ANNNND WE’RE BACK!
The video above is from the last day of 3rd and 4th grade chorus, what an awesome way to wrap up our year. It’s appropriate to post in the “Ms. Kauffeld’s Summer” blog post because this video made a special appearance in my summer.
The Governor’s Institute on the Arts!
For the fourth summer in a row I was lucky enough to be an RA (Resident Advisor) at the Governor’s Institute on the Arts (GIA)! It’s a two-week program for Vermont high schoolers held at Castleton College. Students take classes in improvised movement, choreography, acting improvisation, scene design, character development, instrumental music creation, vocal music creation, song writing, fiction writing, SLAM poetry, stone carving, basketry, beading, light design, inflatable light design AND MORE. It’s an intense two weeks but I always come away feeling truly inspired by the other RAs, the amazing faculty, and of course, the students themselves. RAs also get to take classes and this year I was in the instrumental music creation class (taught by MY middle school band teacher!) and a photoshop class. I am SO excited to bring the element of CREATION to band this year! We’re going to make stuff up! We’re going to learn tunes by ear! OHHH YEAHHH! AND at GIA the RAs put together a show that presents to the high schoolers our lives as artists. I talk about teaching music as an art, and taught the high schoolers a chant from the beginning of the year in 3rd and 4th grade, then showed the “Ho Hey!” video and explained how wonderful it was to watch these students grow. (They LOVED the video and are convinced that the Folsom 3rd and 4th graders are rockstars.)
Conversational Solfege with Betsy Greene!
When I returned from Castleton I jumped into a week-long class under the instruction of Betsy Greene. My life was changed, which sounds like a dramatic exaggeration, but really, it was changed. Conversational Solfege is a sequential method for teaching music literacy. It was developed by John Feierabend at the Hart School of Music. He is sort of my hero at the moment. I was struck by the philosophy that goes along with his work, which seemed to put into words something I’d been trying to say about why I teach music for a long time. Essentially the Feierabend methods teach based on a “30 year plan.” This means that even if a person doesn’t continue any sort of musical study beyond 6th grade, when they are thirty years old they should be able to clap in time to a cheer at a sporting event, or sing “Happy Birthday” in tune, or sing a lullaby to their baby and rock that baby to the beat. A couple should be able to dance at their wedding, an audience member should possess enough sensitivities to be moved by a nuance in an orchestral performance.
This is an idea that has been igniting inside of me since my early teens, and finally someone had put it into words. I will post MUCH more information about the Feierabend work we will be doing in ALL grades this year.
Leland and Gray’s Summer Performing Arts Explorations!
When I was 16 my best friend and I started a performing arts camp for 10-14 year olds in our small school district in southern Vermont. We had 10 kids for two weeks. We played games, sang songs, danced, and created our own production of “Peter Pan.” The next year our numbers grew, and we moved into a new space. This year was our seventh year! With the help of two colleagues we adapted Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. I had a blast. If you’re interested in seeing more about what I do at “SPAE” go ahead and click on the title link to see the blog!
And now I am SO ready to be back at Folsom FULL TIME!
Music classes start tomorrow, stay tuned for pictures of the classroom, and A LOT of info about the Feierabend curriculum I’ll be using in Kindergarten-6th grades! WAHOO!
As always, please feel free to write firstname.lastname@example.org or call with ANY questions, concerns, or comments!
Here’s to the start of another great musical year!