Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 6

March 4, 2015

Adult learner

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Shepherd Building

Bay Chamber offices and music spaces are located in the Shepherd Building, Rockport

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director. You can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/.

This is the last post on Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School and the following one was written by Laura Chaney, the development director and can be reached at laura@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about your role at Bay Chamber.

I am the Director of Development at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School, a role that helps generate necessary resources to enable Bay Chamber to invest in its programs and services for thousands of citizens of all ages across Mid-Coast Maine. I am also a fairly new adult student at the Bay Chamber Music School, enrolled in private violin instruction since September 2013. Bay Chamber offers access to an expert faculty, a welcoming atmosphere for interested students of all ages, and affordability regardless of one’s financial status.

Please tell the story of how and why you decided to take violin lessons at Bay Chamber.

A native Mainer who returned to the state after a 30 year hiatus to join the staff here at Bay Chamber, I made a personal commitment to return to some form of music instruction. Having been a vocalist and dabbler in other musical instruments, I had contemplated returning to voice or piano instruction and then decided that I wanted to challenge myself with learning something completely new. I settled on the violin for many wondrous reasons, with one core factor being the ease of transportability in a boat for summer living along the Maine coast.

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What do you know about the benefits of taking lessons or learning something knew as we begin to age?

I promised to give myself the gift of music for two major reasons: to rediscover the passion that music inspires in my soul and that had been put on hold for sundry reasons, and to reinvigorate my brain. It is well-documented that routine reduces brain synapsis responsible for healthy memory functioning and I felt that as I approach my 60’s, it would enhance my life greatly to keep my brain healthy and active. Music is one of the most influential energies for extending auditory, communication and concentration abilities as well. All of these benefits in addition to the joy that arises from learning, playing, and working through each new musical challenge are gifts I give to myself each and every day.

Can you relate your experiences learning the violin in comparison to what you know about the benefits?

Violin - ScrollOn many an occasion, I say to my talented and compassionate instructor Gilda, “this makes me feel like my brain is twisting!”  I literally can feel my brain working hard to tackle new learning curves, which with the violin, are mental and physical.  I am activating muscles I have not used, strengthening fingers that are gaining unforeseen agility, working to separate my right from my left hand functions, focusing on relaxation (definitely a challenge for someone like me), and gaining mental flexibility and concentration in my work and in general. It is nearly one and a half years since starting my new musical endeavor.  I do feel I think differently, that I am a bit more at mental ease and responsive. I look forward to what comes next!

The fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of not being able to learn something new tends to trap us adults into sticking with similar habits day in and day out – whether it be our jobs, our homes, our daily rhythms that we have established throughout our many decades.  Science tells us that we need to shake things up for ourselves to remain vital and healthy, and I might add, happy.  Music sends energy waves throughout our body like no other discipline has yet shown. Pick up a new instrument today and learn something new about yourself that you did not notice yesterday. It is well worth the try.

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Another Teacher’s Story: Cynthia Keating

March 3, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leaders series

This is the third blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI# and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 5.22.59 AMCynthia Keating is in her eleventh year of teaching general music education to K-­2 students at Village Elementary School in York. Her students receive music once a week for 45 minutes. Once a month, on a rotating Friday schedule, students receive music twice a week. She previously taught in Suncook, NH, Ogunquit and Wells, Maine ­ totaling 32 years of instruction in elementary music education. However, you may have wondered who those fantastic musicians were that provided all the ceremonial music for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY?!?! Well………Cynthia was one of them because she attended the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY! It has been 35 years since she helped play the national anthem for our Men’s Ice Hockey team as they received their gold medals after having beaten the Men’s Russian Ice Hockey team!

What do you like best about being a music educator?

There is nothing more pure and beautiful than the singing voice of a child​.​

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Having support from my fellow teachers and administrators
  2. Being a passionate, engaging and well educated professional
  3. Being flexible and understanding of ALL teaching positions within my school

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have definitely found assessment in my classroom to be helpful. When I used “I Can Statements” for the first time, I had a huge “Ah ha!” moment.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

  • Finding my BFF
  • Having conversations with people that believe, like me, that the arts are essential
  • Having the freedom to express oneself in a safe environment

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud that I am a lifelong learner. I NEVER want to become “that teacher” whom everyone is wondering,“When is SHE going to RETIRE?!”

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

BEWARE THE BLACK HOLE filled with negativity!

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

  • Staying up to date on new things in education
  • Staying fresh on current practices.
  • Staying informed and open to new ideas.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Surround yourself with others that think like you. *Don’t necessarily follow the crowd.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would create an auditorium, with a phenomenal light and sound system, in OUR school to accommodate our entire school’s population. We would have plenty of room to perform and dance and display our arts properly! It would be ​amazing​!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Someday I ​will​ be 94, ­ I have longevity on both sides of my family! But I won’t be looking back ­ I’ll only be looking forward!


