Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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Another Student’s Story: Aaron Robinson

October 22, 2014

An interview with musician Aaron Robinson

Periodically individuals are featured on the Maine Arts Education blog as part of a series called “Another Student’s Story”. Their “Arts” stories are shared with you, the Arts Education community. Please share with others. If you know of anyone who should be sharing their stories, please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Aaron Robinson is an award-winning composer, conductor, musicologist and best-selling author. He has written for television, film, radio and the theatrical Choralstage. Aaron has recorded several best-selling albums including ‘They All Played Ragtime’, ‘Black Nativity – In Concert: A Gospel Celebration’ and ‘The Legend of Jim Cullen – A Dramatic Musical’, among others. He is the author of the best-selling memoir: ‘Does God Sing – A Musical Journey’.

Aaron attended Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro and graduated in 1989. He attended the Boston Conservatory of Music and studied Composition with John Adams and Thomas Lawrence Bell and Film Score at Berklee School of Music with John Williams.

Aaron was kind enough to answer the following questions for the Maine Arts Education blog readers.

What do you value most from your arts education?

The greatest gift I received from my education at the High School level was the validation, support and advocacy from teachers and administrators who realized that my talents were not academic but instinctively artistic. They could see that not all students fit a cookie-cutter assembly line form when it came to receiving a High School education and that my goals and dreams for furthering my secondary education in music did not necessarily puzzle piece perfectly within the curriculum of the standard student. Lucky for me.

Name three skills, ideas, or life-long tools that you have learned in your visual or performing arts classes/courses?

I am a huge proponent of stepping back and approaching any situation from a “Zen” standpoint: taking it all in from a larger perspective and combining all the little elements that so many only focus on one at a time without being able to see the entire picture. I learned this from watching Matisse drawing on the walls late in life with his famous extended paint-stick. The tip touched at a very small point, but his eye and view point encompassed the entire work as a whole at all times and never lost sight of the painting as a whole. In all forms of art it is the same. Even in cooking, a good chef will not prepare one dish at a time, but like a skilled plate-spinner, create the entire meal all at once and go from dish to dish, bringing it all together masterfully. Too many people focus their attention on one part, finish it, and move on, only to find that at the end they have a bunch of little pieces of a puzzle that not only do not fit together, but do not make a completed, understandable picture because they never took the time to step back, Zen the experience, and take it all in as they were creating it. When George Gershwin wrote, “Rhapsody in Blue” on a train from New York to Boston, even though it is made up of short little 16-bar musical vignettes, he heard the work as a whole, instantly … and that’s how we hear it. That’s how I compose and write: as a whole.

I am a different person due to my involvement in the arts because…

I never stop learning. I am fully against Academic exclusion. When I first entered into the musical world in the 1990’s, everyone greeted me with: “Where did you study? Who did you study with? Where did you get your degree?” If you didn’t answer correctly, you were not accepted. You were not seen to be worthy in their eyes. A degree was everything. Without it, you were nothing. It didn’t matter if you had talent, knew what you were talking about or if you could walk the walk or talk the talk. This disturbed me to no end. Four years of study from years eighteen to twenty-one does not and should not allow one to be seen as an expert or professional in any field. Not only that, talent can’t be taught. So, I never rest on my laurels or achievements or credentials. Fortunately we live in a day and time now that degrees, more so in music and the arts, do not speak as loudly as they did … and rightly so. One never stops learning.

If you could change any part of your arts education, what would it be?

I wouldn’t have spent so much time in the classroom. I would have hopped a train and spent it more in the concert halls … the jazz clubs … the musical theaters … the film studios … the street corners … making music rather than studying it. I’ve had all the time in the world to study music on my own time at home, but those experiences that come but once in a lifetime … those I miss most of all and feel that’s the education that can’t be taught, created or bought.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you remember?

All of them.

Why is making art or music and/or performing so important to you? Why can’t you live without it?

Absolutely 100% impossible to put into words. If I could, I’d be signing copies of the New York Times best-selling book right now …

Thank you Aaron for taking the time to answer these questions. I was fortunate to have Aaron as a student during his middle school years.

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MAAI at the State House

October 13, 2014

What a day!

