School Programs 

Program Length

Concert (i.e assembly program): 45-60 minutes depending on the needs of the school and age of the students.

Residency: 45-60 minute classroom sessions (depending on the school's class length and the age of the students). Up to four sessions per day. Typical residencies are 5 days long, but they can be longer or shorter depending on the needs of the school. 

Teacher Inservice: 1-2 hours. Sean is willing to provide longer sessions to fit the needs of the teachers. 

Program Fees

Please note that there may be additional cost for school outside of East Tennessee.

One Concert (i.e. assembly program): $400

Additional Concerts (on the same day at the same school): $100 - for example, two concerts on the same day at the same school would be $500. If you want to book multiple concerts on the same day at nearby schools, please contact Sean to negotiate a multi-concert deal. 

Residencies: $400 per day for up to four classroom sessions per day. 

Teacher Inservice: $400 for a 1-2 hour session. Call Sean to negotiate a fee for longer sessions.

Grade Level

Most of Sean's programs can be tailored to meet the needs of pre-K through 12. The exceptions are noted by topic below.

Common Program Topics

Please note that, as both a versatile musician and musicology instructor, Sean is able to tailor programs to fit your curriculum needs. 

Prepare Students for an Assembly Performance

Format: Residency with Concert at the End

Grade Levels: pre-K through 12

Pick a topic below or come up with one of your own, and Sean will teach the students songs related to the topic and get them ready to perform along with him at an assembly program for the rest of the school or the community. Take a look at the top two videos to the right that are from two different residencies. 

This Is Our House: From Appalachia, Around The World, And Back 

Format: Concert 

Grade Levels: pre-K through 12

In this eclectic, interactive, educational, good-time show, Sean will have the students singing and clapping along in no time with a mix of folk and contemporary songs from Appalachia and other parts of the world. 

Hear John Henry’s Hammer Ring – Appalachian Mountain Music 

Format: Concert, residency or teacher in-service. 

Grade Levels: pre-K through 12

With banjo, mandolin, guitar, washtub bass, washboard, and spoons in hand, Sean blends history with fun in this program. Using ballads such as “John Henry” and “Froggie Went A Courtinʼ” as well as more modern mountain music, Sean explains the origin of instruments and songs from this region while providing ample opportunity for student participation. 

From the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement 

Format: Concert, residency or teacher in-service. 

Grade Levels: pre-K through 12

This program explores the history of civil rights in the United States through music. Sean will have the students singing, clapping and stomping along to plantation era songs, then show how those gave birth to underground railroad songs such as “Drinking Gourd” and the civil rights songs such as “We Shall Overcome.” 

Appalachian Folk Dancing and Play-Party Games 

Format: workshop, residency or teacher in-service. 

Grade Levels: pre-K through 12

Drawing on the deep Appalachian history of folk dancing for children and adults, Sean will introduce the exciting world of play-party games (singing games), circle dances, square dances and contra dances. 

Introduction to Songwriting 

Format: workshop, residency or teacher in-service. 

Grade Levels: 2 through 12 

By having the students put new words into simple ballads and “zipper songs” (songs that you can simply “zip” words into), Sean will get the group started on the road to songwriting. He will then have the students write new, original verses to existing songs. Then, depending on age and time constraints, the students may write completely original songs and/or record what they have created (see below). 

Cultural Heroes: Family and Local History Through Storytelling and Song 

Format: residency 

Grade Levels: 2 through 12 

This is a great program to go along with school projects that already involve exploring family or local history. Students will interview older family and community members to learn about their individual and community stories. Then each student will choose a story to write down and share with the class. The students may then compile their stories into one long ballad – each writing a verse – or write individual songs. Sean can record any original stories or songs that the children write (see below). 

Local Music History 

Format: residency 

Grade Levels: 2 through 12

Many smaller communities have interesting local music histories ranging from the back-porch pickers and square dances to locals who went on to be famous. For this program, Sean will do the research necessary to find out what that history is and bring it to life for the students. 

Band in a Suitcase - Making Our Own Music 

Format: workshop, residency 

Grade Levels: 2 through 12 

Utilizing whatever instruments are at hand, Sean will turn any group of students into a band. He will bring a variety of rhythm instruments, utilize anything the school has available (e.g. xylophones), and even build instruments with the kids. They will learn to sing, play and create arrangements of songs. They may even record their final products (see below). 

Sound Recording

Format: residency, teacher in-service, or part of one of the above programs. 

Grade Levels: 7-12 as a stand-alone program.

Sean is an experienced recording engineer and can bring a portable recording studio to you. He can simply record the children performing – this works with any age group. Or he can actually teach about recording – this works best with middle or high school students. 

Exploring American Musical Styles – 
Rock ‘n Roll, Blues, Country and Western, or Bluegrass 

Format: workshop, residency, teacher in-service. 

Grade Levels: 7-12 

Choose from one of these musical styles and Sean will bring the history of the music to life.

“From the planning phase all the way to the school performances, he went above and beyond to make his residencies an enjoyable and unique learning experience for all! Most importantly, the kids loved him and learned a lot from his hands on and personal approach. I would definitely recommend Sean McCollough for your school!”

     - Rob Huffaker, Music Teacher, Mount Olive Elementary School

"His educational programs for children are innovative, fun and engaging and his versatile performances are interactive and exciting for children and adults of all ages." 

     - Mary Anne Damos, Director, Oak Ridge Children's Museum 

"Sean is a gifted and highly skilled musician with a heart that connects with the heart of the child in us all." 

      - Karan Dotson, Senior Branch Assistant, Norwood Branch Library 
        (formerly Programs Coordinator at Jubilee Community Arts) 

"Sean was just really in tune with the needs of these children. They've probably never been that close to that much talent." 

     - Pam Haaby, Kindergarten Teacher, John Sevier School (Maryville, TN) 

"One of the highlights of our trips to Tremont [Great Smokey Mountain Institute] is Sean's performance" 

     - Debbie Wheeler, High School Science Teacher (Sayre School, Lextington, KY) 

"I could not believe the ease with which Sean was able to engage students in the song-writing process (even 7th and 8th graders)." 

     - Pat Swartz, Social Studies Teacher (Chucky Elementry, Chucky, TN)