Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 8: Practicing for Our Performance

This week our kindergartners began practicing for their upcoming November 10th concert, which will feature the work they've been doing in their violin, general music and Humanities classes.  They are very excited about this concert because it acts as a rite of passage to playing the real violin.

I don't have much to add in the way of interesting pedagogical tips, other than the students love when I ask them to shout out in a Texas cowboy drawl:  "Look, mom and dad!  Here's my one-armed bow hold."  Then they proceed by putting one hand behind their back as they pick up the bow with the other and place their fingers in the right order and position:
  1. Thumb!
  2. Middle!
  3. Ring!
  4. Pointer!
  5. Pinkie perched on top!
As I hear anecdotes from parents, students and teachers concerning this violin program, I'm reminded again and again how important it is for every child to have the arts as part of his or her public education.
  • A mom shared with the kindergarten teacher that her son had been practicing bow hold with a stick over the weekend.  
  • A child-care provider noticed one of our students making Mr. Fox with his bow hand during his free-time
  • A student came up to me in the hall to tell me that he dreamed about playing violin.
  • Another parent shared that when she asks her son what was his favorite part of the day, he consistently responds,"Violin!"
With that said, I'd like to leave you with a YouTube video that Shelley Toon Hight, an incredible visual artist whom I had the pleasure to teach alongside, shared during last summer's Juneau Art Institute for public school teachers and administrators.  The video is called "Art, I Want You" and reminds me why the arts should be a right of every child.

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