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MAAI group Oct10Friday was a great opportunity for the Teacher Leaders from the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) to present their workshops as a “dry run” to critical friends. Fifty-eight educators traveled from all parts of Maine to participate in the day. Eighteen workshops were presented in 6 different groups to the critical friends, held in the State House and the Cross Office Building. Teachers bring students on field trips to the State House but it is not often that a group of teachers attend an all-day event there. As compared to when the legislature is in session, it was fairly quiet but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the Capitol. The first session of the Maine Legislature was held in Maine’s State Capitol on January 4, 1832. As many of you know the dome is presently undergoing renovations and the new copper is gleaming and a site to behold with the changing of the leaves.

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We gathered in the beautiful space used by the Council Chamber which I am certain never held that many educators. The Chamber is a segment of State Government of the leadership, a small group that is led by the President of the Senate rotating with the Speaker of the House, to make decisions that impact the entire body of the legislature. Each of the six groups participated in two morning workshops that were held where some of the Maine State Government does their daily business, the Burton Cross Office building. The groups gathered for lunch back in the State House and USMs faculty member and MAAI leadership team member Jeff Beaudry shared the findings of the survey that many of you participated in during the last week on Proficiency and  Teacher Effectiveness. (I will post the info in another blog post).

Molly Ockett Middle School Visual Art teacher Samantha Davis presents her workshop to critical friends

Molly Ockett Middle School Visual Art teacher Samantha Davis presents her workshop to critical friends

 

Marshwood Middle School art teacher and Teacher Leader Amy Cousins participating in Teaching Artist Randy Fein's workshop using clay.

Marshwood Middle School art teacher and Teacher Leader Amy Cousins participating in Teaching Artist Randy Fein’s workshop using clay.

 

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Raymond Elementary School music teacher and veteran MAAI Teacher Leader Patti Gordan assists Ellsworth Elementary Middle School music teacher and new Teacher Leader Frances Kellogg with her workshop.

In the afternoon the groups participated in one more workshop and gathered for the wrap-up where the group facilitators provided an overview of what took place in their groups. Phase 4 music Teacher Leaders Kate Smith and Cynthia Keating lead us in song called “We Are One” and adapted for MAAI. It was a worthwhile day for all involved. The Teacher Leaders will tweak their workshops to ready them for the Mega-regional workshops being presented in five locations this year (listed below). Registration will be available soon if you are interested and able to attend please mark your calendars!

USM faculty and MAAI Leadership team member Jeff Beaudry shares the data recently collected from the survey all Maine arts educators were invited to participate in.

USM faculty and MAAI Leadership team member Jeff Beaudry shares the data recently collected from the survey all Maine arts educators were invited to participate in.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the critical friends who participated in the day!

Mega-regional workshops 2014-15 school year

  • Tuesday, November 25 Mount Desert Island High School
  • Friday, March 6 Aroostook county
  • Friday, March 13 Oxford Hills Middle School South Campus
  • Thursday, April 2 UMaine, Orono
  • Friday, April 3 University of Southern Maine, Portland
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Critical Friends participate in movement workshop led by Teaching Artist John Morris in the rotunda in the State House while former Governor John Baldacci looks on.

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MAAI Leadership Team member Catherine Ring provides an overview from her groups workshops.

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Wrap up on Critical Friend Day at the State House.

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New teacher leaders and music teachers Kate Smith, Central Elementary School and Cynthia Keating, Village Elementary School lead the group in song.

 

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Brewer Performing Arts Center

September 25, 2014

Student Opportunity

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 5.19.25 AMPerforming at the Brewer Performing Arts Center on October 7 is GRAMMY award winning, world class saxophone player Eric Marienthal.  It will be an incredible, once in a lifetime experience.  He will present a masterclass at 4 PM (only $5 per person!) and a concert at 7 PM with the Maine All Star Big Band ($10 a ticket).  They are offering a special deal to schools if you purchase tickets before the event;  for every 10 tickets purchased, you get one free!  We can accept school purchase orders (the payment needs to be received before October 6).

Please email Lanissa Nadeau for more information at lnadeau@breweredu.org or call the box office at 207-200-5447.  www.brewerperformingarts   www.ericmarienthal.com

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Music Workshop

September 19, 2014

September 26

The Maine Music Educators Association and the Maine Chapter (American Orff- Schulwerk Association)

is proud to present a General Music Workshop with

Karen Medley

Nationally Known Orff-Schulwerk Clinician

The Journey Is the Destination:

the adventure continues…

Kid-tested Lessons for the Music Classroom

Come spend the day singing, playing, moving, creating and speaking together as we explore some of my students’ favorite kid-tested lessons! Songs, games, stories, poetry, dances, and drumming foster a sense of play and community for younger children, create a sense of adventure for middle grades children and challenge and celebrate older children. Are you looking for ways to involve your children in creative music-making? Come play!!

