In describing the five volumes of Music for Children, Eberhard Preussner stated, “It makes a decisive contribution to the development of modern music education. It enables progress from the educational to the artistic to be made without a break, or rather that from the beginning art and education are bound together as one unity, from the simplest pentatonic exercise to the proven art style, in fact to Orff’s Carmina Burana and Antigonae. “ Carl Orff wrote, “Elementary music, word and movement, play and everything that awakens and develops the power of the spirit, this is the humus of the spirit, the humus without which we face the danger of spiritual erosion.”
To fully awaken the spirit within ourselves and in our students we must pursue and actively seek arts, cultural, and education partnerships. Learning comes to life when the artistic talent of the community works together with students, parents and teachers to design and implement arts-in-education programs. Many communities have organizations that promote arts partnerships such as CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education) and Young Audiences Arts for Learning. Several universities and colleges offer artistic outreach to their communities. If you are in an area without these resources, you might find artistic parents or community members to inspire you and your students. Some of my most valuable growth as a teacher resulted from working with dancers, artists, poets, storytellers, composers, musicians and museum educators. Here are some examples of partnerships which energize teaching and bring magic to the lives of students.
- Ovations for Opera: The Eastman School of Music brought live opera to students in Rochester, New York.
- Song Dances to the Light: AOSA commissioned composer Libby Larson to set student created poetry for orchestra, children’s chorus and Orff ensemble.
- Poetry and the Nighttime Sky: Students created poetry and composed music that was performed under the nighttime sky of the Strasenburg Planetarium in Rochester, New York.
- Children’s Book Illustrators Exhibit Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York: Student writers and illustrators were exhibited next to noted authors and illustrators. Music, movement and drama brought the children’s literature to life.
- Voyage to the Moon George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film: Three silent films were screened and accompanied by student-composed music for Orff ensemble, string quartet and jazz trio.
- Colonial Days: Folk musicians and storytellers added life to music and dance of colonial times.
- World Music Festival: Students worked with parents and artists exploring other cultures through food, art, music and dance.
- The Unicorn: A musical play of Renaissance music, dance and student art and poetry that depict the seven Unicorn Tapestries hanging in The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. This was performed in the Renaissance Court of The Memorial Art Gallery.
- Annual Jazz Festival: The Penfield Commission Project unites renowned jazz musicians with elementary through high school students for in depth workshops and concerts.
These are just a few examples of partnerships that have enriched my life and inspired students. Arts education in childhood is the most significant predictor of both arts attendance and personal arts creation throughout the rest of a person’s life. “It is the supreme ART of the teacher to AWAKEN JOY in creative expression and knowledge. “ Albert Einstein