Brendan Taaffe Random photos of Brendan Taaffe playing the fiddle - Photos copyright Maurice Gunning

School Residencies

Brendan's presence in a school lights up the entire building. He captured the imaginations of all our students with his mesmerizing stories and captivating music.

Bob Mahler, Principal
Shutesbury Elementary School.

Using music and dance to strengthen our sense of connection to one another and to nourish our own sense of purpose is, to me, an essential call for an artist. Making a difference in the world through art and community. . . in the end, as a friend said to me recently, that's all we really have.

Photo of Brendan Taaffe and a young boy

I love sharing music and dance with children. In my work in schools, I am striving towards three main goals: teaching us all how to listen, how to work together as a group, and how to have FUN with music and dance. Story, songs, and dance all work towards these goals.

The dance traditions of North America and the British Isles are fun, joyous, and build community. Using circle dances, play party games and contras, I work with children on cooperating while having fun, instilling a love of movement and traditional music. As the culmination of a multi-day residency, a community dance with live music is a fantastic way to bring people together in a spirit of celebration and respect.

I am a juried artist with the Vermont Arts Council, and am proud to be part of their Teaching Artist Roster, a select list of artists recognized for the quality of their teaching work. Through the Arts Council, and through Matchbook, I am eligible for grant funding. I am happy to work with a school on putting together a successful grant application.

I tailor each residency to the needs of the individual school, so please be in touch with any questions. You can This link opens in a new windowdownload a brochure about my school work here.

Photo of a woman and a child

Brendan's show at the Greenfield Public Library was one of the most entrancing storytelling events we have ever held. He delighted children and adults alike with the journey he took them on, and our library was lucky to have him on that sweet spring day.

Kay Lyons, Children’s Librarian
Greenfield Public Library.

In my 25 years of working in schools, I'd never seen a music teacher with such an impact on kids of all ages. You could see in their eyes the ecstasy of a new discovery Brendan was bringing to them. His gift is a rare treasure, indeed.

Jon Gailmor

Brendan Taaffe is an excellent singer, fiddler and guitarist who is deeply grounded in New England dance traditions. Brendan has achieved what I consider to be the highest goal of any dance teacher; imparting the love of dance to his students.

Peter Amidon
Dance caller and teacher
Vermont Arts Council teaching/performing artist

Your residency here was a roaring success! Teachers and kids raved that it was the best we'd ever had, and we have had some fine ones. Another mentioned that at this time of year she tends to feel wiped out and grumpy with both kids and colleagues, and that the residency made her remember what a wonderful community we have here.

Everyone was impressed with how you managed to engage students from ages 3–10 with your quiet, upbeat demeanor and fun dances, songs and games for each level. Everyone at the community dance had a blast—what wholesome, healthy happy entertainment!

Ellen Drysdale
Warren Elementary School

In over twenty years of teaching and administrative experience I can recall few who were able to create such a rash of enthusiasm in a kindergarten through grade six elementary school. As a person who has a deep appreciation for music and who values the arts, I was thrilled to see Brendan instilling a love of music in my students that I hope will last a lifetime.

Linda O'Leary, Principal
Wells Village School

Drawing and note from a child  Drawing and note from a child

Drawing and note from a child

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