! textbooks. There are three updated publications of textbooks designed for students in grades K-12.  These include Hansel and Gretal, Aida, and Create Your Own Music! Words! Opera!. It was written by a team of authors, including music teachers, curriculum specialists, composers and opera professionals. Through the study of opera and music-theater masterpieces, this multi-disciplinary curriculum presents the conventions of opera and allows students to compose and perform original music-theater works.

What is in the textbooks?
M!W!O! is currently a series of three textbooks:

  • Music! Words! Opera! Featuring Hansel and Gretel
  • Music! Words! Opera! Featuring Aida
  • Music! Words! Opera! Create Your Own Opera or Music-Theater

The Hansel and Gretel and Aida textbooks introduce students to the operatic art form and explore how and why these specific operas were written. The textbooks include full-length DVDs accompanied by lesson plans, descriptions of in-class activities, a listening guide, and an assessment toolkit..

The Create Your Own textbook guides teachers through the process of creating their own operas or music-theater productions within their classrooms.

Why Music! Words! Opera!?
Boston Lyric Opera knows that your classroom time is precious, but that including arts in the school day is vital for a well-rounded education. M!W!O! was developed to reflect the highly interdisciplinary nature of opera and to promote the art form as an excellent tool to aid students and teachers in their explorations of history, language, literature and music.  M!W!O! places students at the center of their learning as they work in partnership with teachers and artists to find new creative means of self-expression through the study of opera.

What are teachers saying about BLO’s M!W!O! workshop?
The instructors were wonderful. The fact that music teachers could work together with classroom teachers to complete a piece of work was amazing, fun, and I learned a lot!  - 4th Grade Teacher

Many of the activities would work for any class!  - 2nd Grade Teacher

My dream is to create an after school opera club with 5th grade students and help them create a fabulous production!   - K-5 Music Teacher

Great workshop – I will definitely spread the word at my school! - 4th Grade Teacher

How much does it cost to participate?
There is NO COST for teachers to attend the workshop or participate in the school year M!W!O! enrichment activities. You will just need to purchase the M!W!O! textbook in order to participate in the workshop and subsequent activities..

Where will it be held?
The workshop will be held at 11 Avenue de Lafayette in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The building is the home of BLO’s offices and easily accessible from Green, Red, and Orange T lines and South Station on the commuter rail. Parking lots are also nearby.

Where do I order the textbooks?
The M!W!O! textbooks can be purchased through OPERA America. Textbooks cost $39.95 each plus shipping.  For the 2014 workshop, the Create Your Own textbook will be required.

Does the workshop go all day?
Yes. Plan to arrive by 8:30am and finish at 4:00pm each day.

Will there be an opportunity to have guests come to speak with the kids?
Yes. Classrooms participating in the Create Your Own portion of Music! Words! Opera! will have the option of hosting a singer, director or designer from Boston Lyric Opera.

What are the resources that BLO provides?
We know that every classroom teacher is not an opera expert and that in some cases you will be learning and growing right along with your students. However, you will have access to the Community Engagement Department staff at BLO who can help you answer questions, gain clarity, and generate ideas. In addition, classrooms participating in Create Your Own will have the option of hosting BLO performing and teaching artists.

When is the deadline to sign up for the workshop?
The deadline for workshop signup is July 28, 2014.

If I cannot come to the workshop, can I still use the curriculum for the upcoming year?
Absolutely! Although you will not earn PDP’s, BLO is still happy to support your use of the curriculum.

When is the classroom performance festival day for the Create Your Own program?
The Festival of Classroom Operas for the 2013/2014 school year will take place on Friday, May 30th at Wheelock Family Theatre. If you are an educator interested in adopting the Music! Words! Opera! curriculum at your school, and would like to check out the work of this year’s participants, please contact Beth Mullins at emullins@blo.org or 617-542-4912 x240 for more information.