Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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The Ant Girls

April 17, 2014

UMaine, Lewiston

The University of Maine, Lewiston campus is the site for an art exhibit called Ant Farm. The Ant Girls are artists Dorothy Schwartz, Rebecca Goodale, Vivien Russe and Colleen Kinsella. These 4 Maine based artists have been collaborating to merge art and science through the visual exploration of leafcutter ants. The Atrium Art Gallery, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston is the exhibit location and will remain until June 6. The show is a great example of the connection of art and science and would be an excellent exhibit for students to visit.

If your school has limited funding for field trips please note that the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funding is still available and this is a perfect opportunity for your school to apply for the funding. Information and details are located at https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Ticket-to-Ride.

I am delighted to think that Ticket to Ride funds can be used for this–it is such a creative explosion of science and art put together by 4 artists working in different mediums plus a soundtrack! ~Carolyn Wollen

Artist Dorothy (Deedee) Schwartz passed away in March but her husband, musician Elliott performed at the Ant Farm opening this past week with musicians Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella. Elliott and Caleb composed the piece “Ant Girls” for the show.

You can read the Ant Girls blog to learn more. Included are more photos of the exhibit, and listen to the sound tracks of the piece that Elliott and Caleb composed at http://antgirlsmaine.blogspot.com/.

 

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I am delighted to think that Ticket to Ride funds can be used for this–it is such a creative explosion of science and art put together by 4 artists working in different mediums plus a soundtrack!

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Another Teacher’s Story: Patti Gordan

April 15, 2014

Raymond Elementary School music educator

This is the sixth blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this series sharing arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. I had the pleasure of visiting Patti’s classroom last week; grade 5 and 6 strings and kindergarten general music class. It was a wonderful morning. I was reminded of the combination of skills it takes to be an elementary music teacher. The fast pace of the class, the attention to the needs of small children, and the energy level is truly amazing. All of this with music learning at the heart!

IMG_3609Patti Gordan has been teaching for 31 years, the past 30 of those years in Raymond.  For the last four years Raymond has been part of RSU#14, Windham/Raymond, so she now also teaches in Windham. During her 31 years she has taught K-8, General Music, Chorus, Band and Orchestra.  Her present assignment is K-4 General Music, 3rd/4th Grade Chorus and 5th & 6th Grade Orchestra. Patti is teaching approximately 350 students.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

 I love watching my students’ faces light up when they are feeling the joy of expressing themselves through music.  I love their enthusiasm and their eagerness. Music means everything to me and I love sharing that with my students.

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

The most important key to success is be passionate about teaching and to continually improve my craft. I am always striving to learn. The second key to success is to have “decision makers” (administration, parents, school board) who are committed to providing best practice in arts education for our students. The third key to success is to have the time and resources necessary to provide best practice.

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

Before I began authentic, individual assessment of my students’ singing skills in General Music class I assumed that most of my students could match pitch in their full singing range. After all, when I listened to the class as a group it sounded pretty good. When I started assessing them individually I was shocked to discover that approximately 25% of my students were carrying the rest of the class. I started using these individual assessments to inform my instruction and also started having the students do self-assessments of their singing skills so that they could make their own plan for improvement. The percentage of students who can match pitch in their full singing range has risen to 85% by the end of 3rd grade.  I have expanded these methods to assessing their beat/rhythm skills and literacy skills as well.

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

It has been very exciting to meet other arts educators with the same passion for improving their teaching and assessment methods. I have loved bouncing ideas off of the other teacher leaders and I come away with new energy and enthusiasm every time we meet.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I guess I’m most proud of always wanting to learn more about being a music teacher. I’ve never felt like I know all I need to know. If ever I’ve begun to feel that way I’ve always then gained a bit more wisdom to realize I still don’t know what I’m doing. I am also proud of helping 30+ years of students experience the joy of music. I now teach many children of former students and I am so happy when I hear those parents share fond memories of music class and when they express their happiness that I will be teaching their children.

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

I get frustrated when I hear lip service that the arts are just as important as math and ELA, that they’re “CORE,” but then are not treated as equal. The truth is that there is no way that any K-4 General Music teacher, no matter how expert, can give students a true, standards-based music education, using the Maine Learning Results or the new Common Core Standards, in 45 minutes per week.

