Composer in the Classroom (CITC) is an innovative, creative programme offered by the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) to students in grades 5 to 7 in the Niagara Region. Guided by the NSO’s Associate Conductor Laura Thomas, students work in small groups using xylophones to explore the compositional process and experiment with melody, harmonic style, form and orchestration. Student compositions are performed by NSO musicians at a school concert.

CITC is unique in the Niagara Region and supports Ontario Ministry of Education music curriculum objectives. Most importantly, students are challenged to work collaboratively and creatively as they explore their musical imagination.

For Teachers:

  • Applications are distributed electronically in early September
  • Composer delivers teacher orientation seminar in-school, 5 - 6 weeks prior to the programme
  • Teachers receive a five-lesson instructional package for use in advance
  • The programme offers teachers excellent job-imbedded professional development
  • Review and assessment materials are provided following each day’s session
  • CITC is endorsed and financially supported by both the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board

For Parents:

  • In some schools, CITC is engaged and funded by Parent Council initiatives
  • Family members are welcome to attend the final concert performance of student works
  • CITC participants receive a NSO concert voucher; we encourage families to further explore all that classical music has to offer

For further information or to receive an application please contact the NSO Education and Communications Manager at 905-687-4993 ext. 223 or email BJ Armstrong.

Composer in the Classroom is generously supported by the Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation.

CITC Quick Facts:

  • CITC is presented in up to five schools annually in both Niagara Boards of Education
  • Two classes from each school work in four groups, resulting in eight student compositions at each school
  • Features four 90-minute sessions with the composer plus a concert performance by NSO musicians
  • A comprehensive preparatory package is sent in advance; review and assessment material is provided throughout the programme
  • Students receive instruction in composition and begin to explore their own melodic ideas (first three sessions)
  • Four NSO musicians participate in an orchestration workshop, working with the students to refine their compositions (fourth session)
  • CITC has academic cross-curricular applications in support of literacy and math/ numeracy goals, as well as outcomes that develop collaborative work patterns, critical thinking and decision-making
  • Student compositions are performed by symphony musicians in a concert for an audience of school and community guests
  • Arts consultants from both local boards support the programme
  • CITC supports Ontario music curriculum expectations
  • Schools are presented with a finished, bound copy of all their students’ compositions and an archival recording of the concert