Final Reflections

Hernando, a participant in Art's after-school orchestra, plays the theme to the 5th grade song

 

Ruben with his positive-negative decisions

What worked?

The students loved choosing pitches and creating a melody for the 4th grade lyrics. They enjoyed singing and did it well, immediately. They were musically creative--some of them are advanced due to participation in Art's after-school orchestra. They liked writing reflections about money, which we combined with the 6th graders' reflections in order to create a rap for THEIR project. They enjoyed and tackled the challenge of notating the "matter rap" rhythmically even though it was very difficult for them. They liked choosing instrumentation for the lyrics based on mood. Generally, activities that involved clear-cut musical creativity or working on a concrete academic assignment appealed to them. I think they liked the element of choice as well as feeling like they knew how to approach an activity. They also loved to sing and make music.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

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

What did not work?

Well, they had a great attitude about notating lyrics in a rhythmic format, but there were too many potential right answers and that made the exercise too complex for them, so some of them did not come up with correct musical math for the words. They tried playing instruments based on whether words were positive or negative; they understood that concept--but creating sound on the spot was too unlimited for them. They had to be given more specific instruction.
Lisa Golda, teaching artist

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

What questions do you still have?

I am still learning how to model and create activities that are creative, but not so open-ended that the kids are not sure what to do. I flourish under circumstances where I am asked to provide a result and given little or no guidelines--these students, because of age or education standards or today or both, hit a wall when they aren't given at least some parameters. It's tricky to find the balance between creativity and academic learning. I also want to be sure that we fully integrate the theory behind the fun stuff, and vice versa. And to keep things fun in the process. Art and I are still working out the appropriate mix.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

How to build a 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?

I am hoping to, based on their response to these activities, create a piece next year that will use rap for recitative and songs for arias. This class will be the oldest, and will hopefully retain their responsive and creative attitudes. I think that I would like to incorporate the pieces we created this year, or write more. We will have to come up with a theme for that project, however--or rather, the students will need to tell us what they feel is relevant to them! Going forward, I will be more focused on creating activities that are easy and clear, at first, so that they aren't frustrated through no fault of their own by activities that are not clear to them.
-Lisa Golda, teaching artist

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

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

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