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

From 2000 to 2010 I worked with a group of teachers and administrators at my schools that were dedicated to providing quality arts education programs to students in Raymond, through sufficient class time, resources and optimal schedules.  By 2010 students had music class twice a week for 45 minutes in grades K & 1, and 5 through 8, and once a week for 45 minutes plus a 30-minute chorus rehearsal, during the school day, for grades 3 and 4, and a remedial singing class in addition to their regular 45-minute General Music class for 2nd graders who were having trouble finding their head voice or matching pitch. Sadly, since consolidation, some of that has been chipped away.

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

Keep learning! It’s the best way to stay fresh, prevent teacher burnout and give your kids the best possible experience.  Also, keep trying to make little improvements in your program. It can be overwhelming to look at your program as it is and think of what it should be. Plug away, bit by bit to improve the students’ experience and before you know it, 30 years later, your program will have grown by leaps and bounds!

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

Too bad you can’t buy time. I’d get my masters degree, buy a bunch of small violins to give my 3rd or 4th graders a “pre-orchestra” experience, buy more puppets for General Music class (you can never have enough puppets.), buy some additional technology for the music room, pay some bills and take some trips (Scotland, Germany, camp across America).

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

No. If you can’t fix it, regrets are a waste of time. Learn from the experience and don’t’ make the same mistakes again.  Make new ones.

I’ll probably be one of those little old ladies who gives music lessons and home baked cookies.

 

 

 

 

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Linda McVety

April 8, 2014

 MSAD#61 Lake Region School District Music Educator

This is the fifth blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this series sharing arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others.

IMG_3477Linda McVety is the K-5 general music and grade 3 literacy intervention teacher at MSAD #61, Laken Regiona School District. She has been teaching for 34 years and 25 in her present position at the Songo Locks Elementary in Naples. Population: 495 students.

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

The best part about being an elementary music teacher is that I have the potential to reach children and give them the gift of music. When asked what I teach I always say “I teach children first.” I can have fun every day and give joy through music to children that may not have a lot of positive in their lives. I want my students to realize that they will have music throughout their lives.

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

  1. Support from administration and community
  2. A teacher that believes in the importance of the arts in every child’s education
  3. A teacher who understands the way children learn and can develop his/her lessons and assessments to reach most of her students.

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

  1. It helps to keep me organized and focused on the goals that I want to accomplish at each grade level
  2. Rubrics help me empower my students to take ownership of their learning

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative?

Sharing and communicating with arts colleagues has been invaluable. I have been able to see what programs are around the State of Maine and have a give/take relationship with my colleagues.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Watching students have that “aha” moment-that says “I love this music” or “I understand this music”. Showing my students my love for playing the cello.

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

  1. All of the extra duties
  2. Attitudes of people who only think of the arts as a “prep” time and not as a valuable part of the educational community
  3. No enough time to plan and put valuable lessons together

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

Having 3 wonderful and successful sons is my #1 accomplishment!

Students that come to school because they love music class.

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

  1. Learn discipline techniques but find a way to have fun
  2. Learn and practice collaborating with classroom teachers-find the time to communicate with them
  3. Find another arts colleague to bounce off ideas with and design lessons with-don’t keep yourself in isolation
  4. Go to workshops created by other arts educators-never stop learning

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

 I would take a few students around the world to see music, art and dance in different cultures.

 I would buy instruments for students who could not afford them.

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

Sometimes I forgot to use music as my own saving grace and distressing mechanism. I don’t regret anything in raising my wonderful sons and giving them great educational opportunities, however I do regret not traveling to see more of the world.

 

 

 

 

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In Today’s News

April 5, 2014

Bangor Area Children’s Choir

I had the pleasure earlier this week to hear the Bangor Children’s Choir perform the National Anthem at the opening of the legislative session at the State House in Augusta for Arts Education Day. If you’ve never had the opportunity to take your students to perform at the legislature, I highly recommend that you contact your school districts House of Representative and provide the opportunity for your students – chorus or band. The Bangor Children’s Choir has a new artistic director, Robert Ludwig who kindly sent me the link to the article (and video) in the Bangor Daily News. Read the article and view the video by clicking here to learn more about the opportunities provided for students.

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Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School

April 4, 2014

Rockport, Maine

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YOUNG STARS OF MAINE PRIZE PROGRAM For more than 50 years, Bay Chamber  Concerts and Music School has had an annual prize program to recognize, encourage, and reward young Maine music students who are serious in their study and performance of music. Prize awards are $1,000, in eight categories, for individuals and ensembles ages 11-25.

