Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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In Today’s News

May 19, 2016

John Neal

Oak Hill High School John Neal on WCSH6 Inspiring Teachers segment http://www.wcsh6.com/news/outreach/inspiring-educators/inspiring-educator-john-neal-of-oak-hill-high-school/199534171.

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In Today’s News

May 18, 2016

Congratulations Princeton Elementary School

PRINCETON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RECEIVES LOWE’S TOOLBOX FOR EDUCATION GRANT FOR GROWING MUSIC PROGRAM
$27,968.01 will provide funding for Expanding Our Musical Horizons

Princeton, Maine– The Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has awarded a

$27,968.01 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education® grant to Princeton Elementary School in Princeton

for renovation of a classroom to accommodate the school’s growing music program. Princeton

Elementary is one of many schools across the United States to be awarded a Lowe’s Toolbox

for Education grant this spring for improvement projects.

With nearly 90% of the school participating in the music program, the students at Princeton

Elementary have simply outgrown the current music room. With the help of Lowe’s Toolbox

for Education Grant the students will soon be moving to a larger classroom. Funds from the

grant will provide soundproofing for the room as well as shelving for storage. The grant will

also make possible the installation of an interactive white board for use with computer

assisted lessons. In addition, the classroom will be equipped with a full line of world drums

and orff xylophones. Finally, the school’s 30 year old piano will be replaced with a new

digital keyboard. The project is scheduled to be completed for the start of the new school

year.

“It is so exciting to see our students recognized for their hard work and dedication to the

music program”, said music teacher Alice Sullivan. “This renovation will give them the space

and materials to continue to grow and learn.”

Since its inception in 2005, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education has provided more than $45 million

in grants to more than 10,000 schools, benefiting more than 6 million schoolchildren. Grants

are available to K-12 public schools in the United States for a wide range of improvement

projects. Schools may be eligible to receive Toolbox grants up to $100,000. Parent groups

and educators can apply by visiting ToolboxForEducation.com. The fall cycle will open Aug. 1,

2016.

To view a full list of projects by state, visit ToolboxForEducation.com/winners. Select the

spring 2016 winners tab, which will list the school and the supporting Lowe’s store available

for assistance.

Since 1957, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has helped improve

communities across North America through financial contributions and support for employee

volunteerism.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the

communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community

improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational

Foundation together have contributed more than $250 million to these efforts, and for more

than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our

communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and

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In Today’s News

May 14, 2016

NYA Teacher Ian Ramsey 2017 Grammy Nominee

ramsey-01North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is excited to announce that Ian Ramsey, Visual and Performing Arts Chair, was chosen as a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. Ramsey was one of 3,300 nominated educators submitted from all 50 states. A total of 290 music teachers from 264 cities across 41 states were announced as quarterfinalists today.

According to the Grammy Foundation, the Music Educator Award “was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.” The award is open to current U.S. music teachers and can be nominated by anyone. Semifinalists will be announced in September. One recipient from ten finalists will be recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. The recipient will be honored during GRAMMY Week 2017.

“I’m excited and honored to be recognized by the Grammy Foundation as a national quarterfinalist for the 2017 Music Educator Award. In a world where there are so many great and inspiring music teachers, I feel lucky, and humbled, to be part of this process,” said Ramsey. He is not sure who nominated him, but suspects it is a music colleague in western Maine.

Ramsey, a Bowdoin resident, graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Music Education with a concentration in jazz. He earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 2015 from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He began working at NYA in 1999. In addition to chairing the arts department, he teaches a variety of music classes at NYA including music theory, wind ensemble, bluegrass ensemble, steel band, and jazz band, to name a few. Ramsey is known for tailoring his teaching to his students’ passions. He created an ensemble for four students who were interested in the Beatles, and continued with the group through the years working up to Abbey Road. In 2012, he led a student bluegrass ensemble to Chengdu, China to perform in the JinJiang-Jiaxiang International Students’ Arts Festival.

