Learn about the instruments, composers, pieces, and how to conduct - from our home to yours!

Activity of the Week -

Sharon Isbin & Classical Guitar

This week’s lesson features Sharon Isbin, the guitarist who created the guitar program at the Juilliard School!

Originally from Minnesota, Sharon Isbin started learning the guitar in Italy when she was nine years old. Although she wanted to study science and space travel, Sharon continued to work hard on her instrument. At 14 years old, she performed with a professional orchestra for the first time and found her passion for performance. Sharon has been touring Europe annually in concert since she was 17 and founded the guitar department at the Juilliard School. To add to her extensive list of accomplishments, Sharon has performed for the Obama’s in the White House and won two Grammy awards. 

As You Listen...

  • In this video, Sharon Isbin is playing one of the most famous classical guitar pieces ever written, Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra. This music requires the use of tremolo, a technique the musician uses to create the fast sound in her right hand. To make things harder, the melody is played at the same time as the tremolo! 
  • When listening to Sharon play this piece, does it sound like one person playing the music? Why or why not?
  • This piece was written about a Spanish palace that the composer had walked through. When you listen to Sharon play, what do you imagine seeing at this palace? (Hint: Tárrega loved the water fountains).

Fun Facts!

  • Our Music Director Yaniv Attar studied guitar with Sharon Isbin at Juilliard.
  • Sharon Isbin performed with the BSO for Yaniv’s first concert conducting the orchestra.

Learn more by checking out Sharon's biography and her life as a ground-breaking classical guitarist!

Be sure to check our website each week for more activities coming your way!

You Can Help Keep the Music Going!

If you enjoy our weekly activities, please consider a donation to the BSO. The BSO does over 90 in-school performances each year, reaching thousands of students throughout Whatcom County.

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More Learn At Home! Activities:

Fruit & Veggie Instruments

Carrot Kazoo

Make a kazoo from a carrot!

Cauliflower Trumpet!

Make a conch or trumpet from a cauliflower!

Gourd Ocarina

Make an ocarina out of a gourd!

Green Pepper Shakers

Make a Rhythm Instrument from a Green Pepper!

Make a Watermelon Drum!

Learn how to make a drum out of a watermelon!

Radish Scraper

Make a scraper instrument from a Daikon radish!

Squash Udu!

Make an Udu from a butternut squash!

Conducting & Instruments

Conduct with Yaniv

Learn how to conduct with Maestro Yaniv! (Featuring Jonah)

The Bass

Learn about the Bass with Mark Tomko, Principal Bass of the BSO!

The Cello

Learn about the cello with Olivia Kingsley, BSO Program Intern!

The English Horn

Learn about the English horn with Ken Bronstein, English horn of the BSO!

The Flute

Learn about the flute with Debbie Arthur, Principal Flute of the BSO!

The Horn

Learn about the horn with Kristi Kilgore, member of the BSO horn section!

Experience Music

Breanna Sinclaire

This week’s lesson features Breanna Sinclaire, the first transgender person to sing the National Anthem at a professional sporting event!

Carnival of the Animals

Here is a fun Carnival of the Animals activity to do with your kids!

In the Hall of the Mountain King

Stories and music! Here is a fun activity to do with your kids involving the piece In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Musical Rivers!

Here is a fun activity to do with your kids involving a piece about a river - The Moldau!

Opera with RBG

Today we remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was a champion of people and opera!

Sharon Isbin & Classical Guitar

This week’s lesson features Sharon Isbin, the guitarist who created the guitar program at the Juilliard School!

She Sang for a Nation

Here is a lesson about Marian Anderson and her experience as a black woman denied a hall to perform.

Surprise!

Here is a fun activity to do with your kids involving Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony!

Tona Brown

This week’s lesson features Tona Brown, the first black transgender woman to perform at Carnegie Hall and to perform for a United States President.

William Grant Still

Here is an activity featuring composer William Grant Still and his music.

Whatcom Arts Project

The BSO is a proud participant and a founding member of the new Whatcom Arts Project, a group of over 30 community arts nonprofits. The goal of the Whatcom Arts Project is to reach our community during this time of need to provide hope, entertainment, learning opportunities, and a sense of togetherness. Each week, the BSO posts learning activities and videos on our website and to social media as part of the Whatcom Arts Project. To learn more about the Whatcom Arts Project and home friendly activities in our area, please visit: www.facebook.com/WhatcomArtsProject/ or https://www.bellingham.org/whatcom-arts-project/.