"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


What enchants you?

Hey J,

Found a great idea over on Dudecraft:  tiny 'record album' gift tags that are easy to make.                     
(www.dudecraft.com ---look in the search box under 'Mini LP Record Gift Tags") 

Love how it looks; the tiny size is enticing.  In fact, I find working with miniatures enchanting, all around.

In this instance, I'm planning to have my students create their own albums--- listening to several music selections while they create the miniature albums.  They'll choose a favorite piece and write it up as album notes. And draw the album covers (while listening to the tunes again).

 Then, we'll shrink their work on the copier, incorporate the notes on the templates (that are also available on the website) and--there we are!--they've created their own 'My Faves" album.  (Thanks to Paul Overton, from whose website the whole idea originated.)

The kids were so excited, and eager to get going on the project.  They listened with far more care than usual, and discussed the music with lots of detail.  Yay...

We're also going to create tiny 'Musical Treasure Boxes'---from white pastry boxes (purchased in bulk at a local restaurant supply store).  Each child will decorate his/her own box, and create 'locks' from ribbons and buttons.

We'll fill them with their tiny Music Journals (little, half or quarter-size booklets about rhythm or melody or listening or composition or just plain thoughts about music), and---of course--the various album miniatures they create.

And whatever else we can think of, that has to do with music and dance.

"How did all of this come about?",  I'll bet you're asking.

Well.  A few days ago, I was leaving a local grocery store when a Mom stopped me and asked, "Were you the Music teacher at our school, years ago?"
"Yes, actually, I was."
"See, Ryan? I told you I recognized her voice."  This, to the (very tall) teenager at her side.
"Ryan? First Grade Ryan, with the big eyes? Last time I saw you, you were hardly as tall as my knee.  Not 'little' Ryan anymore, I guess."
Ryan smiled and looked slightly embarrassed.  When I asked him if he were still involved with music or the arts, he said no, but he liked to sing.

Then he said, "But I remember you.  Well, I don't remember much at all about you, actually.  Or what we did in class. But I do remember your imaginary friend, Harold, and your Jack & Mary stories.  Those were fun."
After we smiled at each other and parted ways, I started to think about my Elementary years.

In truth, J, what I remember was pretty much what Ryan remembered: the stories.  The projects.  The plays.  and---of course, for me--the concerts.

So now it's making me look at what I'm teaching and ask, "How can I make mastering this skill, learning this knowledge, seriously fun for my students?  What form can this take, so that kids find it fascinating--so that they invest themselves in it, and--in consequence--will retain the knowledge, the skills, the memory---and the joy?"

Now there's a question that the kid in me finds endlessly fascinating.  How about you?

More, later.

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