In 2013 he co-founded the Maine Acoustic Festival, the first statewide auditioned student roots music festival in America.  In 2016 he created NYA’s “Distinction in Music: Performance, Entrepreneurship and Community” program, which helps students develop excellence in music performance while developing skills around service, community involvement and entrepreneurship. Most recently, he created the Kauffmann Program in Environmental Writing and Wilderness Exploration which seeks to educate students and the larger community about the importance of wilderness and nature. Last June, he led this class to Glacier Bay, Alaska.

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character, and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Trevor Marcho

May 10, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the ninth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 68 posted to date.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.43.09 PMTrevor Marcho has taught instrumental and choral music at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln for six years.  He also co-conducts the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras and teaches private music lessons at Main Street Music Studios in Bangor. He is a graduate of the University of Maine, where he also teaches MUE 217, Brass Methods to undergraduate music education majors.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love working with the kids on something that takes a long time to develop. I appreciate seeing that long, slow improvement on skills that only comes from practice and revision, and I think that mindset helps students foster an appreciation for quality and goal-setting.

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

  1. Love for your art form
  2. Charisma
  3. Drive

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

The work I’ve done around assessment in the last few years has really helped me to be more organized, and given me a way to provide meaningful feedback in a concrete way. I do a lot with self-assessment, and the students find it to be a way to take ownership in their playing.

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

The biggest benefit for me has been to collaborate with other like-minded teachers and artists from around the state to improve what I do, and offer my expertise to others looking for improvement in their assessment practices.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I think I’m most proud of the work my district has done over the last few years. I teach in a small school, where kids are over-extended with activities and sports. They don’t have the time, or will to add to that by practicing their instruments outside of school. Keeping this in mind, I build practice time into our rehearsals and give them skills-based exercises to complete. The freshman, in particular, make huge strides in a semester, and can now play music that would have been impossible for them a year ago.

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

I usually get in my own way! Staying the course can be very difficult in the current school climate. I sometimes have to lock myself away from other teachers and administrators and just focus on teaching music in order to avoid burn-out, and to remember why I’m here.

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

I have had the great opportunity to work with the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras for the last three years. I didn’t have any prior experience with string musicians or instruments, so just getting the job was a miracle, but I put the time-in and worked hard to learn the repertoire and the different techniques. I’m learning every day, and look for new things to improve at all times.

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

Don’t approach it as a job. This is what I do with my life. I am a music teacher because I love it. I seek out new techniques and constantly look for things to improve in my program. I strive to be the best that I can be because that’s what our students deserve. Don’t ever just slide by.

If you were given $500,000 dollars to do whatever you please, what would it be?

Upgrade all of my students’ instruments!

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

None! I am still learning to balance family life with teaching, but I’ll get there someday!

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Excellence in Visual and Performing Arts Education

May 9, 2016

Congratulations students

Students, teachers, and parents traveled through the last snow storm (most likely) of the season to the State House in Augusta to attend the celebration of the Excellence in Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education at the Hall of Flags recently. The Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education, in partnership with the First Lady of Maine, Ann LePage, are proud to sponsor the program.

Hunter Penney, grade 6, Mount View Middle School

Hunter Penney, grade 6, Mount View Middle School, Art Teacher – Gloria Hewett

Congratulations students whose artwork is part of the exhibit from the following school districts: MSAD #51 (Cumberland/North Yarmouth), RSU3 (Unity), and AOS91 (Mt. Desert). Congratulations to the 62 students whose artwork is throughout the State House complex until the middle of June.

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Molly Ritter, Pemetic School, Robert Sattler – Art Teacher

Congratulations to the following teachers whose students are exhibiting: James Treadwell, Suzannah Wood, and Lynda McCann-Olson from Greely Middle School and McCann-Olson and Joanne Matusko from the Mabel I. Wilson School in MSAD 51; Greg Warren from Monroe Elementary, Morse Memorial, and Walker schools, Linda Ravin from Mount View Elementary School, Eric Phillips from Mount View High School, and Gloria Hewett from Mount View Middle School in RSU 3; and Charles Johnson and Mary Swift from Mount Desert Island High School, Carol Shutt, Mount Desert Elementary School, Robert Sattler, Pemetic School, Chandra Raymond, Swan’s Island School and Tremont Consolidated School, and Connie Barnes, Trenton Elementary School, all in AOS 91.

