More About COT Education & Outreach

Education & Outreach programing provides access to opera throughout Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region.  Engaging students in opera lays the foundation for future audience building, and also inspires future artists and supporters of art and culture.  


Fostering future audience and arts organization supporters is beneficial to the operatic art form itself, and to the regional economy as well.  COT Education and Outreach features programming that is related to current COT productions, and also offers specific programs designed for interactive learning and creative experiences for early childhood, middle school, and high school aged students, as well as adults in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.  


Opera is an inherently multidisciplinary art form.  This fact, combined with the natural alignment between the goals of the educational Common Core State Standards, and the work of arts educators and arts organizations enables COT and Northeast Ohio schools to develop creative approaches to incorporate operatic programing into the curriculum.  Interactive learning opportunities equip students with a creative, competitive edge, and help to prepare students to meet the demands of the 21st century both for the students’ sake and for the sake of our economy and our society. 


For more information about existing programs, or to inquire about education & outreach programming designed specifically to meet the needs of your school or organization please contact us at:


COT Education & Outreach Programs Work Together 

COT's four interrelated Education and Outreach programs offer tiered levels designed to engage children, teens, and young adults.  Programs work together to lay the foundation for life-long learning and support of Opera and the Arts.


This tiered sequential program is designed to allow for students, first engaged with opera through outreach programming, to continue their participation in Opera-based arts education in all of the K-12 and Collegiate years, thereby developing a life long relationship with Opera and the arts.  Students in the outreach performance audience may develop an interest to participate in the I CAN SCHOOLS Residency, Opera for Teens, or Young Artist Program. 


Participants learn in the context of interactive activities, exercises and rehearsals.  These interactive learning and rehearsal environments concurrently educate the participants, while preparing them to perform outreach programming that will in turn educate their target audiences.  


Students who do participate in one or more of the residency programs may develop a heightened interest in arts and arts education, and continue on an artistic career path becoming artists or arts organization leaders, others may become civic, community and business leaders.  


Whatever direction their varied career paths may take, the COT Education and Outreach programmatic structure will have instilled an appreciation for the dynamic operatic art form, and develop future generations of opera audience members and supporters, and supporters and patrons of the arts in general, which is necessary to honor and develop the legacy of opera, and continue to grow and develop the creative cultural economy.  




From the top level downward

COT staff and guest artists provide instruction and mentorship to the college-aged students participating in the COT Young Artist Program.   These COT Young Artists develop and hone their craft as they participate in master classes, workshops, coachings, and rehearsals, all of which prepare them for COT on Tour Performances that bring live opera theater to Greater Cleveland K-12 Schools, and into the community.  The Young Artists, under the continued supervision and guidance of the COT staff and guest artists,  gain additional hands on experience and learning opportunities through participation in the I CAN SCHOOLS Residency program, and also provide mentorship for participants in the Opera for Teens program who are guided in the preparation of selected COT on Tour outreach programming geared for younger student audiences.  




From the bottom level upward

Those students who have benefited from outreach programming in their schools, and who develop an interest in participating in the I CAN SCHOOLS residency program or the Opera for Teens program can continue their growing and learning relationship with opera and grow to become participants in the Opera for Teens program, where they have the opportunity to perform for, interact with, and mentor student audiences in the K-8 programming in which they first participated and discovered opera.  Participants in the Opera for Teens program can grow to become members of the Young Artist Program and continue the cycle of education and outreach building and growth, someday perhaps returning to the program as guest artists and mentors for the next generation.  


For more information about existing programs, or to inquire about education & outreach programming designed specifically to meet your needs please contact us at:




Opera Education and the Common Core State Standards

In recent years, the Arts Education Working Group, a coalition of national arts and arts education advocacy 

organizations (including OPERA America) issued a unified statement titled “Creating Student Success in 

School, Work, and Life”. This statement aligns neatly with the goals of Common Core and explains that our 

nation needs schools to prepare students to meet the demands of the 21st century both for the students’ 

sake and for the sake of our economy and our society. These demands cannot be met without 

comprehensive arts education in our nation’s schools. It goes on to explain how “the arts equip students 

with a creative, competitive edge” (Arts Education, 1).


Many arts advocates and researchers have built on this argument to show that there is natural alignment 

between the goals of the Common Core State Standards and the work that arts educators and arts 

organizations already do. David Coleman, one of the authors of the standards, developed the “Guiding 

Principles for the Arts” and details how arts-learning parallels many of the defining competencies of ELA,

such as skills in observation and interpretation. The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) 

states, “The Common Core can potentially provide arts teachers with a common language with which to 

describe the cognitive skills that they are already addressing and cultivating through rigorous and 

meaningful arts experiences” (The College Board, 4).


The very nature of opera, as an inherently multidisciplinary art form, enables COT and schools to develop ways to incorporate opera into the curriculum. Over the years, opera education programs have provided students with various ways to experience and engage with the art form, while supporting substantive classroom conceptual connections. Below the term “opera learning” is used broadly to describe a range of K-12 programs, which generally reflect three categories:


1. Creating and Performing Opera: any aspect of opera composing, libretto writing, performing and 

production, whether it be original work or re-imaginings of existing narrative work.


2. Learning About Opera: activities that are rooted in a specific repertoire including studying the 

composer, librettist, and primary sources. Gaining knowledge of opera history, specific opera 

conventions, notable singers, and historical and cultural contexts. Understanding the dramatic, 

technical and aesthetic aspects of production elements. Oftentimes these activities culminate in 

attending a performance. 


3. Opera Career Readiness: engaging with opera professionals, including technicians, 

administrators and contemporaries.


COT Education & Outreach programming provides opportunities in each of these three areas.




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