Please note the following deadline dates:
Friday, April 18, 2014: Application Deadline
Saturday, May 3, 2014: Live Auditions
Sunday, May 18, 2014: Young Stars of Maine Concert at the Rockport Opera House

Prize Categories:
The Eleanor Erdman and Diane Nixon Vocal Excellence Prize of $1000
Open to solo vocalists
Age minimum: 12 years old, Age maximum: 25 years old.

The A. H. Chatfield, Jr. Piano Prize of $1000
Open to solo pianists
Age minimum: 14 years old, Age maximum: 22 years old.

Summer Music Prize for Cello of $1000
Open to solo cellists
Age minimum: 15 years old, Age maximum: 24 years old.

The Jean and Harvey Picker Senior Prize of $1000
Instrumental or vocal, solo
Age minimum: 18 years old, Age maximum: 22 years old.

The Elsie Bixler Junior Prize of $1000
Instrumental, solo
Age minimum: 12 years old, Age maximum: 17 years old.

Ezra Rachlin Prize for Excellence of $1000
Instrumental or vocal, solo
Age minimum: 16 years old, Age maximum: 25 years old.

The Nathan E. Corning Jazz Prize of $1000
Instrumental or vocal, solo or group
Age minimum: 15 years old, Age maximum: 23 years old.

The Kathie Johnson Chamber Music Prize of $1000
Instrumental group of 3-8 players (shared prize)
Age maximum: 23 years old.

Members of any chamber ensemble must be from Maine; each group is limited to one non-Maine member. For more information please go to http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/

L to R .

Former recipients: Duncan Hall . Teal Vickery . Fiona Boyd . Sam McKenna

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Arts Day at Gorham Middle School

March 30, 2014

646 middle school students

On Wednesday, April 2nd, instead of going to regular classes, all of our 646 middle school students will be rotating through various sessions in Art, Music, Dance and Theater for Arts Day. Last year we had a Music and Dance Day and it was so successful with the students, staff, and community that we decided to do it again and incorporate all the Arts!

Many local artists are generously volunteering their time or greatly reducing their normal fees to join us for this great event. Also many of our talented staff members who also have hobbies or second careers in the arts will be running workshops.  Students will sign up for their choice of workshops and the whole school will have the opportunity to hear our Gorham High School Concert Band perform in our auditorium.

Last year, we hosted the Maine Marimba Ensemble, the Jerks of Grass played in our auditorium, we had a local musician from York come in to talk about his brief experience on the X-Factor and what it’s like to try to make it big in the music industry, some DJs from Q97.9 came in and gave a presentation, we had a Zumba workshop and a Hip Hop dance workshop, a music therapist, a steel drum workshop and Annagret Baier’s African drumming session which was by far the most popular!

Here is the line up for the student offerings for April 2:

ART
PETER RIMKUNAS Illustrator, Video Game Designer, Animator are just some of the art forms that Peter uses. This presentation includes the artist’s background and examples of his creations.

TESSA O’BRIEN Tessa is a painter and artist who designs on a large scale. She has painted many signs and murals for restaurants in Portland and she has also designed, constructed and painted huge art installations for big music events like Bonnaroo and Phish festivals. In this workshop, Tessa will share some of her artwork and help students create a lettering project.

DARALYN MCCOLL Learn what it takes to be a designer! You will hear a brief description of the background of an artist and see many examples of her art made with different materials. Find out how you can be paid to create art for a company or own your own design company. Daralyn uses digital programs to create a variety of work and will have you help with making your own creation.

“STICKS AND STOP MOTION ANIMATION” – MRS. DAWSON Bring your laptop for this fun and interactive animation session in the DEC

“COTTAGE INDUSTRIES” – MR. CARPENTER! Selling your arts and crafts. Mr. Carpenter will talk about and demonstrate his own Cottage Industries including jewelry making, crochet, card making and painting.

“MAKING SOMETHING FROM NOTHING” – MRS. HANLEY / SPINDLEWORKS SCREEN PRINTING! Screen print preemie baby onesies with Ms. Holden to donate to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. This is a great chance to learn how the screen printing process is done. Class limited to 6 students.