Youth Art Month

March 2, 2015

March ~ 2015
Twenty-One Years of Meaningful Collaboration
The Maine Art Education Association

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The Portland Museum of Art
You are Cordially Invited to the
Celebratory Reception and Opening of
Youth Art Month
Please join us on Saturday, March 7th
4:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Portland Museum of Art

Certificates of Participation and Honor
will be presented
4:30 pm     Grades K-3
         5:30 pm     Grades 4-7
           6:30 pm     Grades 8-12
The Youth Art Month Show
Remains Hanging
February 28 through March 29, 2014
Invitation artwork created by
Zoe Eason, Grade 5
Boothbay Region Elementary School

Artwork created by Zoe Eason, Boothbay Region Elementary School,  Grade 5, “Autumn Cake”, Oil Pastels, Jessica Nadeau, Art Teacher


In Today’s News

March 1, 2015

Maine Sunday Telegram

Youth Art Month celebrates the visual arts

Youth Art Month celebrates the visual arts – Read about the present exhibit with 100 Maine student artists from grades PK-12 at the Portland Museum of Art. For several years the Maine Art Education Association and the museum have partnered on the YAM student exhibit. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/youth-art-month-celebrates-the-visual-arts/.

Maine Drama Festival signals hopeful change of season

Over 2,500 high school students from 80 schools located throughout Maine will perform their one-act plays at nine sites next Friday and Saturday. This annual event weekend has been taking place since the 1930’s. It is a great way to see several 40 minute plays while you are supporting the school communities. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/maine-drama-festival-signals-hopeful-change-of-season.

The playwright’s the star of this show

Morse High School’s one-act play was written by senior Morgan Quigg. Next weekend 60 Morse students involved in the One-Acts will be keeping their fingers crossed that the play ‘Look Up,’ by Quigg will do well. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/the-playwrights-the-star-of-this-show/.


Arts Education Month

March 1, 2015

Celebrate with students, family members, parents, grandparents by recognizing students

I have always felt grateful to be in the field of Arts education. I never lose sight of what my career choice is all about, and still base my decisions concerning arts education on this question: What is in the best interest of every student?  I am so encouraged by what is going on in education today – finally, the student is being moved to the center of the education circle. The shift for teachers is changing, we are no longer the ‘disseminater’ of information but we’re becoming the “guide on the side”. And, in my opinion, this is just the way school should be, (even if disseminater is not a word)!

I have always loved March because it is the time earmarked to celebrate students and the arts! It is  is Youth Art Month and Music in our Schools Month. Please send your stories about how you are celebrating Arts education and students stories about how the arts impact their lives. Either email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov or post your comments at the bottom of the blog.

Youth Art Month is a month of promoting art education in the United States. Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 7.48.03 PMIt is observed in March, with thousands of American schools participating, often with the involvement of local art museums and civic organizations.

Started in 1961 through the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) and in cooperation with the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Youth Art Month exists to:

1. Recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curricula that develops citizens of a global society.
2. Recognize art is a necessity for the full development of better quality of life for all.
3. Direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking.
4. Expand art programs in schools and stimulate new art programs.
5. Encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere.
6. Provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning.
7. Increase community, business and governmental support for art education.
8. Increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures.
9. Reflect and demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education at all levels.

See more information at: http://www.arteducators.org/news/yam

The information above is from the National Art Education Association.

In addition, March is Music In Our Schools Month

MIOSM LOGOThis a great time to highlight the importance of  comprehensive, sequential music education taught by exemplary music educators for all through concerts, lessons, and public performances and advocacy activities. Yes, we know that these are things that should be happening day in and day but this will help you to remember to pay closer attention to your students who are participate. March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. MIOSM began as a single statewide celebration in 1973, and has grown over the decades to encompass a day, then a week, and then in 1985 to become a month long celebration of school music. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community and to display the benefits school music brings to students of all ages.

See more information at http://musiced.nafme.org/events/music-in-our-schools-month/what-is-miosm/.

This information taken from the National Association for Music Education.


MAEA Art Exhibit

February 28, 2015

Student Art Exhibit Coordinated by Maine Art Education Association at Maine Education Association

Student Art Exhibit Recognizing

Youth Art Month

Invitation Art by Amber Smith, Grade 7

Sebasticook Middle School, Newport

Glenda Frati, Art Teacher

Opening Reception – Refreshments: Sunday, March 8 – 1:00-2:30 Presentations, 1:30

Maine Education Office

35 Community Drive

Augusta, ME

(near the Augusta Civic Center)

Office Hours: M-F, 8:00-5:00pm

Artwork on display until Fall 2015



February 27, 2015

Middle School students

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A group of 7- to 12-year-old musicians in Kentucky perform a medley of Led Zeppelin on xylophones and marimbas.


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