Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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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.

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Zeppelin!

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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How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity

February 23, 2015

Brain Pickings

Every Sunday morning I receive an email from Brain Pickings. It is filled with information that I find very useful. It is like my Sunday newspaper, there is always something that I refer to in the future in some way. I don’t recall which edition this article was in called How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity by Maria Popova but I popped the link into a blog post draft and found it today while thinking about what to post.

Just an aside, I have been putting many links onto the MEArtsEducation facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MEArtsEducation?ref=aymt_homepage_panel but I know that many of the blog readers on not on the facebook page. I invite you to visit soon so you don’t miss any of the content going there.

Anyway, the benefits of music article is located at http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/01/29/music-brain-ted-ed/. The start of the piece is located below. With Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, you may want to share this with your students, parents, and colleagues.

“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout.”

“Each note rubs the others just right, and the instrument shivers with delight. The feeling is unmistakable, intoxicating,” musician Glenn Kurtz wrote in his sublime meditation on the pleasures of practicing, adding: “My attention warms and sharpens… Making music changes my body.” Kurtz’s experience, it turns out, is more than mere lyricism — music does change the body’s most important organ, and changes it more profoundly than any other intellectual, creative, or physical endeavor.

If interested you can check out all that Brain Pickings has to offer at http://www.brainpickings.org/. If you like what you see, you can join me in receiving the email on Sunday mornings.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 4

February 18, 2015

The Lullaby Project

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.

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/.

The following post was written by Manuel Bagorro, the artistic director for Bay Chambers. Manue can be reached at manuel@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about yourself.

Manuel

Manuel Bagarro

I am is originally from Zimbabwe, but moved to London when I was 18 to study classical piano and take part in international piano competitions (sometimes fun, sometimes nightmarish!). I worked as a pianist for many years and then became more and more interested in organizing events, series and festivals, as well as exploring the power of music to change people’s lives – cheesy I know, but I really believe that music has special powers! I founded a large and exuberant festival in Africa (www.hifa.co.zw ), established music programs at several London hospitals and began to curate and present performances. Eight years ago I decided to move to New York City, partnered with Carnegie Hall to establish a new community engagement program called Musical Connections (http://www.carnegiehall.org/MusicalConnections/), and 3 years ago, I proudly became the Artistic Director of Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport. Manuel provided the following post on the Lullaby Project.

Provide the background of the Lullaby Project

Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project offers pregnant women and new mothers in challenging situations, their partners and extended family an opportunity to create and share a personal lullaby, with the help of artists working in communities across the country. Carnegie Hall has been running this project in New York City for 4 years, and in partnership with national organizations for the last two years. Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School was the first national organization to offer the project outside New York City, and we are now part of the ongoing national program of lullaby composing and sharing. The project brings together the learning generated through research and evaluation initiatives and shares the songs created through SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/carnegiehalllullaby. Each arts organization partner works with community partners that they select – we’re very fortunate to have a truly amazing partner in Rockport, Wayfinder Schools’ Passages Program, a home-based high school degree program for young parents aged 14 – 20 whose education has been derailed by early parenthood. – http://wayfinderschools.org/passages-program/program-overview. Professional Bay Chamber artists work with a group of young parents from the organization to write personal lullabies for their babies and record them in a professional studio.

What are the benefits to young parents and babies?

Lullaby ProjectBeing involved in making music and creating an intimate lullaby helps to relieve some of the anxiety of participants undergoing pregnancy or early parenthood in challenging social or emotional circumstances. It bolsters self-confidence, promotes communication between parent(s) and baby and enhances participants’ perception of themselves as capable parents and caregivers. Working on the program, we’ve seen the project’s positive impact on the emotional state, relationships and self-image of participants as well as on the quality of participants’ interaction with baby, family members, and site-based caregivers.

What kind of feedback have you received from participants?

We’ve had such a wonderfully positive response to the project, from the participants but also from staff members of Wayfinder Schools. I have a lovely quote from the Director of the Passages program: “The Lullaby Project touched on so many layers of connection that it is difficult to describe its full impact. There was the connection between music and words, students and musicians, mother and child, and the participation in this creative process from thought all the way to the finished product – all to create a lasting memory and legacy. It was truly memorable experience for all who participated, and most especially for the young parents to have this gift for their child.” To read about one NYC participants’ experience of the project, here is an article from the Daily News – http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/teen-mothers-bond-babies-jacobi-medical-center-music-program-article-1.1248008

Are there any ah-ha moments that you can share from this experience you are providing to young people?