 

When: Friday, September 26, 2014

Time: 9 AM – 3 PM

Where: Le Club Calumet

334 West River Road

Augusta, Maine (directions attached)

Credit: 1.5 CEUs from the University of Maine with a paper and lesson plan ($10. Charge)

(Note: 1.5 CEUs = 1 Recertification Credit)

Cost: $50. For the workshop (includes lunch)

To register please contact Nancy Cash-Cobb at ncash-cobb@windhamraymondschools.org.

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Portland Symphony Orchestra

September 14, 2014

KinderKonzerts and other info

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Strings, Brass, and Winds KinderKonzerts: The Music and Life of Ludwig von Beethoven
October 2014, February 2015, and March 2015
 
In celebration of the PSO’s 90th Anniversary Celebration and the launch of a three-year Beethoven Symphony Cycle, the Brass, Strings, and Winds KinderKonzert Quintets will focus on the music and life of Ludwig von Beethoven. Join us as we explore the music that Beethoven listened to as a young child (when he was KinderKonzert age!), his early compositions, and his ability to persevere through hearing loss to write beautiful symphonies.

Although the story of Beethoven’s life will be similar across the three KinderKonzert ensembles, audiences will learn unique characteristics of each ensemble and instrument family. Students will benefit from attending multiple performances by engrossing themselves in the familiar theme of Beethoven, approached through the eyes of several different musicians.

 

Percussion KinderKonzerts: What You See & What You Hear!
May 2015

Audiences should be prepared to make some noise with the Percussion KinderKonzerts: What You See and What You Hear! Using a variety of instruments, the PSO’s percussion ensemble leads attendees in an exploration of percussive sound using mallets, brushes, sticks, and their bare hands.

WARNING: Attendees of the Percussion KinderKonzerts may leave with the strong desire to turn everything in front of them into homemade percussion instruments!
Open Dress Rehearsals
Behind the Scenes at Merrill Auditorium: Grades 6 – College

Students and community organizations are welcome to observe our open dress rehearsals at Merrill Auditorium. These are a casual, informal way to experience working rehearsals, where the conductors might decide to perform pieces in a different order, suggest changes, and make performance decisions prior to the full concerts.

 

Host a KinderKonzert
In addition to our performances in Portland, Lewiston, and Brunswick, the PSO KinderKonzert quintets are available to perform at your school or organization. Rates begin at $1300 for two performances. Schools are welcome to sell tickets to the public and to co-host with other schools and organizations, to help offset costs. Contact education@portlandsymphony.org for more information.

For more information, including purchasing tickets. please click here.

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Early Childhood and the Arts

September 7, 2014

Michigan Public Radio

Earlier this year Michigan Public Radio broadcast a show that was about the unique link between young children taking part in arts and crafts activities and patents received or businesses launched as an adult.

The study took a close look at Michigan State University Honors STEM students between 1990 and 1995. Ninety-four per cent of the STEM graduates had musical training as compared to 34% of all adults.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.

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Articles and More Articles

September 3, 2014

Been waiting to be posted

You know every so often I take several articles that are sent to me and I put the links into one blog post. Well, this is that post. Filled with all kinds of interesting information and resources. Some of it you may want to share with your students, colleagues and/or parents.

  • The New York Times Science research report on the long-term benefits of music lessons. Read about it by clicking here.

Thanks to David Cadigan for sending me this information. 

  • From a blog post title Music: The Essentials of Tone Production and Its Ties with Art. Check it out by clicking here.

Thanks to Sebasticook Valley Middle School Music Teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Teacher Leader Jen Nash for sending this information.

  • You can use your voice: UNESCO keep Creativity and Arts Education as a fundamental priority. If interested please click here.

Thanks to Performing Arts Teacher at Carrabec High School and Maine Arts Assessment Teacher Leader Beth Lambert for sending this information.

  • Teacher in a Strange Land, Nancy Flanagan taught music for 30 years. In this blog post she weighs in on STEAM while co-teaching a course on the topic. To read the post please click here.
  • Using Essential Questions in Interdisciplinary Lessons video, to watch click here.

Thanks to Ellsworth High School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leader Leah Olson for sharing this information.

  • An interesting slide show on digital portfolios by Frank Chimero.  Click here to access.
  • An article that was published in Fortune magazine: What entrepreneurs can learn from artists written by Tim Leberecht. To read the article please click here.

Thanks to Ed Brazee for sending this information.

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