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Shaylee O’Grady, Greely Middle School, Art Teacher – Lynda McCann-Olson

Greely High School Madrigal Singers under teh direction of Sarah Bailey and the Greely High School Jazz Combo delighted the attendees with their performance at the celebration. The singers will perform the National Anthem and an additional song at the reception’s opening, and the jazz combo will close the celebration.

Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage attended the celebration to congratulate and honor the students. Joining the First Lady were Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission; Dr. William Beardsley, Deputy Commissioner of Education; and Peter E. Geiger, State Board of Education Vice-Chair.

At the conclusion of the ceremony students gathered with the First Lady to have their picture taken and toured the State House complex to view the artwork. It was a delightful afternoon!

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You can view the student artwork online at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/maineartseducation/collections

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Nancy Kinkade

May 4, 2016

Teacher Leader series

MALI_V1_Color_100ppi

This is the eighth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 67 posted to date.

IMG_2438Nancy Kinkade presently teaches in RSU #67: 5-6 general music (150 students), 6-8 choral music (68 students), beginning band, 6th  grade band and ⅞ band (65 students). I was hired 25 years ago in RSU #67 as an elementary music teacher EK-5 (525 students).  My position was eliminated four years ago and she was able to shift to the 5-8 general music & 6-12 choral position (450 students). Last year her school district suffered yet another cut/restructure to the music department which provided the opportunity for Nancy’s present position.

What do you like best about being a music/art/dance/drama educator?

I have always loved sharing music with the students. That incredible sensation when beautiful harmony fits just right, doing a great performance, seeing someone just so happy that it is music day, having a student ask to stay after school to practice, having 56 kids play ukulele and sing a song at the same time!! I guess it is the little things that are hard to measure. Perhaps my favorite thing about being a music teacher is making sure that students have music in their lives.

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

  1. Belief in the program
  2. Administrative support
  3. Time in the schedule

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

The assessment movement has created a measurement of success on paper that some people needed to have to give validity to the arts. It has also given us as educators a tool to see where students and teachers need to improve in teaching and learning. It has created clarity to help improve our teaching and to defend what we teach.

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

Being a part of MALI has created a great network of people to share ideas, questions and concerns. I am still at the beginning of really utilizing assessment in my new position, but know that MALI and the people I have met will be there to help me improve my teaching and program.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My proudest moment teaching was a few years ago.  In fourth grade we put on the musical Pirates. The entire fourth grade team and “specials” adopted the theme and ran with it. There was Pirate Math with gold coins, a special reading week and so many other great things. We were able to provide t-shirts and bandanas to all the children. The support staff were there in costume putting beards on the students. My Pirate Principal was there opening stages and helping where needed. It was truly a team effort! The music was great, but it was more the fact that so many people were a part of it and supported it that made it so special!

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

Scheduling and lack of support seem to be the biggest hurdles. You can’t teach children you can’t get in your room! If you don’t have the support of administration to give you those children then your program is doomed. With the cuts to our music/art positions, we have seen a huge impact on the quality of art and music the students are producing. Elementary music and art were reduced 5 years ago, now the effects are showing at the middle and high school levels. There is also a different attitude towards the arts. You can feel it isn’t valued in administration so it is starting to show in the students.  Sadly, we are losing the arts culture.

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

The Music and Art teachers in our district are making our programs successful despite the eliminations. Because these teachers are so dedicated and hardworking, the programs are persevering. In a way, this is too bad because it makes the people who cut the programs think they were right in their decision making. It is kind of a “Catch 22”.

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

If at all possible, work in a place where you are appreciated and valued. Be happy and work hard. Enjoy what you do, work with the other people in your district to make a cohesive arts community and a higher quality of education for the students.

If you were given $500,000 dollars to do whatever you please, what would it be?

Create an “arts” center. I would probably need more money, but a place where students could sing, act, play, move and enjoy guest artists. There would also be technology involved, but I would love to create a “real” theatre with teaching and performing spaces.

