Teaching history through music
Julia and I have been working in schools the last couple of weeks. Last week we did assembly programs for the five elementary schools in Bangor. This week we are doing nine classroom sessions at the Great Salt Bay School in Damariscotta.
The way the education system has evolved we seldom work with any students past third grade anymore. There just isn't time in their schedules. Maybe no child is left behind, but certainly childhood has been left behind, along with music, art, and other critical thinking skills. In a strange sort of way it has helped us. There isn't any budget for regular arts in schools but there is support from parents groups for special programs like ours.
We like to believe that we are contributing to the learning experience. It isn't a substitute for a regular music program - we were only the second music event for the students in Bangor this year - but I suppose it's better than nothing.
This program was focused on music at sea and we did our popular shanty demonstration. We have a block and tackle that we use to have the kids haul each other. That way they get to feel in their bodies how the cadence of the music helps coordinate the work. We round out the program with a couple of ballads some dance tunes and talk about how the sailors lived.
It's one of those rare occasions where Julia can leave her harp at home. She is excellent at relating to the kids and leading the event in a way that everybody gets a chance to participate but things don't spiral out of control.
We did five classes today and have four more tomorrow, then it's time to start a recording project.