The Florida Orchestra Teaching Artist program began as a partnership with Pinellas County Schools to bring highly qualified musicians and teachers to the Tampa Bay area. The pilot program included the hiring of a violin teaching artist position who both worked with teachers and students in area string programs, as well as performed with The Florida Orchestra as an extra musician.
The Florida Orchestra Teaching Artist program seeks to build the quality of strings instruction in the Tampa Bay area through public school partnership. TFO Teaching Artists are embedded within existing music and arts programs and provide expertise in artistry and education, while also bringing a highly talented musician to Tampa Bay.
As part of the program, Pinellas County orchestra programs can apply to receive intensive instruction as one of three partner schools. 2018/2019 partner schools are Palm Harbor High School (James Dykes), Clearwater Fundamental Middle School (Sophie Trottier) and Lakewood High School (Michael Kernodle).
2017/2018 TFO Partner Schools
- Dunedin High School, Ian Black
- Tarpon Springs Middle School, Diane Suris
- Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School, Meghan Lance
For excercises and videos assembled by the Teaching Artist team, click here.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Kristin Baird is passionate about bringing music to diverse audiences as both a performer and educator. As the current teaching artist of The Florida Orchestra, Baird performs regularly with The Florida Orchestra as an extra while also working in the community to strengthen local public school orchestra programs. Her previous engagements include a fellowship with the New World Symphony, as well as positions with the Canton Symphony, Akron Symphony, Firelands Symphony, Cleveland Pops, and substitute with the Richmond Symphony. As an active participant in summer music festivals, Baird has attended festivals across the United States and Europe including the Aspen Music Festival, St. Augustine Music Festival, Spoleto Music Festival, Round Top Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, European Union Youth Orchestra, and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany. She has also had the privilege of performing in masterclasses for Pamela Frank, Stephen Clapp, Jaime Laredo, and Peter Salaff.
A certified Suzuki instructor, Baird maintained a private violin and viola studio at the Oberlin Community Music School. She has worked with students from diverse backgrounds, ranging from elementary strings to high school orchestra, at both the Cleveland School of the Arts and “CityMusic Kids” program in Cleveland, Ohio. Through the New World Symphony, she has led sectionals, masterclasses, and private lessons with both the Miami Music Project and the Academia Filmarmónica de Medellín in Medellín, Colombia. Additionally, she has taught at the Kemps Landing Magnet School and Old Donation School for the Gifted in the Virginia Beach City Public School system for the last three summers. Here, she served as a clinician leading students in grades three through eight in sectionals, private lessons, and string orchestra rehearsals and performances.
Participating in groups like Classical Revolution Cleveland, Baird enjoys performing extensively in a variety of non-traditional venues, from bars and art galleries, to larger concert halls. Debuting in October 2017, she helped organize Classical Revolution St. Pete, the newest branch of the national organization Classical Revolution. She continues to co-manage and perform regularly at Classical Revolution St. Pete. The open-mic style event brings classical music in a casual setting to the vibrant, unique, and rapidly growing community of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Classical Revolution St. Pete takes place once a month, and is hosted by the Iberian Rooster, a local restaurant.
Baird attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received a bachelor’s of music in violin performance and master’s of music in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy. She concluded her studies by completing a professional studies certificate. Her teachers include Ara Gregorian, Paul Kantor, Joan Kwuon, and William Preucil. Baird received her Suzuki certification under the guidance of Kimberly Meier-Sims.
A child of two public school music teachers and a third generation musician and music educator, Baird supports the role of music education in the lives of children. She currently resides in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she is proud to serve as a liaison between the professional and educational worlds of classical music.
Kaitlin Springer, an avid performer and teacher in the south Florida area, is very much looking forward to starting her new role as teaching artist with The Florida Orchestra. A native of Connecticut, Springer holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Boston University and a master’s degree in music performance from the Hartt School of Music. During her time in the northeast, she regularly performed as assistant principal violist of the Cape Cod Symphony and as section violist in the New Haven and Waterbury symphonies.
Since moving to Florida, Springer has held the position of artist-in-residence at the Conservatory School at North Palm Beach, working alongside Victor Fernandez, who was named teacher of the year in Palm Beach County in 2017. She also performs as principal violist with the Brevard Symphony and as section violist in the Southwest Florida Symphony and Orlando Philharmonic. Her love of chamber music led her to help create the Seacrest Quartet, which won the Quartet Fellowship at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in 2017, where she performed with the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and went on a recital tour with the quartet. Other festivals Springer attended include Aspen Summer Music Festival, where she was awarded a full scholarship, Garth Newell Emerging Artists Fellowship Program, and Bowdoin Music Festival.