I think one of the most powerful moments in the process for me was reading a word chart created from participants’ responses in a Chicago Lullaby Project before and after the project. Here they are!

Before the project

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.28.59 AMAfter the project

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Another Teacher’s Story: Kate Smith

February 17, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the first blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their arts teachers’ 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 2015-02-16 at 3.58.23 PMKate Smith is an elementary music teacher at Central Elementary School in South Berwick where she teaches 400 students in PreK through third grade. PreK students receive half a year of music, 30 minutes a week. Kindergarten receive 30 minutes a week and First through Third Grade receive 50 minutes a week. Kate also offers second and third grade chorus during January and February for 30 minutes a week. Prior to teaching at Central, Kate was the Music Director at Presentation of Mary Academy, a private all-girl high school in Methuen, MA. Kate received her bachelor’s degree from USM in 1998 and her Master’s in Technology in Education from Lesley University in 2011. Kate is the Outdoor Classroom Coordinator at her school and the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and the 2015 District 11 VFW Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

The joy on the children’s faces each day as they experience music in its many forms.

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

  1.  Highly trained passionate and effective educators.
  2.  A well planned curriculum with meaningful objectives
  3.  Support from the administration, staff and community. Support should come not only in the form of adequate funding but also through parent involvement and authentic opportunities for collaboration and integration with peers. The Arts MUST have a place at the table.

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

Assessments tell me where we are and inform my next destination. Without them I am left to guess (or worse, assume) that students understand and can perform the content. Frequent assessment assures me they still remember or allows me to fill in the gaps. I refer to my favorite form of assessment as “dipstick” assessments, kind of like checking the oil in your car. Quick, easy and essential. Student centered assessment and proficiency based assessment mean the kids know I am with them to the end. I am going to differentiate until I find the right method for their learning style and I am not going to quit until they have met their objectives.

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

There are so many benefits!!! For one, the teacher leaders are like one big family. Everyone is incredibly helpful and supportive. There are many readily available resources through the initiative that take the guess work out of creating authentic, effective assessments. Best of all, it is a “Judgement Free” Zone. Everyone realizes no journey is the same. We have all received vastly different levels of professional development through our individual districts, and that’s okay The point is to move forward from wherever you find yourself through the arts assessment initiative.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My students. My growth as a teacher too. I am constantly learning and willing to take risks.

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

Isolation. We are often the only music, art or drama teacher in our building. It’s really important that we find ways (and time!) to observe each other, collaborate with each other and share resources. Technology can make this possible, but we have to be willing to take risks, step out of our comfort zones and open ourselves to opportunities for powerful collaboration and personal reflection.

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

Relationships and connections. These include community members, parents, staff, local businesses, our education foundation, local musicians, artists and past and present students.

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

Drink water. Eat breakfast. Go for walks. Build a PLC (personal learning community) comprised of exceptional Arts teachers . Read for pleasure. Go on vacations or staycations. Rest. Remember, you need to be at your best for these kids, they deserve it.

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

I would split it three ways-

  1. a donation to our local education foundation
  2. establish after-school Visual and Performing Arts classes, Culinary Arts programs, and Gardening classes for South Berwick residents ages 3-103.
  3. a donation to Copper Cannon Camp, a free fresh air camp for underprivileged children, located in Bethlehem NH.

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

I am a visionary. We don’t look back. My grandparents never stopped making a difference in other people’s lives. Even in their 90s. I intend to follow in their footsteps.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 3

February 11, 2015

Community Engagement

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.

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/.

Manuel Bagorro is the artistic director for Bay Chamber and wrote the following blog post. He can be reached at manuel@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about yourself.

Manuel Bagorro and Monica Kelly

Manuel Bagorro and Monica Kelly

I am is originally from Zimbabwe, but moved to London when I was 18 to study classical piano and take part in international piano competitions (sometimes fun, sometimes nightmarish!). I worked as a pianist for many years and then became more and more interested in organizing events, series and festivals, as well as exploring the power of music to change people’s lives – cheesy I know, but I really believe that music has special powers! I founded a large and exuberant festival in Africa (www.hifa.co.zw ), established music programs at several London hospitals and began to curate and present performances. Eight years ago I decided to move to New York City, partnered with Carnegie Hall to establish a new community engagement program called Musical Connections (http://www.carnegiehall.org/MusicalConnections/), and 3 years ago, I proudly became the Artistic Director of Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport. Manuel provided the following post on the Lullaby Project.