THEATER
LIGHTS UP IMPROV WORKSHOP! Maine’s David LaGraffe from Lights Up Improv and Portland Players is coming all the way to GMS to offer us this Theater Improv Workshop! You will spend time working with partners and in groups being silly and creating fun scenes. This is a great opportunity to work with a really fun and talented actor! Definitely not to be missed

DANCE
CONTRADANCE – KIM ROBERTS WITH CARTER & SARAH LOGAN OF THE JERKS OF GRASS Contradance is a folk dance that has become tradition in New England. Similar to square dancing, dancers are partnered up and listen to directions that are called out during the music. During the dance you have to mix up and switch partners when the caller calls it so you have to really listen and stay on your toes. Think Cha Cha Slide meets folk country.

HIP HOP DANCE – DANCE STUDIO OF MAINE Join some of the fabulous instructor’s from Gorham’s own Dance Studio of Maine and learn some hip hop dance moves you can show off at the next GMS Dance!

MUSIC
AFRICAN DRUMMING – ANNEGRET BAIER Work with renowned drummer Annegret Baier playing various drums and rhythm instruments to learn African songs and rhythms. This session was our most popular session last year!

MARIMBA PLAYING WORKSHOP Learn how to play marimba just like the Maine Marimba Ensemble with Matt Wasowski from the Gorham School of Music. Class size limited to 10.

BLUES SONGWRITING WORKSHOP Learn how to write your own Blues song with Jim Svendsen from the Gorham School of Music. Choose a topic, write the lyrics and perform your song for the class.

GORHAM HIGH SCHOOL ACOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE & POETRY SLAM Matt Murray is bringing Gorham High School singers, songwriters, guitarists and poets to GMS to perform their own original works. You will definitely recognize some of these artists!! ! POP KARAOKE! Just how it sounds! Join Mr. P. in the 8th grade wing for a karaoke singing extravaganza. Limited to 30 students.

GUITAR & SONGWRITER’S WORKSHOP! Learn and review some basic guitar chords and chord progressions and learn how to go about writing your own songs with GMS’s own singer/songwriter, Mr. Lambert.

A CAPELLA WORKSHOP Join Señora Krohn to learn how to sing in an a capella group. Sra. Krohn has lots of experience singing in a capella groups as you all saw in the Talent Show this year. She may even break out a little beat boxing if you’re lucky!!

Thank you to Gorham Middle School General Music Teacher and Choral & Steel Band Director Tracy Williamson for sharing this information for the Maine Arts Education blog and thanks Gorham Middle School staff for providing this opportunity for your students!

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Musician from Around the World

March 26, 2014

Playing at UMaine

Orono, Maine — University of Maine music professor Anatole Wieck and Bangor Symphony Orchestra violinist Sascha Zaburdaeva will perform with guests Pierre Henri Xuereb and Jean Louis Haguenauer at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Minsky Recital Hall.

Born in Latvia, Wieck also conducts the University Orchestra. The violinist and viola player earned his degrees, including his doctorate, at The Juilliard School.

Zaburdaeva is a music teacher and plays violin with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. As a youth, the Moscow native performed with the Russian Youth Symphony and Youth Talents of Moscow. Zaburdaeva studied with Masao Kawasaki and Itzhak Perlman at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Xuereb is professor of viola at Paris Conservatoire and at Ecole Nationale de Musique de Gennevilliers. He has collaborated with numerous ensembles and orchestras, recorded several CDs and teaches master classes at music festivals around the world.

Haguenauer is a member of the piano faculty at Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University. He recorded pieces by French composer Claude Debussy for four CDs in celebration of Debussy’s 150th birthday in 2012.

The program will include: Leopold Wallner’s “Danse melancolique”; Schubert-Liszt-Drillon’s “Two Lieder for Viola and Piano”; Debussy’s ”Cloches à travers les feuilles” and “L’isle joyeuse”; Dmitri Shostakovich’s “The Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147”; and Antonin Dvorák’s “Terzetto” for two violins and viola.

Tickets are $9/free with student MaineCard. For more information, or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755.

 

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Child Conducts Choir

March 22, 2014

Very special

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Another Teacher’s Story: Judy Fricke

March 18, 2014

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the second blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this  series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read the stories and to learn from others.

