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Child of Mine

August 2, 2010

I’m thinking that the posting may be less frequent than usual until school starts back up on the 25th — a mere three weeks from now. Things have been busier than usual the last couple of weeks.

On Friday, which was my birthday, I spent the morning with our school district’s curriculum director, one other parent and a high school student talking about possible ways to bring music into the schools in the absence of actual music teachers or any kind of budget. The meeting was incredibly encouraging, not least because the high school student was extremely impressive. Back in the fall or winter, in the school board meeting where they first formally announced the projected cuts, there was a large group of high school students who’d gone through the elementary district and for whom music and art were really important. One by one, they stood up and eloquently stated their reasons why we needed to keep art and music in our schools. It was incredibly moving. This girl was one of those students. She and a friend decided they didn’t want to just feel bad, but wanted to do something. So working with the faculty advisor of the school’s community service club and music teachers, they came up with what they hope will be a monthly event that will give K-8 kids some exposure to music through singing, dancing and Stomp-like instrumental performances. The idea is to get kids excited about music so that they’ll want to find out more on their own. It’s a great plan, well thought out, and the mere fact that these kids put it together — there are, apparently, more than 30 of them involved — spoke as well for what music and art can do in schools as anything I can think of. We also came up with a plan for what may be a kind interesting way to bring music into the schools as a school-wide project. There are lots of great ideas. It’s a sad situation, but there are some wonderfully creative ideas coming out of this whole thing. It’s encouraging.

I spent the rest of the day helping AJ with his project for video class, a 4-minute film entitled “Carrots! The World’s Worst Vegetable.” Please note the exclamation point. AJ was quite adamant about it. The film is, I have to say, hilarious. Plus there is a gratuitous shot of Mr. Spy’s butt, which is never a bad thing. We had fun making it (The Boy Across the Street was pressed into service as AJ’s costar) and I would love to show it to you, but I have a firm policy against posting photos of other people’s children on the internet. But for those of you who know me IRL, I am working on a way to make it viewable. AJ learned a lot about iMovie at camp, so we were able to do some pretty great things like make title sequences, speed up the action in a couple of scenes, and add a film score. AJ’s movie really did come out well and I’m kind of amazed at how easy it was to film and to edit.

Saturday morning was the video screening at the Apple Store. We invited The Boy Across the Street to come along. I loved seeing all the films the kids had come up with. They were very diverse. A couple of kids had experimented with stop-action. One needed an ambulance for one scene and, lacking one, got her older sister to crawl down the street on her hands and knees with a red light on her head. Another kid pressed his older siblings into a mock American Idol contest. Another told the story of a boy and his sister who play a game called “Help!” (actually a Monopoly board with the word “Help!” taped in the middle) and get sent to another planet where they were attacked by monkeys. Another filmed his cockatoo attacking the camera and added digital effects and horror music to great comic effect.

I’m really not too sure where the rest of the weekend went. Today, though, AJ started Mythology camp with three of his friends where they talked about Hercules and Theseus with a young and enthusiastic male teacher. And I acquired a new student at School of Rock, this one an intermediate student who’s picked up an amazing amount in her school orchestra but who had never taken private lessons before today. And I got word that I have another new student starting at Studio 2. Fall is coming and things are picking up.

Meanwhile, I have been given the task of coming up with a list of composers and performers for an “Adopt a Musician” program in the schools. I am sifting through lists of essentials to come up with the essential essentials and thinking a lot about what kinds of categories I want represented who haven’t been particularly well represented in the past: women, non-classical music, music in Spanish (preferably from Mexico), etc. What musicians will be the most inspirational? What music will make them think? What do I think they should know? And how can I pick only nine? (one for each month of the school year). And what nine will we do next year? They are interesting questions and I’m enjoying thinking about them.

And finally, may I just mention that I have been wondering if I could marry my new dishwasher because that is how much I love it? I run around the house looking for things to put in it.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. eleanorio permalink
    August 2, 2010 10:32 pm

    Dishwasher love! I know it well.

  2. August 3, 2010 7:22 am

    Wow, I’m so impressed by the young girl who is working to keep some music in school — that really is wonderful. I wonder if you all could get maybe an Americorps volunteer, or a college intern in music education, or something??? No school art and music… it’s like suddenly waking up to a world with no color.

  3. freshhell permalink
    August 3, 2010 7:59 am

    Sigh, very envious here of that that dishwasher. Though, if anyone deserves one, it is you.

    I’ve emailed our school’s wonderful music teacher for ideas. I’ll pass along any reply I get.

  4. August 3, 2010 2:33 pm

    I feel in the same boat with all the things that have to be worked in (including fun) in the next three weeks before school starts.

  5. August 7, 2010 3:45 pm

    I would love to see ” Carrots! The World’s Worst Vegetable”. Maybe at the next independent film fest?

  6. August 9, 2010 3:23 pm

    I’m hoping I’ll be able to post it on youtube one of these days — I’ll post it here too if it happens.

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