Enrichment for your school or community

SHAK's teaching artists have shared historical arts with over 5,000 students in more than 15 public and private schools in Seattle and the region. We are passionate about how the arts can help students connect more personally with history and to bring out students' strengths and interests. We also present and perform at libraries, all-ages community events, and retirement living settings. Our theatrical performances have been presented at family performances as far away as Boston and Berkeley.



Early arts can bring classroom studies to life in many ways. Our specialties are the arts of the European Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras of Europe and the Colonial and Revolutionary eras of America. We can often tailor our material to the ages of your participants and the size and context of the group. Classroom visits, assembly performances, and residencies of various lengths are possible. For all of our programs, we select actual material from each period that also passes the test of engaging young people and nonspecialists today.

Samples of our most popular programs include:

  • Colonial Days: Popular as a curricular tie-in for 5th grade social studies, our two classroom visit programs can be scheduled for periods of 30-60 minutes, each with a single class. In "Music of Colonial Days," two musicians introduce instruments and engaging tunes of the period to classroom groups, along with fun participatory singing that offers a glimpse into the language, values, and historical events of early America. In "Dance of Colonial Days," a costumed dance teacher and live musician teach participatory social dances that reveal eighteenth-century manners and cooperative social structures. These programs are ideal as a two-day mini-residency program but can also be scheduled individually. Note: the dance program requires an open floor space large enough to accommodate the size of the group; please inquire.
  • Medieval and/or Renaissance Music: This material is often popular for middle schoolers studying ancient/world history but can be tailored for any age. "Introduction to Medieval [and/or] Renaissance Music" is available as a presentation in the classroom or in an assembly setting with 2-4 musicians playing engaging music of the time on a variety of little-known instruments. The classroom version includes participatory singing that illuminates the history of the English language and a glimpse of ancient professions like the ever-popular rat-catcher. Our medieval repertoire focuses on the "high" Middle Ages (12th-14th centuries), while Renaissance topics cover music from the 16th and early 17th centuries.
  • The Recorder: Everyone knows how this accessible instrument can be used to introduce children to instrumental musicianship, but the secret is that the recorder is also a full-fledged virtuoso instrument with an enormous repertoire that spans all of SHAK's historical eras. SHAK presents participatory recorder residencies for children at beginner level and for skilled middle and high school wind-instrument players who can explore the recorder as a secondary instrument. We also present recorder ensembles in assembly performances, and our Medieval and Renaissance Music performances can include recorder in a mixed-instrument setting.
  • Staged Historical Theater: Our annual theatrical production is available as an assembly in your school (or other community performance setting). Youth performers in full costume are accompanied by a professional period-instrument band in bringing to life artistic masterworks or true tales from history, all with SHAK's signature youth-focused, humorous style. Expand the value for your students by asking for supplementary curriculum materials and/or classroom visits in advance by the professional period musicians. Note: Theatrical programs are available only at the very limited time that a play is in production. Autumn performances must be booked by the preceding May, and winter/spring performances must be booked by the preceding November. We will need to see your stage area to be sure that our staging can be adapted to it.
  • Custom program topics and referrals: Don't hesitate to ask! Music from Shakespeare's England? The Oregon Trail? Chances are we've done it before and we'd be happy to offer something for your community. Want to find groups that specialize in historical arts from places other than Europe? We'd be happy to connect you with our colleagues if we can.




Most of the teaching artists who work with SHAK also present similar or identical programs through a variety of third-party organizations. Your funding options may vary according to which presenter you choose:

If your school or facility will be paying for the visit with funds from a program such as a PTA, enrichment grant, or activities budget, or is sponsored by a private donor, you may engage SHAK directly. Full program costs for single visits and short residencies start at $150 per teaching artist per day of presentation. SHAK can sponsor 25% of the program cost for our nearest neighbor schools! If you are hiring programming for any K-12 grades at a school within 5 miles of our north Seattle location, you pay just 75%. This discount can be used for one program per school per academic year. Please inquire for details and eligibility.

Schools with highest-need populations (as measured through data such as percentage of students with free lunch) may qualify for fully-funded visits, free to the school, through Early Music Seattle and/or the Ladies' Musical Club. Seattle schools may also be able to access arts programming through the city's Creative Advantage roster of teaching artists. These organizations offer a wide variety of arts programming from traditions all over the world, including programs similar or identical to SHAK's specialties.



Contact us to get started on scheduling your program!