DSCN0239Judy S. Fricke is an Early Childhood (EC) Music Specialist at the Main Street Music Studios in Bangor, Maine. Judy has been an EC Music Educator for twenty years, first in Collierville, TN and for the last four years in Bangor. In those twenty years she has had opportunities to work with children ages one month through five years in parent/child class settings and with children one year to five years old in a large preschool of 350 students. At Main Street Music Studios in Bangor she has 23 students who attend age-bracketed classes with a caregiver. She uses John Feierabend’s First Steps in Music curriculum as the basis for all of her classes since studying with him 19 years ago.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

While working with our youngest learners, I will never tire of watching the “light bulb” gleam in their eyes as they feel the rhythm in bounces or anticipate the tickle at the end of a tickle rhyme. I will never lose the joy in watching a one year old gain control of his or her arm muscles and begin to play a drum with a steady beat, or of listening to a three year old gain control of his or her voice muscles and begin to “echo sing” dead on pitch. I also will never get tired of watching the confidence grow in the parents of these children as they learn how to interact musically with their little ones.

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

The three keys I would consider highest on my list for a successful arts program would be:

  1. Unbridled passion for what you teach
  2. A safe, exciting, and encouraging environment in which to teach
  3. A wicked good sense of both humor and humility

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

As an independent instructor of the very young, formal assessment is not part of my program. Yet, informal assessment has been part of my day to day lesson planning since the beginning. By tweaking my planning based on the specific ages of my students I am able to deliver developmentally appropriate activities for various physical, mental, and attention levels.

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

The MAAI has given me the opportunity to meet and interplay with arts teachers and early childhood educators from around the state. I am sure I would never have had that opportunity on my own. Thank you Argy for this gift.  MAAI has made me much more aware of my place, or lack there of, in the incredibly complex world of arts education in the state. I have felt more connected, as well as more alone, in the last year as I worked beside fellow educators. We need more early childhood arts folks involved in MAAI. I need collaborators on my level so that the important work of laying the foundations for the K-12 programs does not feel as much as an afterthought, but more of the beginning of something wonderful.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I was teaching in Tennessee long enough to see children that I had in preschool excel in high school music programs and continue on to study music in college. I cannot take complete credit for these achievements, but when I would see them as young adults and they would raise and lower their arms while making a slide whistle sound, I know I had made an impression. A good impression can bring an exceeding sense of pride.

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

I teach in a lovely old downtown building. The other teachers with whom I work have private studio rooms for private lessons. I teach in the lobby because it is the only space large enough for my classes. Therefore, we have folks walking through the classes, stopping to ask questions, and opening and closing the door to let in very cold air. These physical issues often get in the way of my teaching, but trying to handle it in stride and continue to love what I do makes up for it. The people I work with are professional musicians and teachers and are so supportive of my program, I know I am a better teacher because I am there.

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

I believe finding Main Street Music Studios on-line from Tennessee was a brilliant stroke of luck! I was just looking for any kind of employment in the downtown area so that I could walk to work once we moved to Bangor. Yes, having the 16 years of experience to bring with my proposal for the early childhood program here helped, but the fact that Bangor had the Studio for me to be a part of was definitely luck!

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

I believe the word I would most like to share with fellow teachers is “collaborate”. If you are a K-6 teacher, and you have a PreK program in your school, find out what you can do with the EC teachers to help them with their goals for the arts – in doing so, you are only enhancing your programs. Same goes for high school teachers – work with your middle school counterparts. Middle school folks work with your elementary counterparts. In doing so, everyone will be working toward the same ultimate goal – that of giving every student the best arts experiences possible in a way that makes sense to both the programs and the students.

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

If I were given $500,000.00 to do with as I please, I would make an endowment to the University of Maine Systems for the purpose of creating an Early Childhood Music Education program and a Music Therapy program. Then I would ask to teach in the Early Childhood program and I would take classes in the Music Therapy program.

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

If I have the fortune to live until I am 94, I hope I am still able to bounce little ones on my knee and sing soft lullabies to them when they are tired. If I can do this, I will not have any regrets.

Well, I might regret that I never got that $500,000. And so might a lot of very young children.

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In Today’s News

March 16, 2014

Maine Sunday Telegram

“Feeling the Beat” at Hampden Academy with the Maine State High School Instrumental Jazz Festival. Read all about the excitement and see photos at http://www.pressherald.com/news/Battle_of_the_Jazz_Bands_brings_out_friendly_competition_at_statewide_competition_.html.

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