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

Right now, my regret is the loss of the program we had. When I am 94, I hope my reflections is that this was a dark period, but something great came after it!

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Dianne Fenlason

April 5, 2016

MALI Teacher Leader series

MALI_V1_Color_100ppi

This is the fifth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 64 posted to date.

20160324_142730Dianne Fenlason currently teaches middle school bands, grades 6-8, at Spruce Mountain Middle School. In addition, she teaches the following at Spruce Mountain High School: piano, guitar classes, contemporary vocal ensemble, a rock history perspective and performance class called Rock of Ages. She has taught a variety of other music electives over her 28 year career. Dianne has been at Spruce Mountain, formerly Jay Public Schools, since 1995.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

The best part of my job is working with my students and seeing them progress through the years that I work with them. I used to work with grades 4-12 students and to see the transformation of these students is awesome.

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

For me the keys to a successful arts education include providing an opportunity to any student, creating a challenge for all students and establishing a rapport with each student. I also believe working with students beyond the classroom can greatly impact the success of your program within your school. Seeing students in another setting outside my class and them seeing me as well has benefits to building respect for one another and in a word, is fun.

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

I have always felt assessment has been crucial for student progress and I had been doing instrumental performance assessment since I began in 1988. At first I used assessment simply to have an opportunity to hear high school students individually and try to provide them with feedback. Today I use assessment similarly but also incorporate a specific scaffolding of expected skill outcomes as well as a tool for students to self assess and track their own progress.

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

My involvement with the arts assessment initiative has provided validation that what I had been doing was on point and it has made me focus my instruction on the specific outcomes I feel are important for all students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The proudest moments in my career all revolve around student success. I once had a senior trumpet player perform the National Anthem standing on the pitcher’s mound at a state baseball playoff game. Whether taking students to adjudicated festivals, or instituting new and different ensembles or performing music that students may perceive as unattainable and having them realize group and individual success, is something that keeps me teaching year after year. Also seeing students pursue or participate in music beyond high school provides an undeniable sense of pride knowing that what you do and have done has made a lasting impact on their lives.

IMG_0173What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

All professions have hurdles but I have never felt I couldn’t improve or do a better job. There is always someone who does it better and if I can learn from them and it helps my instruction with students than I am willing to do that. The educational field has undoubtedly become more difficult since I began and it has meant doing things differently and working harder to maintain the same expectations I have always had. Social and economic changes as well have greatly impacted students lives but I will always stand by the adage that students will meet whatever bar you set, so why not keep the bar high.

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

I would have to say that my “luck” is that I continue to enjoy what I do. There is a quote that describes what we do that says something like “art is hard work masked by fun.” As visual and performing arts educators we not only teach students but also administrators and communities that the arts are not a frill but a necessity. This agenda never happens by luck but only from hard work, commitment and a belief that arts truly enrich our lives. I have told myself that when what I do is no longer fun, then I am done.

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

If I were to give advice to any teacher I would say make sure you love what you do and be willing to sacrifice for others while maintaining a balance for yourself at the same time. Teaching can often times commandeer much of our energy but it is important that we find a sense of accomplishment in what we do and find ways that refill our tank when we feel we have given everything we have.

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

If I were given $500, 000 I would build a performance venue and become the house manager. There are not nearly enough large theaters or concert halls in the state of Maine. Augusta, our state capital, does not have a performance hall to draw people to the area. I would try to use the hall to provide performances for local schools and community groups to attend shows as well as perform in the local facility. If we can encourage performance attendance early in young people than I believe they will be patrons of the arts later in their lives.

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

At age 10 I knew I was going to be a music teacher. I never wavered in that decision, so if I live to be 94, I will look back with no regrets. I don’t believe in “if only.” I was once asked why I continued to teach at my school and I replied by saying, “it is where I am supposed to be for now.” I am blessed to have worked with many wonderful students and excellent educators and colleagues over my career. In the end, I will have given all that I was capable of and if I made a positive impact on one student or colleague than my time was not wasted. I feel confident that I have made an impact on some and to me that is most rewarding.

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