Sunday, May 5, 2013

"deeper forms of beauty"

"We're preparing kids for jobs. We're preparing them to be citizens. And we're teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. The third is as important as the other two." 

There are some profound lessons first taught to me in the Dalcroze classroom that absolutely define this third point. Not just beauty, but "deeper forms of beauty".  

Do you feel that any of your past education, Dalcroze or otherwise was ever able to get past the mundane, the obvious, the black dots on the page, and bring you to deeper understandings of beauty?

I am so very interested in these ideas. I will start to share some of my experiences over the next few months....what are yours?

Friday, April 19, 2013

What a busy SPRING!

I am so relieved to have made it through the SPRING! 

We started in February with the Carnegie Mellon Dalcroze Eurhythmics Immersion Weekend for Music Educators, February 23-24, 2013. We had 25 attendees from 5 different states, and 22 CAPA teenagers showed up to the demonstration class and they rocked it! It was a great two days. 

This was the 4th annual Carnegie Mellon Dalcroze Eurhythmics Immersion Weekend for Music Educators. If you have not attended yet, you really should consider setting the dates aside for 2014. It is well worth the time. HERE is the info for 2014.

March brought my Spring Opera at CAPA, the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School. This year we produced, what I believe to be, the 1st full production of Lucas Foss' GRIFFELKIN ever performed by a totally teenage cast. It was quite strong and I spent the whole time wondering if anyone in the greater opera/classical music community would care. Is anyone out there interested in the feeder programs to the feeder programs? Here is an example of an URBAN PUBLIC school, doing real rep, with a successful track record and bringing up the next generation of opera lovers.

I have been music directing the Opera Workshop at CAPA for many years. We have done a wide range of works over the years from Kurt Weill to Gilbert and Sullivan, Mozart to Menotti. We have mounted full productions with full orchestra, presented evenings of scenes in the Black Box, and have collaborated with multiple theaters and opera companies (sometimes as their chorus, other times as their full main stage subscription series production).

The course is required for all CAPA Voice majors, grades 9-12. This is about 65 student singers each year. 

I have mounted enough productions with this group to have recognized my pattern. We work like dogs for months getting a production up to speed, I don't tell enough people about it, then I get to tech week and think, HOLY CRAP, this is the coolest, why don't more people know about the great work of these teenagers. 

This year I went out of my way to tell everyone I could find and I am glad I did. It was a superb run for all involved. 

You can see more pictures from the production HERE.

Now, to pick something for next year!

Easton, PA, April 17, 2013

Easton Area School District, Easton, PA

This week I was invited to work with all of the music teachers in the Easton Area School District, in Easton, PA. My good friend Marie Miller made the invitation and I think we were able to cover a lot of ground in a few short hours. 

The teachers who attended ran the gamut of public school music instruction: K-12, vocal-instrumental, general-specific, big groups and small. We worked all day to make the information relevant without losing sight of the privilege that it is to get to work with young people. I was so pleased to meet everyone. Evan, my 15 yr old, came along and participated in the day of classes. I think we all had a lovely day. 

thanks Easton!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Louisville, KY, February 8-9, 2013

Kentucky Music Educators Association, All-State Conference

Louisville was busy! I taught two sessions at the All-State conference. Each session had about 80 people of all ages and backgrounds. We walked and clapped and stretched and sang. We smiled and held hands and partnered and made small groups and large groups. We talked about the power, responsibility, joys, and challenges of the teacher/artist. I made some very nice friends who I hope will be able to make the trip to Pittsburgh this summer. 

After my last session, I was able to sneak into the Kentucky All-State Choirs Concert. It was so interesting to see how this state organizes it. They have 3 all-state choirs. SSAA, TTBB, and SATB. They all sang very well and looked to be having a delightful time. 

Maybe next time my lovely wife will be able to join me. 

Midland, PA, February 7, 2013

Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 5 Chorus Festival

Today I had the pleasure of working with about 15 high school choral directors from western PA. We had only a short time to work together, but the vibes were good, and the company was great. We met at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts School. It was very nice to work with this group. Best luck on the remainder of your school year!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Phoenix, AZ, January 12, 2013

Another wonderful group of music educators. This time I was in Phoenix. I was so excited to go to someplace warm in February! I left Pittsburgh on a surprisingly warm 60° day and arrived in Phoenix to 49° and dropping! It only got cooler while I was there, at least it was SUNNY!

It was a big crowd, about 100 teachers, and lots of participation. It took some coaxing to "lose the shoes" (49° is very cold to the folks in AZ), but we had a grand time. Lots of talk about applying the ideas in the elementary classroom, questions about communicating the value with principals and parents, and many good laughs through the day.

After the workshop, my host took me to Frank Lloyd Wright's winter residence/school, Taliesin West. Our tour guide was wonderful and spent a lot of time trying to explain the Lloyd Wright philosophy of architecture. Lightness/heaviness, tension/release, good flow, forced vs. natural.....I swear I mentioned so many of the same concepts earlier in the day. I loved it. Frank Lloyd Wright is my homeboy.

I can't wait to visit Phoenix again.