What are your major responsibilities in your role as Artistic Director at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School?

I have a really wonderful job! My responsibilities with Bay Chamber are to design and direct the artistic programming of the concert series and festival, as well as the Music School, and to work with all my incredible colleagues to imagine the possibilities for the future of our organization. It’s about vision, creative programming, building networks of remarkable artists, communicating all the things that we do, and finding ways to ensure our ongoing sustainability. It’s also about bringing joy to our audiences, and having fun celebrating great music.

Tell us about the many ways that you see the community engaged with the organization.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School takes community engagement and communication very seriously. The school was envisioned with significant input from community members and prospective students. We constantly ask the question – how can we effectively serve the needs of our community and region through high quality music education and professional development programs? The school is designed to be responsive to the changing needs and interests of the community; what they want to study (ukulele classes are enormously popular at the moment!), how they want to learn (classes, individual tuition, digital opportunities, master classes) and how Bay Chamber Concerts can financially support tuition for individuals and families as needed. We ask many related questions about all of our concert presentations – what are we uniquely positioned to bring to our local community? I design the program with this in mind, informed by many lively conversations with so many community members throughout the year. How can we work with our donors, audience, friends and local people to continue to build support for the highest quality and innovation, both in terms of our artists as well as our concert and school programming? The answer to that question is to continue to engage the broadest possible cross-section of our community in everything we do, not only as a way to publicize our offerings but also to ensure that we reach more deeply and broadly in to our community; to ensure that what we do has maximum impact on the lives of the people we serve. Our concert series at Maine State Prison and the Lullaby Project are both examples of projects designed to share the life-enhancing benefits of music and creative activity with people who may be in acute need.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chambers, Part 2

February 4, 2015

Odeon

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.

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 and you can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/. This post was written by Monica about their program called Odeon.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

I don’t really know how it happened. I am not a strings player. My children weren’t either. But somehow I managed to found Odeon, a community string orchestra in 2000 in mid-coast Maine.

I had been involved with Bay Chamber Concerts for four years as a trustee and kept hearing about the concerns that there were no string ensemble programs in our area and the Next Generation program, a summer camp for Maine youth interested in playing chamber music together, was struggling to find participants. At the same time, my three young boys were attending the Riley School, an arts-focused K-9 school in Rockport and I was chair of the parent committee. The then director, Glenna Plaisted, a true visionary educator, said to me that she thought we should start an orchestra at Riley. Well, the truth was that the school didn’t have enough students to make that happen, so I convinced her to partner with me in writing a grant to the MBNA Foundation, which at that time was funding a lot of arts education programs in our community. Low and behold we were awarded a small sum which we used to hire our first conductor, the amazing Augusto Salazar. Not only was he an amazing musician, he was willing to drive to Rockport each week from Kittery because he believed so much in what we were doing.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

So on a cold January night in 2000, eight children, ages 8-18 showed up to audition for the Odeon Ensemble. We had three quite advanced students, and a handful of intermediate and beginning ones to boot. Kindly a couple of the parents who played stringed instruments agreed to sit in and help out. At the debut concert held that spring, the first work on the program was called “Warm-up – the scale in G major”!!!

Quickly the program began to grow and within 5 years we were up to 40 members in three ensembles. Some of the students at that time were quite advanced and we experienced some glorious moments of music before they all graduated and went off to schools like Oberlin, Wellesley, and Tufts. And then, in 2006 we were invited to merge with Bay Chamber Concerts.

Throughout the years Odeon has evolved and the groupings have changed. Our latest configuration is as follows: Allegro, for beginning young string musicians; Symphony, for intermediate youth in strings, winds, brass and piano; and the Adult Ensemble. We perform at least two formal concerts per year and seek opportunities to play in assisted living facilities, schools, etc. We even did a flash mob in Hannaford’s and Reny’s one year!

It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life to foster this program and see it evolve, grow and adapt to the people who make it happen. I am grateful to the musicians who have led Odeon over the years: Augusto Salazar, Gilda Joffe, Marshunda Smith, Deirdre McClure, Nate Martin and new to this spring, Sarah Glenn, for their contributions in building a community orchestra for mid-coast Maine. And I cannot write a complete story of Odeon’s history without mentioning two supporters from the board of Bay Chamber who have given their hearts and souls to the ensembles because of their belief in the value of being music makers; Eleanor Poe Barlow and Caroline E. Seamans.

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