Final Reflections

4th graders' song lyrics "Helping for the Holidays"

Above are the lyrics the 4th grade students completed: their contribution to our first year’s project with Lafayette and CAPE. The fifth graders created a melody for the above lyrics, and discussed and chose instrumental colors as related to the mood of this song. ( You can view a video of their performance on their page.) I played and sang the song for the 4th graders recently; I had not seen them for a few months. They listened in awe–that, an accomplishment in itself for this chatty class!–and then clapped loudly and delightedly. The song ended up being in a minor, but I ended it on a major chord to suggest a note of hope. Art had taught them the difference between major and minor months before as part of our work, and also taught them how to make a triad major or minor (raising or lowering the third). I asked: did anyone hear what I did on that last chord? Hands shot up. Not only did the students remember the terms major and minor–they even remembered how to make the tonality change! Art had not been optimistic that they would remember that new concept that far back. . .a victory!

What worked?

Spitballing ideas with Lisa
Creation/notation of melody
Beat creation
-Arturs Weible, music teacher

Planning lessons with Arturs in depth. Singing. "Pushing the envelope"-challenging them musically and theoretically-going beyond the worksheet. Writing pitches and songs. Encouraging and creating a safe environment (especially 6th grade). Getting written feedback (lyrics for songs and raps) from students in private, then presenting it anonymously.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

What did not work?

Trying to fit 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag. We started late October, early November.
Rappers heard over the beats/rhythms.
Tech integration issues.
Arturs Weible, music teacher

Giving students instruments and asking them to improvise. They just weren't really ready to do that. I overestimated their comfort with being creative! Sometimes I did not model activities adequately. Kids got confused= "dead zone". Arturs helped with that. Trying to do hearing related activities with out good sound environment. No mic or noise disruptions. Bad.
I need to be there each week. Concentrated bursts to work with track system didn't work very well. Host rapp out and momentum.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

What questions do you still have?

How to get kids working on a large scale project while integrating actual notation/theory.
-Lisa Gola, teaching artist

How to builda successful year.
The over arching plan and timeline. The end result is too nebulous for string orchestra. We have a concert based on 100+ hours of rehearsal. How do we get CAPE project to performance ready level? I'm looking for that level of excellence and that's not realistic...what is?
-Arturs Weible, music teacher

What new ideas do you have?

Working with lyrics as an organic storytelling tool. There's a power in organic themes. Need to develop this further.
-Arturs Weible, music teacher

A rap/opera performance project. They loved rapping, singing, and telling their stories. Want to intersperse "rap-i-ta tive" (like opera recitative, but rap) with songs and tell a complete story. Perhaps utilixe this years material as part of that.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

Year One
2011-2012
Year Two
2012-2013
Year Three
2013-2014

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